Role lifetime

Actress Jane Seymour can change identities as easily as flipping a page in a script. But her latest role is one that truly puts her creative talents to use — she is designing her own line of decorative accessories for the home.

The Jane Seymour Home Collection debuted in Vintage Verandah’s World Market Showroom during the recent summer trade show for the home-furnishings industry. It includes lighting, candlesticks, bookends and other accessories. The home accents coordinate with her line of bedding, pillows and home fragrances and will be available at retailers this fall.

Seymour spent a day in the furniture-market showroom visiting with buyers and interior designers, taking them on a tour of her collection and showing off her favorites as if she was having a casual conversation with friends in her home.

Among the pieces she singled out was a lamp with mirrored panels and flowing metal leaves accented with butterflies and clear glass prisms.

“The Chloe mirrored lamp with a silk shade is directly taken from a one-of-a-kind mirror in my home,” she said, adding that the piece is one that she treasures enough to move whenever she does.

Just like the lamp, Seymour’s collection is based on places and things that are very near and dear to the actress, painter, designer and author.

“Everything within the collection is very specific to me, my home and my artwork. You won’t see a million of it,” said the actress who will appear on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” that starts its new season Monday.

The collection is separated into four lines, which were influenced by what Seymour calls the four pillars of her world.

St. Catherine’s Court was inspired by her 14th-century manor house in Bath, England. Winding Way was inspired by the cottages at St. Catherine’s Court, as well as her passion for vintage collectibles. Grand Hotel was inspired by the resort in northern Michigan where Seymour filmed “Somewhere in Time,” a classic romance with Christopher Reeve. Coral Canyon is based on her California home and reflects the casual, easy and comfortable lifestyle of the Pacific Coast.

“Within the four pillars, you can find your own look. I designed items that allow you to find your own sense of style as it relates to your home and your life,” she said.

Also offered are pieces with reproductions of her floral paintings, that coordinate with her soft goods line that launched the home collection. Seymour said that when she first saw her paintings interpreted as silk embroidery on pillows she was amazed at how beautiful they looked. Now, she’s equally impressed that they are retailing for just $59.

She said it was important to her that items in her collection have a high-end, luxurious look but could be purchased at an affordable price.

“I have product that is very affordable, starting at $9. The highest end is $450 for a king-size (bedding) set.”

Another exciting aspect of the collection for Seymour is the pieces’ ability to transcend seasons and design styles. She said she believes that homeowners buying her designs appreciate the fact that items will not go out of fashion.

Not just an actress endorsing products she likes, Seymour plays an integral role in the development of pieces within her collection.

Todd Sawvelle, marketing director for Vintage Verandah, said Seymour has an incredible amount of input on the look of the collection.

Showing notes on a napkin that Seymour drew during a quick lunch, Sawvelle said he held the essence of Seymour’s fall introductions in his hand.

“Jane is personally involved in all the design,” said Jimmy Pike, president and chief executive officer of Vintage Verandah, adding that her passion, enthusiasm and approachability were key factors in their collaborative effort.

“As the owner, I can step back. Jane is amazing to watch. She really sells the product. You can see the buyers get absorbed in what she is saying,” Pike said.

The collection launched with 39 pieces. Pike said he expects there to be more than 100 by the end of January.

“Vintage Verandah does a great job of interpreting my visions,” Seymour said. “They always come back looking better than I hoped.”

She said she gets ideas for designs and paintings all the time.

Seymour went from the world of acting into the world of art while she was going through a painful divorce and was on the verge of bankruptcy. She said she gave the last money she had to a silent auction in return for a personalized drawing of her children. She said she figured it was one thing that no one would be able to take away from her and she would be able to help abused children at the same time.

When the artist visited her home, he saw some “finger paintings” she had done with her children in the nursery. After discovering that Seymour herself had created the paintings, the artist offered to give her free lessons in water colors.

“I went from being very scared and very anxious to being transported by creativity that I hadn’t tapped since I was a teen,” she said.

She said painting left her feeling happy and joyous and was a key factor in helping her work through her grief during the divorce. She never thought that others would be equally inspired by her paintings, but she has shown her art in major galleries for the past 16 years and received numerous commissions, including a recent one by Disney to paint Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

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