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A+D Partner Spotlight: An Interview with Jamison Delfino

Taylor Design Interior Design Director, Jamison Delfino, sat down for an interview with G|M to discuss what inspired her to become a designer, her passion for healthcare design, and the keys to a successful project.


1. Tell me a little bit about your professional background.

I’m a Southern California native and I was born and raised in Hemet, CA. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be in the architecture and design field because my dad was an architect. Initially, I planned to go to business school and get a marketing degree, followed by a graduate architecture program, but while at California State University Long Beach (CSULB), I discovered their interior design program and fell in love with it. When I was still in college, one of my professors emailed me about an internship opportunity with Taylor Design and I jumped on it immediately and got an interview. I’ve now been with them for 13 years and don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. They are a wonderful firm to work for; I love the work-life balance that I find to be rare for design firms, and I’ve experienced so much opportunity for growth in the time I’ve been there.

2. You mentioned you knew from a young age that you wanted to follow in your dad's footsteps. How did your father help attract you to design?

Watching my dad create his art at his big drafting table and seeing his drawings come to life was very inspiring to me. I thought it was so cool. He had his own practice, and he would take my siblings and me to work with him. His materials library was like my playground, and I was fascinated by everything. He did most of his work in K-12 education and moonlighted in residential. My mom was also a labor and delivery nurse and when I got into healthcare design, it was sort of this cool unique way that I could connect with both of my parents on the same level.

3. Have you had any memorable or impactful design mentors?

My professors at CSULB helped guide me when I was first discovering the design world. At Taylor Design, I am fortunate enough to have had a handful of mentors who allowed me to the room to grow. Particularly, Allison Couture who helped train me when I first started, and I’m still very close to this day. I also have a handful of current mentors on our leadership team who continue to guide me and feel they always have my best interest at heart.

4. What do you enjoy most about what you do, and why healthcare design?

I love connecting people through design. It’s about understanding how spaces function for users, how clients envision their projects, and how to incorporate the right furniture and materials. It’s like creating a recipe that can go wrong if you don’t have the right formula. I fell into healthcare design as an intern, but I stay because I know that my work is making a big impact. I get to see patients using the spaces I’ve designed and it’s very rewarding knowing that my work can impact their healing processes.

5. Do you have a favorite or memorable project that you’ve worked on?

There are two that come to mind. The first is a boutique veterinary clinic for Dr. Treat. We used animal psychology to create the space, transforming their established brand into a unique environment. It was really cool and different from other projects I’ve worked on, but I was able to transfer knowledge from healthcare for humans to animals. The other is a current project that I’m still working on, which is developing interior design standards for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Both projects are brand driven… I love diving into each client’s brand to grasp who they are, and creating space that reinforces and strengthens that brand.

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Dr Treat – Lobby and Reception (Photography Credit of David Matheson)

6. Which projects have Taylor and G|M partnered on?

Several at Scripps – the Anderson Clinic (AMP) in La Jolla, Encinitas Hospital Expansion and Critical Care are a few that come to mind immediately. Also, Sharp Memorial and Providence Rancho Mission Viejo.

7. What is your favorite part of the design process?

My favorite part is the beginning where you do a deep dive to learn who the client is so you can design for them. For a past project at UCSF, we spent a great deal of time understanding each stakeholder’s unique perspective, and then put all of the pieces together to create something each of them could feel ownership of. I love discovering the why for the project along with the story; there’s so much magic in this. I also love a good client presentation!

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UCSF Cardiovascular Clinic (Photography Credit of Michael McLane)

8. What are the most important keys to a successful project?

Communication, trust, transparency, and creativity. I tend to overcommunicate until I feel that trust is established. I also encourage project teams to own up to any mistakes they make quickly so they can come up with a solution to fix it.

9. What advice would you give to a new designer?

Treat your coworkers like clients, maintaining professionalism and open communication. Design is 50% skill and 50% communication, so work on communicating right away and know it won’t be a one-size-fits-all all solution. Be professional and stay open to learning. This advice might seem silly, but its something that I think is very important and can be translated into your career for years to come.

10. Let’s switch over to some fun personal questions. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Well, I have two young kids, so I don’t have a ton of free time these days (laughing). Rowan is my three-year-old and Sienna is five, and they keep me on my toes! But, I enjoy spending time outdoors in nature with my kids and husband, having dance parties, and exercising. I also camp a lot with my girlfriends, we let our kids all play with each other in the dirt and are hoping they too will develop deep friendships like we have.


Family Photo

11. Do you have any favorite travel destinations?

My favorite trip was when my husband and I traveled to South Africa. We went on a safari and visited Cape Town, which was our favorite place ever – so nice and peaceful. That was a long time ago. More recently, we took the girls to Costa Rica and that was wonderful too – it’s always nice to slow down the pace for a bit and traveling is the best way I find to this.

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South Africa, Safari

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Cape Town, 2015

12. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture?

I appreciate quality craftsmanship, like a well-made wood and leather chair. Think of something like the Swoop Chair. I love pieces by local craftsmen. My style leans towards simple, natural designs, often with a Southwestern or Mexican influence.

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Craftsman, Cozy, natural chair

13. Do you have a favorite local spot?

I’m a big fan of Beechwood Brewery, which started in downtown Long Beach. I follow them everywhere they go!

14. Is beer your adult beverage of choice?

A spicy margarita is a good alternate : )

15. Comfort TV show?

I love Project Runway and other fashion shows. I love fashion and am so intrigued by how other creatives approach it, but don’t consider myself good at it. I also love Impractical Jokers for some good, mindless TV. It always makes me laugh.

16. Favorite type of food?

It’s a tie between sushi and Indian food.

17. Coffee or tea?

Coffee! Made with a little bit of oat milk and no sweetener.

18. Do you have any side hobbies?

I love buying flowers and crafting floral arrangements. And I love gardening. I have a bunch of indoor and outdoor plants, though they are currently in a bit of a seasonal depression (laughing).

19. Is there anything people might be surprised to learn about you?

In high school, I was very into competitive cheerleading, and I won a national title. It was a big part of my life back then.

20. Ok last question. You’re a new addition to the Crayola box. What color are you and why?

The color is called Grounded Green and it’s a deep, soothing, foresty green. I think this color reflects my strength in helping to ground others. I’m into spirituality, and intuition comes fairly naturally to me.

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