Jacques Saint Dizier founded Saint Dizier Design in the 1980s after living and working in New York City along side some of the most respected names in interior design. For over 30 years, Jacques has taken those East Coast / West Coast sensibilities sprinkled with a little Southern charm from his studies at LSU and turned it into a highly successful, full-service design firm.
We sat down with Jacques to discuss his process, influences and how the internet changed everything.
Can you tell us how Saint Dizier Design was conceived?
I studied design in the Department of Architecture at LSU and relocated to Manhattan the day I graduated. During my 12 year career in New York I worked for some of the biggest names in the industry including Angelo Donghia and Valerian Rybar & Daigre. When I moved to Sonoma in 1986, I first focused on boutique hotels then shifted to residential design.
What word(s) would you use to describe your aesthetic, and how is it integrated into your projects?
There are a few common threads that run through my work. Most important to our work are lighting, scale, texture, and architectural finishes. If you can create a beautiful envelope, the hardest part is done.
Can you explain your process when beginning a new project?
Every project with a new client begins with establishing a design vocabulary. (Everyone’s idea of casual or colorful is different.) We then have a dialog about how they intend to use each space whether it’s with the family, entertaining large groups or intimate dinner parties. Recently a single client informed me that he wanted a double bed in the master bedroom. When I asked why he said, (without a trace of irony), that he wanted to be able to choose which side of the bed to get up on.
What would you consider to be the biggest change in the field of design since you opened your firm?
T H E I N T E R N E T ! I often encourage clients to collect images that represent their style or the feel of a room. It is astounding to be able to shop Antique Stores and Art Galleries around the world for virtually anything. It seems that in the age of DIY everything the job of editing is more critical (and more challenging) than ever.
Have there been any notable influences on your career?
My mother was a designer so I was tantalized by the business from an early age. The biggest influence came years later when I worked side by side with Angelo Donghia, whom I consider to be one of the greatest designers of my lifetime.
If you were to give your younger self advice in regards to a career in design, what would it be?
Surround yourself with talented people, see as much of the world as you possibly can and learn what you can from every experience.