Hello, It’s me!
A big warm hello! My name is Jeanette, but I have been known as “Jet” by my nearest and dearest for most of my life.
I’m the face behind Jet McQueen InteriorDesign, a boutique Interior Design studio that I began as a step out of the corporate design world and into a fresh landscape of opportunities right outside my front door.
I guess the first thing to know about me is that I am Canadian born and British by marriage. I might as well address this now as it tends to come up in the first few moments of a phone conversation as callers politely puzzled over where I originated from on the North American continent. 🙂
I have lived in the UK for nearly half of my life, but my accent has remained firmly rooted to Canadian soil. They say “you can take the girl out of Canada, but you can’t take the CANADA out of the girl!” Perhaps that’s true? To be perfectly honest, I can’t even mimic the English dialect well, but I am a real admirer of the varying vernaculars (just ask my husband about how we met).
I have evolved enough to switch my vocabulary to some common British terms to help blend in; such as using “brilliant” instead of “awesome” and “rubbish” rather than“garbage”.
I’ve even (nearly) got a handle on the British sense of humour, but I’ll never like Marmite. (I’m sorry about that, but YEAST EXTRACT? really??)
A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE
I was educated in Toronto at RyersonUniversity and finished my degree with a Batchelor of Applied Arts. I also refreshed my design skills with a diploma from the British Academy of Interior Design.
My design career spans 20+ years, and started in luxury retail; planning store interiors for some well-known global brands. A good part of my professional career (17 years) was spent within the halls of Ralph Lauren, where I developed my design style and fine-tuned my project management abilities.
I moved with Ralph Lauren from Toronto to the head office at 650 Madison Avenue inNew York.
This jump really changed my life, both professionally and personally, as I met my husband (A British tourist that I found in a Manhattan pub one night after work), and I also built my abilities and my career.
I feel the years I spent in New York were a“golden era”, a real hub of creative energy at a time where the investment into the retail environment and the company as a whole were high.
This growth period allowed for the best of everything; from employing luxury finishes and premium furnishings to finding real estate in the most prestigious locations. It exposed me to the best of the best; to really understand the potential of a space and how to make a statement within it.
It was a fantastic place to start when you begin in a design profession.
After some really immersive years in the US, I was invited to move to London to oversee the expansion of Ralph Lauren in Europe. I packed my bags and jumped onto a plane to begin a new adventure which resulted in occupying the role of VicePresident (overseeing interiors in the expansion across Europe). Over my time with Ralph, I learned from and partnered with some of the most talented people in the industry, and I flourished and grew because of the impressions they made on me.
Aside from my work life, when I was30, I bought my first home in Wimbledon (a 1920’s renovation rescue) and fell in love with applying what I knew from retail design to residential interiors. Over the course of a year, my then-boyfriend, (now-husband) fixed up and flipped the property. Unwittingly we laid the foundation of an amazing side hustle in property development.
A decade (or so) on, with a few more flipped properties under our belts, we had really caught the bug. I received recognition for my designs as a finalist in a competition run by Valspar and it really made me stop to think about a change in direction. At this juncture, I knew that once I got tired of the jet lag and hotel rooms, my future would be refocused towards residential design.
TRAVEL, GLOBAL GROWTH & ADVANCEMENT
Professionally, I have travelled extensively and in 2015 this increased exponentially with a new role.
I was approached about directing the development of stores within the luxury conglomerate of the Richemont Group.
Enticed by the global remit and ability to create something new, I accepted the opportunity.
The luxury brand was Alfred Dunhill; a British label that was readying to embark on relaunching themselves as the modern view of English heritage. They wanted the store presence to reflect this new ethos, and for me to apply my skills to help them to reimagine the store environments; retaining character but resurfacing with a modern face.
It seemed like a fresh challenger in a place where I could spread my wings. I took on the role of Global Director overseeing the aesthetic of flagships and boutiques all over the world, from Shanghai to Dubai, and New York to Paris and all other flights in between. We reworked the design of over 60 stores in two years and opened several new boutiques in conjunction with this.
There is an important part to my story that we haven’t come to yet. During all of these amazing adventures, I became a Mum. At first to twins, and then followed on by a couple of others.
What a transformative experience! One that I may not have fully appreciated because I have always been head down in work, just ploughing through and making things happen.
I know I am fortunate, I have always loved my career and see it in many ways as my hobby.
A hobby I have had the benefit of being paid for many years. It has afforded me the opportunities and the experiences of countless places and people; including working alongside some prominent architects and architectural firms around the world. As with all the experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned from them as I moved through life.
I rarely take the time to reflect on the adventures I’ve had, but the past year of 2020 has put a little perspective into the mix. I realised the most important place and people I come across are living in my own home. I think a lot of people have come to a similar conclusion.
This clarity made me realise that now is the time to focus on home, and as I mentioned earlier, I knew residential design would come for me! I think everyone can now appreciate the importance of their home environment, and how making your living spaces work for you in every aspect impacts your overall wellbeing.
For me, it marked the time to hone in on the passion within the passion and to get into design that enhances personal experience. To have firsthand involvement in the individual triumphs; working with local people to turn their ambitions into their dream forever home.
So far I’ve found these relationships just as rewarding as any flagship store opening from my past. My title, benefits and perks have never been higher, because I’m helping to change peoples day to day lives, and not just improve large corporate profits. And, although I’m no longer a VP, I’m at
home more often with my own little boardroom of VIP’s. The board may be scrabble, but the game is life.
How has this changed things? In design, no day is ever the same, but most of my activities revolve around meeting or speaking with clients, developing drawings, research and inspiration, fabric and material sourcing, job pricing and meeting with tradespeople.
Everything has changed and nothing has changed, I love it! For me, what I do is so much more than just a job. It’s part of who I am, and the rewards are big! There is nothing better than delivering a beautifully designed room to a happy client. Design doesn’t save lives, but it certainly changes them. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
So, what do I do in my spare time? Reading?? That’s what I would do anyway…But who am I kidding?, with four kids and a full-time business I don’t have much spare time. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get past page 42 of “A MAN CALLED OVE” since Oct. I hear it’s a great book!
I’d love to get to know you a little better too! Say hello! Give me a call and tell me a bit about yourself. Let’s have a conversation about how to improve your spaces to better your life.