Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Jamie Davis

With an inherited and deeply rooted love for design and color, Jamie Davis has created a brand that is synonymous with opulence and high performance. After co-founding Portola Paint & Glazes with his brother in 1998, Davis has been able to supply luxury paints around the nation. Their focus on creating timeless pigments and combining their Southern California roots has led Portola Paint & Glazes to be featured in major publications such as Architectural Digest, Domino Magazine, and now aspire design and home. Introducing one half of the fraternal paint prodigies, Jamie Davis of Portola Paint & Glazes.

Andrew Joseph: Style (or design) icon?
Jamie Davis: I think we’ve all been inspired by Axel Vervoordt and his textural and minimalist approach and use of neutral colors. I’m definitely inspired by that sort of Belgian farmhouse kind of look and figuring out how to apply it into more modern settings, especially in the United States where there’s not often a lot of architectural detail. Figuring out how to bring in texture and warmth in other ways with different wall treatments is something that we love to do.

Andrew: What’s your design pet peeve?
Jamie: Accent walls. I hate them. If you’re going to use a color, just use a color and if you don’t want color, then do a light neutral. And don’t chop your pillows. You know, like in every photo of a little reading nook they karate chop the top of the pillow. It’s terrible.

Andrew: Do you have a personal style and if so, how would you describe it?
Jamie: It’s sort of like Harley Davidson meets Venice beach, you know, worn jeans and boots or vans.

Andrew: Is there anything that’s inspiring you in life, in the industry right now?
Jamie: Texture, bringing in warmth, and a vibe without having to do big, bold colors. I think that’s why Roman Clay and Lime Wash are having such a big moment. People still want to use light colors, but don’t want to just use Swiss coffee anymore, so you can use a similar color while adding a lot more depth and interest just by adding a little bit of texture to the walls.

I think as far as other designers, Jake Arnold is somebody that we work closely with and his style aligns with what we are doing. His English roots bring something that’s very different from what we do in terms of moodiness, but I think what he does is wonderful. I also love what Leanne Ford does with her use of texture and color. The fact that we’re able to work with people like Nickey Kehoe, who do bright patterns and bright colors, and then someone like Amber Lewis can use our stuff with a very neutral off-white palette and it all still feels very Portola, it’s really cool.

I also have to give a lot of credit to my dad, Jim. He’s always been one to push boundaries with his use of different textures in the homes he builds. He has a way of blending old and new, soft and hard in a way that I’ve always admired.

Andrew: Is there a must have clothing item everyone should have?
Jamie: APC jeans and a Free and Easy ‘Don’t Trip’ hat!

Andrew: What might the design world look like in 10 years?
Jamie: Oh, Lord. You know, just like everything it always comes full circle, so I’m sure we will be getting back into bold colors more so in the next couple of years as people will sort of get tired of the neutrals. You know, I think black, white and gray will forever be a thing that will be popular. And then you have your accents and little pops of color, and different wallpaper textures and patterns, those things are a little bit more trendy, you know? So I’m sure we will cycle back into a world where it’s more primary tones, but I do think what we’re doing right now with Roman Clay and Lime Wash is very organic and timeless and I don’t think that’s going to change.

About The Maker | Jamie Davis is the co-founder and co-owner of Portola Paints & Glazes, born and raised in Los Angeles to a family of artists. Mentored by his father, a high-end custom home builder, Jamie inherited a deeply rooted love for design and color, and found his passion for the arts at an early age when they began exploring photography, painting, and architecture.

With a combined 25 years of experience, Jamie and his brother Casey’s devotion to the brand and their customers is palpable. Because every paint color provides an opportunity to tell a story and transform a space, the brothers take both time and pride in delivering personalized service and creating customized palettes that reflect a client’s unique personality. Their extensive variety of paints and specialty finishes are all made locally and in small batches at their L.A. headquarters. Using their knowledge of pigment and saturation, and an ability to match all of their paints by eye, they design full spectrum colors that reflect a broader range of light and coordinate in subtle, yet powerful ways, to any environment. Honoring time-old traditions, they blend every color by hand to ensure color depth and accuracy, and embrace ancient techniques with their exclusive Lime Wash coating and other specialty products reminiscent of the past. Engineered for environmental safety and the modern world, their paint formulations are low odor and contain no VOCs.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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