Breakout designer Stacy Jacobsen makes herself a permanent fixture.
For Stacy Jacobsen, it’s not if you build it but before you build it that she will come. And during, and after.
With her petite frame, long mane of strawberry-blond hair and accent bearing traces of a childhood in San Diego and Montana, this Santa Monica resident is surprisingly bold. As a designer, she favors the construction and installation step of the design/build process. Her strength is finishes—collaborating with architects to adjust plans with unusual materials. A glass catwalk, hand-painted lavastone backsplash, mosaics, rift-sawn wood—surfaces are both her art and her obsession, she confesses. “I think the driving force behind the different designs are the amazing tiles and materials we continuously discover,” she says. “We have worked on roughly 50 baths this past year alone. No two baths are alike.” Not bad for someone who used to work in ad sales for Hearst Publications.
About a dozen years ago, her father-in-law, a homebuilder, taught her “the nuts and bolts of construction,” she says. Over time, she slowly built that education and developed a deep, enthusiastic knowledge of the market. “It just kind of evolved from there. I never really looked back.”
Most recently, she split her business into design firm SJ Studio and interior design showroom Atelilou. “I found products I wanted to purchase for clients that I couldn’t find in the States, and I felt like so many other people would appreciate them,” she explains of Atelilou, a portfolio of “unexpected, unique objects that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see.” Many objects are exclusive to North America. She displays them in a tiny Santa Monica showroom. The ocean-breeze shoebox off Main Street is decorated in a rather chic black-and-white scheme. Of note, there’s an Adnet-riff circular mirror by Vroonland & Vaandrager, trimmed with glossy, softball-size black beads; and Nobody & Co.’s ingenious boxy bibliochaise covered with slots to hold more than 300 books. (Jacobsen spotted the piece in a Muriel Brandolini book and now represents the designer.) These are big statements for such a small space. Jacobsen says, “I know what I like.” sj-studio.com; atelilou.com.
Written and Edited by Alison Clare Steingold.