The Eclectic Glam Queen: An Interview With Jewel Marlowe
It was a Wednesday in September 2018 when I first received an email from Jewel Marlowe. She was a guest designer for the One Room Challenge, a bi-annual friendly blogger challenge where interior designers makeover one room in their home. The interior designers range from beginners to fairly established names. As a sponsor of the One Room Challenge, we receive emails from the participants about their plans and their desire to use wallpaper. When I did my research on Jewel, I was instantly enthralled from the first photo I saw. Her use of color and her style was unlike anything I had seen before. Her blog is full of DIY projects that are a feast for your eyes. But then, when you follow along on her socials, you see that she’s not just hiring people to make her ideas come to life. Far from it, she wields one hell of a mitre saw. She’s not afraid to get messy. And the results are always stunning. We caught up with Jewel and learned there is much more to the Eclectic Glam Queen than meets the eye.
M&K: History… Tell us about yourself.
JM: We are a military family of six, and have lived in most regions of the US plus one assignment overseas in England. Seven years ago we bought this home, and lived here a couple of years before renting it out to two different sets of fabulous renters. After our 13th move, we find ourselves back in Virginia and are thrilled to be “home” again. We will see how future assignments work out, but we have hopes to eventually settle down here forever someday.
M&K: Do you have any interior design education or are you just self-taught?
JM: I have a degree in history, but 12 years ago decided that interior design was something that I wanted to master. I went to the library and checked out literally every book on the subject. Once completing that pile I went to the next library, and the next, and the next. Luckily, by the time I exhausted all of the libraries in my area we moved to England. Here I continued my book studies while learning hands-on experience. I found British auctions to be epic! Here I bought, refurbished, and resold vintage and antique finds on the daily.
M&K: Tell us a little bit about your home? How long have you lived there? What sold you on the home?
JM: We bought this current home because it was a bottom-of-the-market foreclosure in a very desirable neighborhood. I was sitting at our desk one night in England when I found the MLS listing. At the time my husband had traveled back to the US for a weekend interview for a military White House job. Luckily he was able to squeeze in a walk through. In the end he got the job and we bought the house.
I can remember walking through the home for the first time. We had been traveling for 24 hours with three small children as we bravely forged our way across the pond. It is funny now, but in my jet-lagged state I remember thinking…”Seriously? how much did we pay for this house?” and “It looked so much better online”. I felt like the 90’s had called and they wanted their house back. Despite my initial disappointment with our 1994 foreclosure, we have learned to LOVE the excellent schools, neighborhood, and everything else that Northern Virginia has to offer. Plus, the home has been a blank slate for all of our decorating adventures and many family memories. The once dated builder’s grade home has become a very unique and magical space.
M&K: How did you find the courage to start your own DIY home improvement projects?
JM: Since I’m not really afraid of failure, I am rather fearless when it comes to DIY.
wallpaper: Simplemente Puntos
M&K: What was your most challenging project to date?
JM: Making over my kitchen, living room, and eat-in area in less than 6 weeks nearly killed me. I’m literally still losing my hair from this project. As expected though, the larger the challenge, the greater the reward. I love how these areas have turned out!
M&K: How do you decide what to do next?
JM: We only have about 7-10 zones of the home left to work on, which feels great, by the way. In 2020, we have already finished our basement living room and plan to complete 1. Basement workout room 2. Basement stairs and landing 3. Basement bedroom 4. Husband’s office 5. Entryway closet 9. laundry room 10. A Closet-to-Toyroom conversion 11. Entryway update (stairs, drapes, and chandelier)….We recognize that this still leaves three bathrooms, but Rome wasn’t built in a day…or two years.
striped chair fabric: Candy Stripe
M&K: What would you call your interior style?
JM: I like to refer to my style as Eclectic Glam with Soul…with strong maximalist tendencies.
M&K: Is there a color palette you prefer?
JM: I love color! I like to dabble in warm hues like yellows, pinks and reds, but blues and greens have always had my heart. They feel so timeless.
M&K: Did anyone or anything influence your style?
JM: I think I am heavily influenced by our many moves, but especially our time living and traveling in Europe…but I like to keep my traditional style fresh. My favorite way to accomplish this is to mix soulful antiques with unexpected modern lighting, art, or wallpaper. I am influenced by designers like Miles Redd, Christine Dovey, and Shannon Claire.
M&K: Are there any styles you don’t like or aren’t very fond of. What is an interior faux pas for you?
JM: I don’t want to style-shame anyone, and I think what is most important is that everyone loves their own style. Personally, however, I have never been a huge fan of shiplap. I don’t generally like farmhouse white furniture paired with all white walls, that is unless Daryl Carter is involved. That is a different vibe all together.
M&K: You’re not shy when it comes to wallpaper, were you always a fan?
JM: I think it is fair to say that I liked wallpaper, even when wallpaper wasn’t cool. I installed my first double rolls in 2009…I don’t think it was the rage then that it is now, but even then loved the way it instantly added visual impact to a space.
M&K: What wallpaper styles do you find the most attractive?
JM: I like a variety of styles of wallpaper, but I am especially drawn to very large scale and bold colors. I want my rooms to make you stop and think, or even better…start a conversation.
wallpaper: Viva Tropicana
M&K: What are your future goals? Any big plans for the rest of the year?
JM: I am hoping to get my home finished to the point that it can get published within the next year. In an effort to stay abreast of market trends, I will be attending Highpoint Market this year. At the same time, I plan to stay grounded in my eclectic but traditional roots. I haven’t ruled out TV or youtube, but I really feel that I will find the most joy serving others one on one. I regularly receive requests for design services, but have been so busy with my blog that I haven’t had the time to branch into that area. My goal for this year is to obtain the certifications and business structure to start taking on clients in 2021. I love design and I love people. Combining the two would be a dream.
M&K: Final words?
JM: I come from a long line of hard-working women who have taught me the value of hard work. This design journey has been anything but easy, but I find it incredibly rewarding to continue to learn, grow, and define my style.
Check out Jewel’s blog called Jeweled Interiors for inspiration, instruction and all things Eclectic Glam!