Thursday, May 14

Profile: Thomas Jayne

I take great delight in both people and interiors that possess unexpected, multifaceted qualities. Perhaps this explains why I am so enamored with New York based designer Thomas Jayne. Like the interiors he creates, Thomas is exceedingly interesting and quite fetching.

With a Master's degree in American Architecture and Decorative Arts from the Winterthur Museum program and a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon, Thomas commands an expansive knowledge of architecture, art history and decorative arts.

To further round out his credentials, he completed fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, served as an intern in the decorative arts department of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Smithsonian Institution and as an appraiser at Christie's Auction House.

If that were not impressive enough, Thomas worked for several influential design firms including Parish-Hadley & Associates and Kevin McNamara, Inc., before starting his own firm in 1990.

With an aesthetic deeply steeped in historic periods and styles, coupled with a love for New Orleans and an affordable second home, Thomas and partner Rick Ellis, purchased a small apartment in the French Quarter, just two months before Hurricane Katrina (home is a SoHo loft). True to style their New Orleans home takes inspiration from the past, and yet, the interiors feel fresh and modern.

Accolades aside, Thomas seems to take it all in stride. When asked his thoughts on the business of design, he replied, “Being a decorator is the ultimate freelance job. You never know what you’re doing next and if there’s going to be a next, or if you’re going out of style … or if you ever were in style.”

Good design and humility never goes out of style!

How would you describe your personal style?
Very much like the best of American fashion—stylish, classic, well made and comfortable.

What inspires your creativity and designs
I am interested in decoration from every period, especially traditional designs that work well with the contemporary spirit. It’s what I call ancient and modern.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without
Can't say there is anything material that I cannot live without or need to have. Maybe my family bed, I have used since I was a child.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Found time—when you finish ahead of schedule. It’s then you can do something unplanned and interesting.

Who are your style icons
Miss O'Brien my high school English teacher and my decorating mentors Albert Hadley and Kevin McNamera.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project
A great painter. Say, Rubens or Gerhard Richter.

What are your most prized possessions?
A silver cross my mother gave me on her deathbed and a bronze statue of father time.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Guidebooks and decorative arts books about Potsdam, Berlin and Dresden. I will study there this summer.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
A sunny day in Big Sur.

Past or present who most influenced your direction in life?
My mother and my partner.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
President Obama, and I would spend the time as he wished.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Photo 1: Jayne's New Orleans home. Photo credit Kerri McCaffety.
Photo 3: Jayne’s house in New Orleans. Photo credit Kerri McCaffety.
Photo 5: Jayne’s house in New Orleans. Photo credit Kerri McCaffety.
Photo 6: Jayne’s statue of father time. Photo credit David Gilbert.
Photo 7: Jayne’s NYC loft apartment. Photo credit David Gilbert.


C. Anne said...

I was planning a trip to New Orleans barely a month before Katrina and now with the time that has passed I still haven't made the trip. I hope to make it soon. On another note, I've been searching for lush plants like that, it just livens up a room!

ALL THE BEST said...

C we are making a trip to NOLA this summer. Hope to post more photos of Thomas' amazing home!

DAM said...

His New Orleans home is amazing... Thanks for sharing

Dumbwit Tellher said...

What a bio Thomas has and he still possesses humility. Was surprised he attended the Univ. of Oregon. My eldest son graduates from there with degree's in journalism & art next month. Go Ducks!
Thomas'New Orleans home is stunning. Great interview Ronda.

NenaghGal said...

The exterior colours of his New Orleans home are just stunning - that courtyard is to die for. And the interiors are amazing too - what a talent!

pve design said...

I dream in full color, just like the colors of Jayne's home. It looks so happy, in a sophisticated way.
A smile, with just the right amount of teeth!

La Maison Fou said...

Love the Zuber wallcovering in the pic, a landscape / militant inspired theme. Great home.

CAJ said...

Thanks so much for the profiles of visionary people.
I can see how U of O in Eugene was a nurturing grounds for Thomas Jayne's design development. I wonder if he is a Henry Mercer architecture professor at O was his disciple. Next time you're in Bangkok, please visit the design company where I work, I think you would get along with the director, Alex Lamont! ( Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Great post! The green shutters are fab!

ALL THE BEST said...

I am so happy that you all like his wonderful home! I was quite smitten by the photos! Have a chance to chat with Thomas was the icing on the cake.

Anne said...

I love both of his homes. Perfection. Great interview Ronda!

mary said...

Thank you for this wonderful post about a man who has his priorities in such a great order. I love his timeless style, it is like a breath of fresh air.

Jay said...

One word: fabulousness!

Karena said...

I love Thomas and his work. That home is amazing. Lately I have been using that fabulous shade of green in some of my new paintings.

YHBHS said...

thanks for introducing me to thomas' work.. really beautiful!

love his bold use of color, and his interview made me like him even more...