For over 25 years, Haverford’s Alix Rockwell Jacobs has transformed plain, white walls into works of art. A muralist and decorative painter, Jacobs earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, where she honed her passion for historic preservation and historical paint. She recently completed a mural at a new home on the Ardrossan property that depicts the original houses of this storied piece of the Main Line.
“Color is a vital part of life,” she says. “I have fun interpreting what clients have in their minds through my murals.”
Her keen eye for style has lead her in recent years to expand her business into staging and styling homes for resale.
» Decorating style: Either totally pure or totally eclectic. I’ve learned to appreciate even the most extreme Victorian Revival styles—when they’re accurate.
» Most prized possession: A miniature silver tea set that once belonged to my grandmother.
» Designers who inspire her: Robert Adam, Philippe Starck, Renzo Mongiardino.
» Design advice: Go with your gut. Be whimsical, not safe. Matching colors is a compulsion, not a talent. There’s good taste (style), and there is bad taste (also style). The worst is no taste.
» Color she couldn’t design without: Raw umber. Not a color, but a pigment to be added to most everything. The painters who work with me in my business know that it won’t pass muster when we mix our colors unless we add raw umber.
» Design elements she incorporates into her work: Negative space (it’s as important as positive space), a surprise element of some kind, and historical references (recent or ancient).
» Favorite room to design: It’s fun to dream up a paint scheme for a powder room. The door is always closed, and the surprise presents itself upon entering—and you don’t spend too long in there to get tired of it!
» Biggest decorating faux pas: Perfection.