I recently had the pleasure of interviewing HGTV's infamous interior designer Jane Lockhart. She is a TV personality, author, spokesperson and one of a Canada's leading experts in design and colour. Her design firm, Jane Lockhart Designs - located in Mississauga, Ontario - specializes in interior design and renovation. Not only is Jane a designer, but she has her own luxury furniture collection that is eco-conscious and Canadian made.
Here is what the remarkable Jane Lockhart had to say about her life and career as a designer:
Q: What inspired you to get into your field? Was there a moment that determined your passion for design?
A: When I was a child, I would make cardboard homes and all the furniture for all the rooms, including drapery for the windows. I’ve always loved drawing floor plans of homes and figuring out where everything should go. I was at University studying Economics, getting a “proper” education when I realized I loved Interior Design, so I changed schools and programs.
Q: Were there any defining moments in your career?
A: Working on TV shows exposed me to new ways of communicating design. Working with certain clients taught me how to look at the world, especially people from different countries. Like the way we cut up spaces, installing too few windows when we should be adding more light into our homes embracing nature. I learned through clients that every single detail matters and you can never take anything for granted.
Q: How would you describe your design style and what/who inspires you?
A: I like to think of myself as a chameleon, to a certain extent, but I lean toward the classic side. I’m definitely not trendy. Beautiful fabrics and history inspire me. I like traditional elements including mid-century modern. I like luxe things, the beauty of old items like dishware. Craftspeople from the country of origin hold a lot of appeal for me like linen from Ireland and Egypt. I respect the design of people like Mies van der Rohe and Candice Olson who puts unusual things together I wouldn’t think. Jeff Palmeter, my senior designer, has an amazing talent for putting things together.
Q: What sets you apart from others in your field?
A: I work harder than any designer I know. I’m driven by the need to draw design, not just decorating or accessorizing like pillows. I’m always looking for and craving the next reno project.
Q: What do you like most about your job and what do you find most challenging?
A: I like space planning and technical design; they’re the best part of my job. It’s all about the details. The most challenging part of the job is managing timelines. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
Q: What changes do you see coming in the industry and how do you keep up?
A: I think the way we create residential design is changing. We’re seeing more technology in the home and assisting us in our work. I’m immersed in the field 24/7, I work hard to keep up with any changes.
Q: What does “good design” mean to you?
A: I’m fussy. I hate when things aren’t perfect. There is logic to everything, a system for how things should be done and there is no reason things can’t be done well. Like, centering, everything from light switches to central vac. When it’s placed right, it makes all the difference. Don’t get me started on windows!
Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about interior designers?
A: People still do not understand what we do. We’re not full-time shoppers, we don’t just pick paint colours. We design lighting plans and we think in 3D. It’s hard work and it’s not always fun.
Q: Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment?
A: No matter how busy we are, we still like to work on projects that will benefit someone, like children with mental health issues. We work on these projects for free because we believe good design can make a difference.
Q: What advice would you give to those just starting in the industry?
A: It takes 25 year. It’s called a practise for a reason; there is always something to learn. You may think you know everything but you don’t know it all.
To learn more about Jane Lockhart visit Jane Lockhart Interior Design.
All photos courtesy of Jane Lockhart Interior Design.
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Researched and Written by Syrina Gatta, Interior Design student at Sheridan College