“Success to me is doing something that you love.”
I’m thrilled to share my interview with interior design legend Jamie Drake. Jamie’s work is showcased in some of the world’s most extraordinary properties with clients including Madonna, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, Hollywood celebrities and corporate leaders. He has received numerous awards including the Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year and Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame designer. I love Jamie’s book New American Glamour, derived in part from the motto of MGM’s Louis B. Mayer: “Make it big! Do it right! Give it class.” Before the interview I read that Jamie Drake has “the eye of an artist and the heart of a giver”. I so agree with this… Jamie has been deeply involved in good causes. He serves as the Chair of The Alpha Workshops, where he has been a board member for more than a decade. Jamie Drake loves to travel and find great inspiration when walking the streets of a new city. Enjoy the interview! I sure did.
How would you describe your style?
I use a term, personality-plus design. Personality-plus design is about injecting a sense of personality into every room. It’s about mixing high and low, using bold color, and not being afraid to combine different periods, shapes and forms.
What inspired you to get into design?
I have grown up surrounded by art, my mother was a painter and decorated our home beautifully. I noticed and admired design and always knew I was born to be an interior designer.
How did you get your first assignment?
Technically my first project would be my backyard fort as a boy. It housed antiques and accessories just as my designs include today however, I would say my style has become bolder and the quality of goods has gone up dramatically.
Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?
I begin with the space plan. As soon as I walk into the space, or view the floor plan, I immediately envision the best layout. 95% of the time its the layout I stick with.
How do you achieve a good scale? Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.
A sense of scale can be both inherited and learned. Scale is all about proportion and balance.
What do you enjoy most in your work?
The satisfaction of seeing a client beam with joy as they experience their newly designed space is very rewarding.
What is the biggest mistake people make when they decide to decorate their own homes without the guidance of a designer?
Often people try to recreate a look they see in a magazine and forget to inject their personalities into the design. I suggest creating a space that reflects who you are. Surround yourself with the things you love.
What do you love to do when you are not designing?
I love to travel and find great inspiration when walking the streets of a new city.
Who are your favorite artists?
Some of my favorites are Gene Davis, Chuck Close, and Andy Warhol.
Your favorite books?
I tend to read more newspapers and magazines than novels. Another constant source of inspiration!
You have been awarded many significant prizes. What does success mean to you?
Success to me is doing something that you love. I feel successful in that my passion and source of earning a living are one in the same.
My signature question – what are the most important design elements?
Shape, form, texture; all of the elements are all important to good design but perhaps I would deem color as my favorite!
photos: Drake Design Associates