At Home with Jamie Sigler O’Grady and Tim O’Grady
Posted on October 2, 2017
Life is looking up these days for PR whiz Jamie Sigler O’Grady and her developer husband, Tim O’Grady. Jamie recently gave birth to their baby boy, Finn; they’ve settled into their 34th floor high rise apartment in the historic Electra building downtown; and they’re building a new Bankers Hill headquarters for J Public Relations, the award-winning agency Jamie co-founded in 2005.
Jamie had been renting an apartment in the 43-story Electra, a former SDG&E power plant (now the city’s second tallest residential building), when a distressed unit came on the market. “It was a gut job,” she says, “but Tim is good at seeing a diamond in the rough.” At just 1,150 square feet, the sleek, contemporary condo maximizes every inch of precious space. Floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to two outdoor terraces make the most of dazzling downtown views: Bankers Hill, the East Village, the Coronado Bay Bridge. The luxury Electra also has concierge services, indoor and outdoor lounges, a pool, a spa, and an exercise room.
“I like to have things that are a bit unexpected,” Jamie says, noting that floors throughout the condo are wood, but laid in a chevron pattern. The open, ultra-modern kitchen has counters of Caesar stone and a higher-than-normal bar so guests can stand as well as sit. The couple’s most prized possession is a Miele coffee maker cleverly built into the cabinetry. In the adjoining living room, Jamie recovered a Ralph Lauren chair in a bright pop of pink, a striking counterpoint to the gray sectional from Esteban Interiors.
In the master suite, a photo of the old California Theatre marquee by Monica Hoover hangs above the velvet headboard. The image has special significance for Jamie, whose first job was at a public relations firm that overlooked the now condemned theater at Fourth Avenue and C Street. The room’s custom wallpaper was hand-painted; the ceiling light fixture looks like a floating sea urchin. The couple transformed the tiny bathroom shower into a steam room with a marble surround and a mosaic tile floor. The bathroom mirrors are heated so steam from the showers doesn’t fog them up.
The cozy guest room features rabbit-printed wallpaper by artist Hunt Slonem. Jamie says she couldn’t afford Slonem’s paintings, so instead she papered the walls in one of his whimsical prints. A peripatetic traveler (she’s on the road 15 days a month), her design choices are informed by fine hotels. “I represent 150 hotels worldwide, so I get a lot of inspiration from staying at them,” she says. JPR’s roster of clients includes Disney, Hotel Del Coronado, Jumeirah Hotels, JC Resorts, Rancho Valencia, Relais & Chateaux, Visit Newport Beach, Vail Mountain Resorts, and Vail Resorts Hospitality, among many others.
Whether a hotel room or her own guest room, Jamie’s must-haves include a full-length mirror, soft plush carpeting underfoot, long hanging space for dresses, and a bench to hold a suitcase or to slip on shoes.
“I steal slippers from hotels,” she confesses with a laugh. “I always put them out for guests with water and fresh flowers.” Does she ever check a bag? “Never,” she says, even for weeks-long trips, packing her carry on with lots of black outfits and a neutral or metallic shoe.
While the couple also has a country house in Rancho Santa Fe’s The Crosby Estate, they love downtown’s close proximity to the airport, cultural opportunities, and “walkability.” They hike an eight-mile loop, stopping for breakfast at The Mission in East Village, and later visiting the Rose Garden in Balboa Park before heading to Little Italy, where Tim grabs a beer at the Queenstown Public House while his wife browses the farmer’s market. “We love that we can come down here, park our cars, walk all over the city, and go to some of the best restaurants in town,” she says. Favorites include RoVino in Little Italy, Salvucci’s and Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop in the East Village, and Kettner’s “restaurant row,” including the Kettner Exchange, Juniper & Ivy, Herb & Wood, The Crack Shack, and The Lion’s Share, nicknamed “Bill’s Bar” after developer Bill Davidson, for whom Tim previously worked as Executive Vice President of Land Development for Davidson Communities.
Tim was part of the team that developed Davidson’s The Oaks Farms in San Juan Capistrano, which won countless awards including the “Residential Detached Project of the Year” at last year’s Pacific Coast Builders Conference. He was also one of three partners who developed the Villages of La Costa. Tim became interested in landscape architecture while growing up in Laguna, and is now an avid gardener, planting pots of succulents on the couple’s downtown terraces, relocated from their home in The Crosby.
Currently, Tim is focused on his own redevelopment projects, including JPR’s new two-story office building on 5th Avenue, in collaboration with his wife and Esteban Interiors. It will include an open “social” floor plan, private workspaces, and a “J Spa” with blowout and make-up rooms so employees can go straight from spin class to the office. (JPR also has offices in Santa Monica, New York, and London.)
But the couple’s biggest collaboration is their new baby, Finn, born in August, who, along with Tim’s 16-year-old son, Aidan, is truly the finishing touch on their active, accomplished lives. Yes, life is definitely looking up. Andrea Naversen
Photography by Vincent Knakal