LA-based designer Taylor Jacobson has a fresh eye and an appreciation for a variety of furniture styles and eras
I came across LA designer Taylor Jacobson online. LA is a hotbed of great young design talent right now, and everyone is talking about the great design being done there. I was intrigued by Taylor's work, for not only did she make teal blue walls look fresh and different (as seen above), she used interesting furniture, making it look exciting and new in the context she creates. After getting to know Taylor's style, I spoke with her about her design process, and how she got into the field. She began her own firm in 2011, but it turns out she learned from one LA's best, Waldo Fernandez, so her ability to hone in on character-filled furnishings was definitely a result of the School of Waldo education. His interiors and his furniture designs have a beautiful harmony that I see in Taylor's take on things. Listen in as I get to know the Echo Park designers style and her influences. Her look is very California cool, in a warm and inviting, individual way.
Who did you work for and where did you study to learn the trade?
I took one Intro to Interior Design course through UCLA extension in 2005 and was lucky enough to get hired by Waldo Fernandez, a well known designer in LA who has been in the business for over thirty years. I worked for him for about 4 1/2 years and learned everything on the job. It was really a sink or swim situation - I was thrown in and had to figure it out! We did residential work for high-end clientele and restaurant design. The last project I worked on there was the Soho House in West Hollywood.
When did you know this was your calling in life?
I had always been interested in interior design but didn't really start to focus on it until I moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco and was transitioning out of a graphic design business that I had established in the Bay Area. I knew that when I was hired at Waldo's Designs it was an incredible opportunity to learn the business first-hand and see if it was something I really wanted to pursue. Although it was a sharp (and sometimes painful) learning curve, something clicked and felt natural.
Do you have a signature look and how would you define it?
I'm interested in mixing pieces of different styles, eras and traditions, but in the end my spaces do have a common thread which could be described as clean, eclectic and warm. I sometimes use the term "organic Modernism" to describe my style. You'll always see something natural in my spaces - wood, linen, sisal, rattan - paired with a pop of color or pattern in a rug, wallpaper, or textile. And I always return to mid-century pieces or shapes that are influenced by that era. I'm a California native and that certainly imbues my style as well.
What trends are inspiring you right now?
I'm excited that people are paying more attention to craft and the 'handmade.' You see it more now in the design of furniture, textiles, and lighting. An imperfect hand-printed silkscreen fabric, a tribal handwoven rug, a light fixture with an irregular blown glass shade - these are examples. Ceramics have also had a resurgence in popularity. I think people want to see the mark of the artist's hand.
What is your biggest design influence?
I don't think I have one singular design influence, although my parents both come from artistic backgrounds and imparted a general appreciation for art and design. I'm influenced on a day to day basis by reading blogs, looking at design books and magazines, travel, visiting galleries and museums, basically just being observant and watchful.
Do you have a design mentor?
I don't have one design mentor, but I'm so thankful to have wonderful colleagues in this field who share information, sources, advice, and support. I've learned that there isn't really one way to go about anything in this business, so it's always nice to check in with other designers and see how they operate. It's been empowering to realize that I can run my company in the way that best suits me and feels comfortable for me and my clients.
What other designer do you most admire, living or not?
Commune is pretty high on my list - they continually create spaces and products that I find so appealing and unique. Their use of materials is incredible. They also have mastered the "art of the mix" which I greatly admire.
If you could design your own product collections what would they be and in what style?
It would be really fun to create a line of wallpaper. I'd love to play around with color and pattern in this medium. Although I gravitate to minimalist shapes in furniture and lighting, I like to have fun and kind of let loose with my choices in wallpaper so to be able to create my own would be incredible.
What is your favorite project thus far and why?
The Los Feliz project that I completed a couple of years ago is probably my favorite (photos on my website). The clients were wonderful to work with, knowledgable about art and design, and we shared a similar aesthetic. Our shared vision for the design of their home was truly compatible so the process was fun and fluid. I am proud of what we accomplished together.
Do you have a particular favorite fabric pattern or print?
I go through phases and am crushing on a particular print or pattern at different times. The Navajo wallpaper print in Turquoise from Cavern Home is fantastic. I was thrilled when I got to use that in the den at my Hancock Park client's home
What material do you love?
I cannot stop with rattan and wicker. It's getting embarrassing. My husband and I recently moved into a new house and he's started joking about how much rattan I bring home.
Where do you shop to get inspired? Share some of your city's trade secrets!
Nickey Kehoe, Hollywood at Home, Pat McGann, JF Chen, Blackman Cruz, Lawson Fenning, and The Pasadena Antique Center.