Many know her as the quintessential English actor, famous for her work in films like Somewhere in Time and Live and Let Die, and the popular television show, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. However, for Jane Seymour, her most cherished role is not on the stage, but as an artist and designer in her beautiful homes.
You’re an accomplished artist in many ways. How did you become involved in home design?
When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot, so I always put my room together. I made my own curtains, bedding, and, at 15, I developed my own clothing line that I sold at a local antique market.
I always had an eye for design, really, and collected fabrics and learned to sew. Cut now to America. As an actress, I’d buy houses and renovate them. People loved what I did and would buy my homes, so I began the Jane Seymour Home Collection.
A pillow from the Jane Seymour Home Collection
Tell me more about the collection.
I’m actually quite involved in developing the products. I take elements from my homes in Malibu and St. Catherine’s Court in England to achieve the look I want. Take teapots, for example. I collect them and make them into something else, like a lamp. I like turning things into different uses.
Every day, I’m in my studio, sending ideas to my team. And I love to paint, which is a big part of my life.
You’re now offering prints of your watercolors, right?
Yes! I do everything from oils to watercolors. One of my works available on a limited edition is a mixed media with words like “believe,” “trust,” “love,” “forgive,” and “hope” painted into the bouquet of flowers.
Are these inscriptions a reflection of your life?
Oh, yes! I call them my words of wisdom. I had a near-death experience many years ago after going into anaphylactic shock when an injection for an antibiotic missed the muscle and hit a vein. It totally changed my perspective. All you take from life is the relationships you have. Painting is a way for me to share this. Art is not a question of what I ought to do, but what I love to do. I believe that illness finds grace and purpose.
I’m not pretending to be the world’s greatest designer. I’ve simply found a way of interpreting many beautiful things in different genres. In every movie and television role, I’ve played characters who re-created the environment in which they lived.
Your Grand Hotel home line must have sentimental value since it’s inspired by the legendary Mackinac Island resort where you filmed Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve.
Very much so. I’m inextricably connected to the time I spent there with Christopher and we stayed good friends until we lost him. I know there are several hotel lines by others, but my collection is based on this iconic hotel.
What is your design style today?
I’m at my Malibu home and looking outside at the ocean, so I pull those exterior colors inside my home. In my living room area, I use off-white chenille and accessorize with pale teal green and other vibrant colors.
You’re complementing nature.
Exactly. God was pretty smart. The color green sets off everything. And when you look at the ocean, you see aqua.
If I have a mission, it’s to inspire and empower people to develop their own sense of style. That’s what I hope to accomplish in my new book, Making Yourself At Home: Finding Your Creativity and Putting It All Together.
Design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Most of the things that are important to me in my home are old and borrowed. All my pieces mean something to me.
How do you manage it all as an actor, artist, designer, and mother of a large family including twin boys?
Well, I have a great husband [producer/director James Keach] who is in the business so he understands. He’s artistic, too. He produced the film Walk the Line. And I have a great team that incorporates my ideas—it’s all a wonderful marriage.
Inspiring words are found in Jane’s floral painting.
from Jane Seymour
- Ask yourself, “Is your home for you or is it a showcase?” Surround yourself by objects that have meaning to you.
- What makes your heart sing? You can tell a lot about yourself by the colors you choose in your home.
- Remember that you don’t have to stick to one style. It doesn’t all have to be only Tuscan, French Country, or English design. Be creative!