Interior designer Jacqueline Palmer is a woman with a beautiful vision. In 2014, the soft-spoken Santa Cruz native launched her celebrated blog, A Design Lifestyle; a whirlwind year later, she quit a steady gig creating multi-million-dollar interiors for private clients to design for people like herself.
“I was commissioning furniture pieces that cost more than my salary,” Palmer explains over coffee in SoMA at the end of a packed day. Her business model: to utilize software and apps that streamline the interior design process and maximize affordability for her clients, whom she mostly communicates with virtually.
Palmer’s first project? A New York City apartment that required only one on-site visit. Car-sharing start-up Getaround.com came calling next, and the rest is, you might say, herstory. Here, the 25-year-old rising powerhouse dishes on how to stage a design revolution, 24/7 blogging, and the virtues of Martha Stewart.
7x7: Favorite design app?
JP: The one I’m dreaming up! It’s amazing how tech has made it easier for customers to buy whatever they want, whenever they want in fashion, but not yet in interior design. Our industry can catch up—it simply requires advanced technology that’s still being developed, like 3D cameras and accessible models. I want to offer interior design as an option for everyone, not just the super-rich, and this can be accomplished with virtual design apps created for designers, contractors, architects, retailers, and consumers. It’s possible, and it would revolutionize the industry.
7x7: What do you love most about blogging?
JP: Having a blog provides an outlet for self-expression while providing advice to others. We grow as a society when we learn from each other selflessly—not everything has to have a monetary value or be done in trade. I love my job so much that I refer to my laptop as my boyfriend; we fall asleep, wake up, and go everywhere together. My future real-life boyfriend will have to be OK with all of this.
7x7: Dream SF neighborhood:
JP: Russian Hill. I love that I would be able to walk everywhere, and I don’t mind hiking up a few hills for a sweet view of the bay.
7x7: Describe your personal style.
JP: Confident, timeless, and a little flirty
7x7: Where do you go for inspiration in SF?
JP: Grace Cathedral, City Hall, the Wells Fargo Bank Building, 450 Sutter…I could go on for a while. I’m a bit of a history nerd, so I find inspiration in period architecture and art.
7x7: Bedside reads?
JP: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (which I re-read every year around my birthday); Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg; A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn; and I recently picked up Mindy Kaling's new book, Why Not Me?
7x7: What are you working on next?
JP: I’m designing several San Francisco residences, and have another large commercial project in the South Bay in the pipeline. I’m also collaborating with local photographer and designer Julia Sperling on a book combining the fashion and interior styles of San Francisco.
On the nonprofit end, I’m developing a program connecting families in need with furniture and decor. ADL would partner with a generous retailer to design and furnish a home in an impoverished community just in time for the holidays.
7x7: Got any fab travel plans?
JP: My bucket list is pretty lengthy. I’ve recently promised myself that, once a year, I’ll travel to a new country. I’m currently planning to tour France, Morocco, and Tanzania in the summer of 2016. While on that side of the world, I also want to do some groundwork for the nonprofit Shukuru, which I remotely volunteer for in Tanzania.
7x7: If you could talk shop with anyone, alive or dead...
JP: Very honestly? Martha Stewart. We share a similar upbringing. Like Martha, I come from a middle-class family, learned most of my practical skills from my mother and father, and started working at a young age babysitting for extra money. We both studied architecture and art history in college, and worked our way through school with modeling gigs. She can do everything from perfectly stuffing a turkey to running a public company on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s pretty incredible.
Burrito or burger: Burger. But I’m vegan, so make it veggie please.
Baker Beach or Ocean Beach: Neither—I run at Crissy Field twice a week to watch the sunset.
Heels or flats: Heels. All day, every day!
Fitted or flared: Fitted, then flared.
Palace of Fine Arts or Coit Tower: Palace of Fine Arts
Flowers or chocolates: Flowers—they last longer than chocolate in my house.
De Young or Legion of Honor: De Young
Three words that describe SF: Cozy, casual, costly