Roxanne Hughes Packham of Sunset & Magnolia Was Born to Design
Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, Roxanne Hughes Packham studied at the Sorbonne and Cité Universitaire in Paris and received a BA in Costume Design from University of Southern California before heading to FIDM to study Fashion Design. Her family heritage, including “Silversmiths to the Stars” Allan Adler and Porter Blanchard (one of the founders of California’s Arts and Crafts movement), helped inspire Roxanne’s love of design. For further proof that design runs in families, Roxanne’s sister is a FIDM Interior Design Graduate who is the principal at Michele Hughes Design in Pasadena, California.
Since graduating from FIDM, Roxanne has enjoyed a successful career as an interior designer and author whose projects span city, beach, mountain, and lake. Her designs have been featured in California Homes, Dream Homes of Coastal California, Cowboys & Indians, and Canadian Homes & Gardens, among many other publications. In addition to running her residential design firm, Sunset & Magnolia, Roxanne is involved in the design process and production of her family’s silver company, and she is a licensed intercultural etiquette and protocol trainer. We recently chatted with Roxanne to hear more about her inspiring story.
Where do you trace your love of design and interiors to? Since I was young I have always loved textiles, color, and sketching or drawing. Both of my grandfathers were designers and silversmiths, my dad is in the building industry, and my mom was a closet interior designer so I was constantly hearing conversations about building, design, and clients.
What is your approach to interior design? I am passionate about house and home and everything about it. I want to find out what the couple, individual, or family needs and how they will use and then design something that is unique and beautiful and exciting to them! I have the sweetest couple I am designing for now, who are in the entertainment business, and who are so excited about our work on their home that it refreshes me. With each new client, and especially projects where I do a complete home, I fall in love with what I do all over again. If it’s possible, I love designing now more than I did when I first attended FIDM!
Any favorite recent projects you can share with us? I am doing a project for James Storehouse in designing a pilot project of Stacey DeWitt, their director, for foster teens who have aged out of the system. We are designing and decorating a home where four young people will begin their independent lives. To get to be able to design homes for these types of projects is also incredibly fulfilling. I designed a home for eight girls in a small town in Romania, for young women who aged out of the orphanage system. I consulted on the remodel of a home purchased for this, and did on site work as well. I traveled to source local lighting, furniture, bedding, and accessories.
These are kind of favorites because without the work I do for my very high-end clients, I wouldn’t be able to do this meaningful and important work. I am thrilled that because of one, I can do both. The thrill of having a picture texted to me from the most amazing young Romanian woman in her new room, with a note of thanks for her first “new” thing (her bed) ever, with a pic of her smiling. So much joy from designing!
Tell us about your family's famed silver company and your involvement: Allan Adler, silversmith, was my grandfather, and Porter Blanchard, my great grandfather. Porter started the Arts and Crafts society here in California after moving here from Boston. My cousin Danny and I collaborate on projects, flatware, and holloware, especially for home design projects. We’ve done some beautiful lamps, iconic trays, and special items. They are handmade and take a very long time to make, so there is a limited market for them.
Are there any lessons you learned at FIDM you carry with you today? I loved every minute at FIDM! Although my major was Fashion Design, it was a dream come true to begin spending every minute studying and creating design. I learned to be passionate about design at an early age and FIDM was perhaps my biggest cheerleader early on encouraging me to go for it and follow my dreams, which I am still doing today!
What advice would you share with a student or grad wanting to work in interiors? Remember that as glamorous as interior design is, it is first and foremost a customer service business. Listening to your client is your most important skill and their trust is your key to success.
Anything else you'd like to share? It’s a great privilege to get to love what you do and make a living at it. I’m grateful to FIDM, and the people there, for being an integral part of helping me make that happen for me.
Learn more at sunsetandmagnolia.com and on Instagram @sunsetandmagnolia_design.
Interior photography by Mark Lohman