Designer Crush: Jamie Davis of Portola Paints & Glazes


1. You and your brother Casey were raised in a family of artists. How did your dad (a high-end custom home builder) in particular influence your professional passion?

As a kid, I loved going to his job sites. We would walk around and he would point out details and tell me what it was going to be once it was finished. I loved imagining how it was going to look. In my head, I would bring all the elements he described to life. Today I am faced with similar scenarios. I help people envision their space with color, design and form.

My fathers is also a painter and a musician. His creativity and attention to detail blows me away.  I have always been inspired by how hard he works and how important every project is to him. He is a perfectionist, in the best way. I get that from him.  I work closely with clients to make their dreams a reality and I take it very seriously. I love what I do!

2. What drew you to photography and how do those skills translate to your current role at Portola?

My dad gave me his old Nikon 35mm film camera when I was about 13 or 14. I loved taking pictures. I don’t think I’ve taken one trip in the last 20 years without my camera. With Portola, I have a lot of fun shooting interiors, colors and textures for our website and social media.

3. Travel is another major influence for both you and Casey. What are some of your favorite destinations and how have they inspired you?

I love the textures and colors in Mexico, Italy and France. There is a warmth and vibrancy that gets into your bones. Recently I took a trip to New Zealand and experienced color and texture in an entirely different way. The landscape and lighting south of the island at the end of winter was unlike anything I had ever seen.

4. How has being a Los Angeles native informed your perspective on art and style?

Being from Los Angeles has no doubt influenced me and my brand. There is so much going on in L.A. to pull from. I love the blend of old and new, the flea market scene, the art scene, the beachy vibe. The houses here are all so different; on the same street, you can find a spanish style house next to a ranch house next to a modern house and so on. It’s amazing. There are so many different styles to work with; it makes my job fun and allows me to really think outside the box. I recently bought a ranch style home in the valley with my wife, but we put eclectic mid-century furniture and clean paint with exposed beams. It was so much fun to work on.

5. Why is it so important for you to make your paints and finishes locally and in small batches, blending each color by hand?

It is important for us to manufacture locally because of the connection we have with our factory and our employees. It is also super important to us to be hands on through the entire process, from production to testing. Making our products in small batches allows us to use the best possible ingredients and raw materials available. We test every batch that we put out. We have a very hands-on approach to the way we make each color as every can of paint is made to order in our Los Angeles showroom. The experience is different when you buy paint from us.

6. Tell us about Lime Wash and why it’s different than anything else on the market.

Lime Wash is an incredible product with so many uses. Originally Lime paints were used as an anti fungal, natural finish for porous exterior surfaces. Traditional Lime paints could only be used on raw plaster, brick and stucco. Our Lime Wash is very unique in that it can be used on previously painted surfaces and drywall.  It adds texture to walls and also creates an added element of design.

7. Portola formulations are all engineered for environmental safety — why is that so important to you and how does adhering to those standards affect your process?

Manufacturing eco friendly finishes is definitely more work. It is also a part of who we are and what we stand for. Having a child makes me so much more aware of the future and how we treat our planet. We have a responsibility to take care of the Earth and also to be mindful of the chemicals that surround us.

8. Okay, real talk: what’s it like working with your brother? 

My brother and I are very different people. This definitely presents challenges at times, but it also leaves room for us to do our own thing; which is great because we have different interests within the store. We have our areas of expertise but work together as much as possible.  We make a great team.

9. Describe your ideal Sunday.

Have coffee and breakfast with my wife and baby. Go to the farmers market as a family. Take a bike ride or hike. Garden or do a house project. Quick jaunt to the beach or my parents house for a dip (if it’s hot). Grill. Netflix. Bed by 10.

10. Favorite album of all time and why?

Abbey Road. That seven-song medley!! I think they all had more fun because they all thought it would be their last album…massive Beatles fan here! Also, side note: allegedly, John was super against doing the medley. He thought it should be put together more like a traditional album; it was Paul and George Martin that wanted to record the medley. I love the conflicting personalities in one of the greatest bands of all time.

Lightning round!

11.  Dogs or cats?

Dogs! (Sorry Fiona).

12. Netflix or night out?


13. Pancakes or waffles?


14. Kanye or Jay-Z?


15. Surfing or SoulCycle?


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