Susan Jamieson's wallpaper patterns were inspired by hertravels. Photo by Beth Furgurson
Designer Susan Jamieson has played an important role in Richmond's design scene for more than two decades. From the Richmond Symphony Orchestra League's Designer House to the DC Design House,
to her interior design business (with projects locally and internationally) and a paint line, Jamieson has her hands full. But there's more on the horizon for her Bridget Beari brand. Originally a line of paint colors, the business recently has expanded to include five bold wallpapers — which soon will be followed by a series of complementary fabrics. Jamieson sat down with us to talk color, wallpaper and personifying Bridget Beari.
R•Home: Has color always been your forte?
Susan Jamieson: It's an integral part of design. It's something I use all the time. My customers will say, "You are the queen of colors. You know the right color." I have heard that for a long time. It seemed kind of natural.
R•Home: Is your new line of wallpapers based on existing Bridget Beari paint colors?
Jamieson: Yes. We sent the [color] deck out to the wallpaper manufacturer. We wanted the exact colors so everything would go together.
R•Home: What Bridget Beari colors did you use in your wallpaper?
Jamieson: We have Truffle and P. Doodle and some of our metallic colors [like] Winston Charcoal. Also, Puddytat. The paints were really inspired by being in the business for so long. They are colors I've worked with for many years. They are the best tans, the best whites, the best blues. They aren't variations or shades. These are the colors that have worked really well in different light applications and different rooms.
R•Home: What inspired the designs used in the wallpapers?
Jamieson: We created this persona of who Bridget Beari would be. We thought about where she'd go and travel. We just did a big job in Mexico and as a team traveled and looked for inspiration in fabrics. We found a gate design in Chicago while visiting. There are always small details I notice when I'm shopping or looking at things — a pretty pattern or a small detail that we will blow up. A wall in L.A., it's sort of an Islamic trellis, and we blew it up big. One is malachite-like. The wallpapers are all fairly graphic. Bold and graphic; not ornate or vintage. We created five [wallpaper] patterns with three colors of each.
R•Home: They sound fun and funky, yet also classic.
Jamieson: They are classic, but modern. It can be traditional, but also the scale changes it, so it can be super cool and big and bold and bright. They go both ways. In general, they're more contemporary.
R•Home: Do the wallpapers have a tactile feeling and appearance?
Jamieson: They don't, because I was really particular. Everything from shiny metallic to a really heavy vinyl. I wanted it to be as smooth and natural as possible. I wanted it to look like paper.
R•Home: Is the Bridget Beari line going to continue to evolve?
Jamieson: I'm working on fabrics to complement it. I'm working on seven patterns right now. It all falls together in this brand.
R•Home: When will you roll the fabric line out?
Jamieson: It will be soon to follow [the wallpapers]. We are done with the patterns. We are changing the scale and tweaking the colors.
R•Home: Where can someone get their hands on the wallpaper?
Visit bridgetbearidesigns.blogspot.com for Beari's "Color Rules," a series of posts on how to decorate with color. Jamieson hopes to publish these tips as a book someday.