Art of Living
At a hillside haven in Malibu, actress Jane Seymour finds inspiration.
Before she played Elise McKenna in Somewhere in Time or Dr. Michaela Quinn in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, before she came to America fromEngland, Jane Seymour dreamed of being a ballerina. She even dancedwith the Russian ballet until an injury halted that career track.Instead, she went on to act, paint, design a clothing line, andcreate an extraordinary life in Malibu.
This morning the house bustles with activity. Jane meets with anart dealer to prepare a shipment of her paintings for an upcomingshow, then takes a call from her publicist to chat about anappearance. Her husband, director James Keach, works in his officeon a film project. As the gardener breezes by with some freshlypicked produce, Jane talks with her assistant about the afternoonschedule for twins John and Kristopher. Rushing from one task toanother, the down-to-earth celebrity is a blur in denim.
Together she and James have six children: the twins from theirmarriage and four from previous relationships. "My kids are here,my family's here, we entertain here," Jane says. "We give a hugeevent once a year for the American Red Cross, where we'll have 300to 400 people. Otherwise, we entertain very casually; we'll dobuffet and everyone helps themselves."
Her home, offering sweeping views of the Pacific, welcomes bothcelebrations and everyday living. Today, an azure sky seamlesslyflows into crystal-clear water, and sunlight floods the interiors."When we bought the house it was very dark, with wooden floors andrustic beams," Jane says. "I had an interior decorator who at onepoint wanted to turn it into a Tuscan villa."
Jane envisioned something different. She brightened theinteriors by painting exposed beams a buttery cream. The floorswere stripped, then faux-painted to appear whitewashed. She dressedthe rooms in soft creams and greens―colors captured fromviews of the beach and abundant coral trees. "I don't want to havea completely different color scheme in each room," Jane says. "Ifsomething goes with other things, it's quite easy to move itemsfrom room to room." Pillows in the master bedroom, for example,work equally well on the living room sofa.
Her sense of style recently attracted the team at Saks Inc., andtogether they produced a new line of linens, accessories, andfurnishings. The latest collection, Coral Canyon, draws inspirationfrom Jane's Malibu setting. "Now that I'm doing a home collection,I can use [some of it] in my house. I like the challenge of puttingit all together," she says.
"I randomly chose fabric swatches that absolutely grabbed me,"she adds. "Then I took all the pieces, grouped colors, and laidthem down on the floor in separate piles. I brought my husband inand said, 'Walk around the room and stop wherever you think youwant to wake up in the morning. Tell me where you would like towatch a ballgame with your feet on the couch.' He had input, andthen I knew exactly what I wanted in each room."
The result nourishes her creative side, from acting to art todesign. Jane explains, "Often I'm waiting on a script, so it's justas well that I have other outlets."
The day eases into late afternoon as James passes through theliving room on his way out to a meeting. John heads to gymnasticswhile the chess instructor arrives for a lesson with Kristopher. Inthe suddenly quiet house, Jane realizes she has the place toherself. She walks briskly to her studio eager to complete apainting she started yesterday. "It's rare when I can steal awayand paint without interruption," she says, flashing hersilver-screen smile.