Get Inspired by Jana Lam’s Rainbow-Hued Home Studio
Just steps from the shore in Niu Valley, the designer has created a home studio as cheery and colorful as her prints.
A warm welcome from Lam and daughter Aili; the Lam kids’ toys mix with her latest designs (including the new Anthurium print) in the shared playroom-photo area.
Photos: Aaron K. Yoshino
You can’t help but smile as you approach Jana Lam’s front door, painted a sunny shade of marigold-yellow. Even the designer’s doormat is adorable, covered in a happy, pink-and-green pineapple pattern. As precursors go, the entryway is spot-on. Inside the airy, ranch-style home, an equally vibrant kaleidoscope of hues fills the spacious, sun-soaked side room that serves as her operational hub.
Lam’s drawing spot.
“This used to be the formal sitting room,” explains Lam. Located on a breezy, beachfront lot in Niu Valley, the 1947-built house formerly belonged to her husband’s grandparents. In 2012, when the young couple moved in, it became the catalyst for her brand’s expansion. “Having this space allowed me to grow the business and my team,” she says, reflecting back to her start as a one-woman show struggling to keep up with orders. Since then, the line has grown to include upward of 30 of the artist’s hand-drawn tropical designs and now boasts a staff of five, which executes textile design, production and e-commerce from the studio.
Fabric swatches await assembly.
Lam’s mood board includes artsy doodles, fabric samples and a vintage snap of Lam’s home.
“I try to keep it as light and bright as possible,” Lam says of the overall aesthetic. Rows of fabric bolts line the left wall, along with a rainbow’s worth of notions and zippers, neatly tucked away in clear, plastic drawers. The room’s antique, Chinese-style furniture has been replaced with massive fabric-cutting tables, piled high with interfacings and fabric swatches awaiting assembly. Dotting the right wall is a mish-mash of mood board images, framed inspirational sayings, and treasured photos of the artist’s 4-year-old son, Lyon, and 1-year-old daughter, Aili. Having her little ones so close is Lam’s favorite part of having her workspace at home. “I don’t think a lot of people get to experience work and kids intersecting, and even though it’s really challenging, I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she says. “I’ve gotten to know my kids more than I would have otherwise, and I now have a bond with them that’s really close.”
A peek at the shady screen-printing nook located right outside the studio; screen printer Kellie Hirata at work.
Opposite the entrance, sunshine pours in through giant, sliding French doors that open to a small patio, and eventually an expansive beachfront lawn, flanked on both sides by lush foliage and tall, swaying palm trees. It’s as picturesque as it gets. “We have all of our family Christmas parties here,” says Lam. “And several family members have even gotten married here.” Lam’s popular Shellini print was inspired by treasure-hunting walks on the sand with Lyon.
Fabric boards dry on the back lawn.
With her two worlds so interwoven, it makes perfect sense that Lam’s latest endeavor would be home-focused. She’s currently working on debuting tea towels, placemats, table runners and tablecloths featuring her classic Sea Flower print and brand-new Anthurium pattern. “It’s the strongest print I’ve designed lately,” she says. Lam’s background includes studies in interior design, so the progression has come naturally. And accents are just the start. “It’s a route to other items, like bedding, curtains, wallpaper and upholstery, where I eventually want to go,” she says.