I accompanied one of my best friends, who happens to be a buyer for One Kings Lane (!!!), to an IFDA event at the Design Center in New York. While we were devouring hourderves and sipping our wine, Jodi nearly fainted when she glanced up and saw Jamie Drake standing right next to us- an interior design legend! Jodi, too star stuck to strike up a convo, gave me her “you’ll talk to anyone” look, and I knew it was now or never, so I went for it.
I opened up by introducing myself and telling Jamie about Dormify and what we are all about. He was thrilled with the idea of chic home accessories geared towards dorms, and could not have been more pleasant and personable to chat with. I knew the 5 minute convo was not enough to share with you — so I followed up with an interview on Jamie’s recent celeb clients, his influence from travels abroad, and how he is not afraid to use color.
Stephanie Hayman: What is the meaning behind your phrase, “personality‐plus design.”
Jamie Drake: 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.
Stephanie: Californication’s Hank Moody was your muse for one of your projects. How did you use aspects of his narcissistic but fun loving personality to design the space?
Jamie: I painted the ceiling in a serene sky blue hue because it evoked California and is a color that would relax him. I also used Ultrasuede on the furniture and walls to create a luxurious and sensuous cocoon to help Hank unwind. Gary Ponzo’s Paper Clip Chandelier, handmade from over 4,000 paper clips, and Tom Bendtsen’s tower of books, were thought‐provoking elements I added to illustrate Hank’s internal struggles as a conflicted writer.
Stephanie: You designed Madonna’s house! What was that experience like?
Jamie: I was flattered and thrilled to design for her. She’s an incredible woman.
Stephanie: Do you have any major design rules when you are working on a project?
Jamie: It’s not so much a rule, as it is a principle, but a designer should never forget that the ultimate look is all about the client’s preferences. Design, just like fashion, has evolved over time. There are no rules anymore so don’t be afraid to take risks!
Stephanie: How old were you when you started designing? Have you always had an interest in color and form?
Jamie: I often joke it was at birth that I knew I would become a designer. I arrived into the world squinting and crying at the hospital’s horrid lighting and dreadful décor.
Stephanie: I know you have had the opportunity to travel a great deal abroad. Does any particular city inspire your work?
Jamie: I find inspiration everywhere: traveling, fashion, movies and magazines. I have yet to visit a city or country that hasn’t inspired me. India, Morocco, Greece, and Paris‐ each place sparks my imagination in a different way.
Stephanie: Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Jamie: I have been fortunate to work on many fabulous projects that it’s difficult to name only one! A few that come to mind right away include the restoration and renovation of Gracie Mansion, and the First Coast Oncology clinic in Jacksonville Florida. I’ve also worked on wonderful projects with Mayor Bloomberg. A Bermuda retreat and London townhouse round out the list.
Stephanie: What did you freshmen year dorm room look like?
Jamie: My first college housing had elephant grey walls, beds covered in orange throws. A vintage steamer trunk that belonged to an aunt acted as a cocktail table, and provided a lot of additional storage.
Stephanie: Sounds fabulous!! If a college student was lucky enough to have your help designing their room, what advice would you give them?
Jamie: Create a space that reflects who you are. Surround yourself with the things you love, and most of all, don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun with it!
Stephanie: ‘Nuff said. Thank you Jamie!