Interview with Contemporary-Eclectic Interior Designer Jacqueline Palmer


You’ve collected several great original artworks, but figuring out how to give art its proper due in your home decor can be a serious challenge. That’s why sometimes it makes sense to call in a professional. Luckily, we were able to chat with Jacqueline Palmer, owner of San Francisco-based A Design Lifestyle and a long-time painter herself, to share her art and interior design expertise.

Jacqueline also curated a collection of her favorite works on UGallery, which you can see here.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I started with dance, and then explored painting, photography, sewing, singing, and lastly a little bit modeling. But throughout the years growing up, I always found myself rearranging the furniture in my bedroom in the middle of the night against my parent’s approval. My family was very supportive of my early interior design ideas; they simply weren’t keen on moving furniture every month “just to see what it looked like.” Even when I told my father that I wanted to attend one of the most expensive art colleges to study design instead of veterinary school during the height of the recession, he was fully supportive. 

I knew I wanted to be creative in my career, but as a “type a” personality I wanted more. Most do not realize that the profession includes elements of business, finance, relationship management, marketing, public relations, and technical computer software skills. But, it also includes color, art,  textiles, natural and manmade materials, flowers, and endless collaborations with other creatives. To me, it is the career with the best of all worlds, and I do not think I decided upon it, I think it chose me. When I am not designing, you can find me making my own sushi dancing in a contemporary or hip-hop class, hula hooping in the park, or singing (sometimes rapping) in the car.


How did A Design Lifestyle come to be, and what is your life like day-to-day? 

Exhausted of exclusively designing interiors at a traditional firm, I launched A Design Lifestyle to showcase my range of creative abilities and explore multiple design outlets. I established the brand in 2014 as a design and lifestyle blog dedicated to delivering the look of high-end contemporary-eclectic interior design to mid-market consumers. After a brief six months of blogging, I received an overwhelming amount of inquiries from prospective clients and quit my 9-5 job to offer full-service design in interiors, styling, fashion, production, and events. I am a one woman show, so my day is different every day. One day I am on a construction site discussing tiles, another day I am shopping for furniture with a client at an antique show, and another day I am on Treasure Island modeling in a shipping container yard for a clothing line.


How would you describe your design aesthetic? 

I call my design style contemporary-eclectic. My projects range from industrial start-up offices such as Google and Facebook to eclectic bachelor pads, and contemporary new family homes. Although every project is unique, all designs emit a sense of vibrancy, edge, and sophistication.

You do a lot of industrial design work in San Francisco and New York. Have you noticed much of a difference in art and design teste between tech and finance? I haven’t noticed too much of a difference between tech and finance in SF, but I have noticed a difference between East and West coast clients, which roughly can be generalized as finance in NYC and tech in SF. My NYC clients enjoy more large scale, pop, bold, and sexual art, whereas my SF clients enjoy more contemporary photography, vintage graphics, and abstract art.


How do you approach art with regard to your interior design projects? Do you see art as a focal point or an accent?

It depends on the project. If the client already has an art collection or a few pieces they love, the art will inspire the design. If that’s not the case, then typically the art is the finishing touch alongside pillows and accessories. Art can be the focal point or the accent, it just depends on the design and the space. Typically in primary spaces, like the living room and dIning room, I like the art to be front and center. In secondary areas like bedrooms and bathrooms, the art is more of an accent.


Has your experience as painter influenced your current taste in art and the pieces you select for projects? 

I started painting young, around five years old, and I loved it so much my mother put my in classes through to college. I Ioved watercolor and acrylics (my mother wouldn’t let me use oils because of the fumes). Growing up in the country and living on a small ranch, I loved painting landscapes and animals. Later, I found a love for travel photography and have been on a few photojournalism trips. I think it helps me appreciate the art and the process behind the skill. I find myself thinking about the artistic process, where they painted the piece and their method. It becomes more of a backstory, and I enjoy making it up in my head.


What’s an easy thing art collectors can do to improve how their works are displayed?

Professional framing is costly, but it can go a long way. A bad frame can ruin a beautiful piece of art. Lastly, hire a professional handyman to help install your artwork. There is nothing worse than crooked art, or art that’s hung too high or low. When working with my clients, I always say to leave a few extra open spaces for art opportunity that one might find from travels or loved ones. It’s such an emotional process; it shouldn’t be done all at once, or it will only reflect one stage in your life. The art in your home should tell the story of your life.

All photos are credited to A Design Lifestyle. 

You can get in touch with Jacqueline at her website, and view her curated collection of original art on UGallery