The House That Jazzercise Built
At home with the founder of Jazzercise, Judi Sheppard Missett, and her husband, Jack Missett
Judi Sheppard Missett and her husband Jack
At the home of Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, the principles by which she started her company reign supreme: balance, movement, and a little bit of pop. Judi and her husband of 47 years, Jack Missett, a former TV news reporter, live in a property that was first featured by San Diego Magazine in 2004. When the Missetts moved in two and a half years ago, they enlisted its original architects, Michael Batter and Janice Kay, as well as Wurfl Construction, to perform a major remodel that nearly doubled the house’s size. Today, it’s a place where the former professional dancer turned fitness guru dreams up choreography for her empire and enjoys the little luxuries of success. She says: “When you have movement in your life, it creates movement in other parts of your life and keeps you moving forward in the best possible way.”
LAP OF LUXURY
For Jack, a triathlete, swimming is part of his daily workout, so he wanted a pool closer to Olympic size. During the renovation, the architects doubled the size of the original pool. They also added a spa, sauna, and outdoor fireplace. Why Vista? “It’s just a few miles from the beach, but the sun comes out a lot more often here,” says Judi, who grew up in rural Iowa. “Yes, there is life north of Del Mar!”
Judi commissioned Abel and Brothers Custom Iron in San Marcos to design these dancing sculptures. The couple expanded the existing deck off the master suite and built balconies off the upper guestroom and Judi’s study.
The lower level opens to a koi pond and expansive backyard. Elfi Lawrence of Lawrence Design supervised the landscaping, with design assistance from Roshan Skiver. Jack oversaw most of the project. The goal was to make the outside as interesting as the inside. He wanted the patios and decks to be easily accessible via floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding pocket doors, and an exterior staircase, facilitating that indoor/outdoor feel, which comes in handy during parties and meetings. Another priority: creating a place just for Jack. “He wanted a space of his own,” Judi says. “So the art studio (pictured in the background) became his little retreat.”
THE WHITE HOUSE
“This house really looks like it belongs on the beach,” says Judi, noting the all-white color, a trademark of Batter Kay. During the expansion, the Missetts converted the original garage into a 1,100-square-foot dance studio and built a larger three-car garage off to the left. The architects found it both fun and challenging to keep the new plans consistent with their initial design. “The original building had such a strong geometry to it,” Michael Batter explains. “Now we had all these separate structures and had to relate them back to the original building. It became the play of the curves.” Here, Jack polishes the hood of his 1956 two-tone Nash Metropolitan.
This cherry-red Egg chair and ottoman, Arne Jacobsen’s iconic 1958 design for Danish furniture company Fritz Hansen, is a favorite of Judi’s. (Available at Design Within Reach)
The front door opens to a grand, light-filled foyer with tall ceilings and a staircase leading to the master suite and Judi’s study. A Christmas card from the White House, signed by the Obamas rests on the table!
Neutral gray walls and linens complement the original painting by Roy Lichtenstein that hangs above the couple’s bed. “I love the colors of Pop Art,” Judi says. “And the subject matter is lighthearted.”
“I like angles, that sharpness,” she says of her zigzag dining chairs. “I think it’s because it’s all about movement.” In the background: an original soup can painting by Andy Warhol’s assistant Steve Kaufman. (Chairs available at Cassina USA)
Today, Jazzercise extends to 32 countries, with more than 7,800 franchises worldwide and 35,000 classes per week. Judi’s legacy has become a family affair. Her daughter, Shanna Missett Nelson, serves as the company’s president. Both continue to teach at the headquarters in Carlsbad. Here, the duo practices a routine in the at-home dance studio, accessible via a separate entrance to avoid traffic through the main house. Judi requested a maple floor with some spring, and based on this photo, it’s easy to see why. The space also showcases some of the family’s collectibles, such as an autographed Michael Jordan jersey, a vintage Coca-Cola soda fountain, and original sketches by Dr. Seuss. But above all, it’s a place where Judi choreographs routines for future Jazzercise classes. She loves the convenience of it. “It’s easier,” she says. “The creative process isn’t something you can schedule.”