As both an actor and producer, Jake Gyllenhaal has had an illustrious, critically-acclaimed career. Although better known for winning awards and treading red carpets, Jake also happens to be an accomplished chef and design lover, with a penchant for Italian food and ceramics. Recently announced as the 2023 ambassador of heritage porcelain brand, Ginori 1735, Jake tells Camilla Frances about his life in design.



The Antwerp home of Jake's favorite designer, Axel Vervoordt © Jan Liégieos


The home I grew up in...

I grew up in Los Angeles. My dad was a good carpenter and painter and was wonderful with design. He loved fixing up houses. We grew up in an old craftsman home that my father refurbished. Both of my parents loved going to antique markets and I remember waking up early and going to the flea markets with them as a child. My mother had a wonderful eye for antique furniture. She would find everything there – beautiful wooden salad bowls and kitchen supplies as well as furniture. I grew up on a beautiful brown velvet couch my mother bought at a market – many holidays, evenings and a lot of homework was done on that couch. I wish I still had it today!

The first home I furnished...

I bought my first home in California in my late 20s and it was one of my proudest moments. I had some help from a dear friend who happened to be a designer and she had very eclectic taste. I bought a beautiful green leather couch, and a beautiful old French metal cabinet from a post office. She also encouraged me to paint the floors with super high gloss white paint and it was a wonderful design choice! But my favorite thing to design was the kitchen – a place to gather with friends and family.

The first antique I bought...

The very first antique piece I ever bought was an incredible 40-year-old cast iron pan. I love to cook, and it was such an incredible find. 

The first piece of art I bought...

It was a beautiful painting of an 18th-century two-masted ship on the ocean. I have no idea who painted it, but it was (and still is) stunning. 

My obsession with design began...

It began with film. I love production design. My father is a film director, and he was always interested in interior design and architecture. He would often bring me to see beautiful buildings. I remember how excited he was when Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall in LA was first designed. We would drive downtown every few weeks to watch its progress.

I would love to collect...

I have a friend with an incredible Cartier clock collection, and it is just extraordinary. I would love to collect clocks, in my next life! 

An object I’ll never part with

There is a small ceramic sculpture of Dumbo, the Disney character, that my mom had on her dresser and gave to me when I got older. I love it and will never part with it.

The holiday souvenir I treasure most

I have a beautiful Borsalino hat I bought several years ago in Rome, which I love and keep to this day.

An interior designer I’d love to work with

Axel Vervoordt. I just love his sensibility and the idea that a home should be a personal expression of the soul.


Interior by Axel Vervoordt © Laziz Hamani for Flammarion

An interior that takes my breath away

I love minimalism and adore traditional Japanese design and I am always moved by almost any traditional Japanese structure.

My favorite interiors always include

I love interiors that mix cultural aesthetics. I love combining materials. I love bringing nature into every room; a plant or bouquet of flowers is essential to me, to bring any room alive.

A new designer or maker whose work excites me

My friend, Olivia Sammons, and her company, Wherewithal. Olivia, as a person, is so talented and her aesthetic is beautiful.

The last exhibition I saw and loved

Surrealism: Beyond Borders at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. My girlfriend took me, and I loved it!


Florence, one of Jake's favorite cities © Mark Luscombe-Whyte 


If I could live in another city

Florence. Is there anything more to say?

The most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed in

Manka’s Inverness Lodge in Inverness, California.

The country I’d most like to visit…

I’d love to go back to Japan. I love so much about the country. I visited when I was very young and have the fondest memories. I have always dreamt of staying in a ryokan and taking a spa with the Japanese Macaque snow monkeys!

My favorite interiors in three wordsWarm, alive, simple.

My least favorite interiors in three wordsComplicated, cold, itchy.



Jake Gyllenhaal © Gray Sorrenti


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Camilla Frances is Cabana Magazine's Digital Editorial Director | Follow Camilla on Instagram: @housetowrite

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