Confidence and color are two of the first words that come to mind when I think of designer Jamie Drake. Of course to limit such a talent to just two adjectives would be criminal.
Jamie Drake, the man behind some of the country’s most vibrant and distinctive interiors, knows how to create delightful environments that range from traditional to contemporary, and always remain comfortable and inviting. Drake’s device of choice is color—always used fearlessly, confidently and with great flair, “There is little that doesn’t inspire me,” Drake, boldly proclaims.
Like many great designers, Jamie seems to have been to the manner born. While still in high school, he worked for the state’s leading contract design firm and during his undergraduate years at Parson’s, he held a student internship in the office of the late Angelo Donghia. Completing his degree in a mere three years, Jamie launched his firm, Drake Design Associates, immediately after graduation in 1978.
Since then, he has amassed an impressive roster of clients. Notable residential interiors include a Los Angeles showplace for Madonna, a Martha’s Vineyard vacation retreat, and a stunning Manhattan apartment for Phyllis and Victor Grann. Drake has also completed multiple projects for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg—a client for almost twenty years—including the recent renovation and restoration of Gracie Mansion, the longtime ceremonial residence of the Mayor of New York and the redesign of various rooms at City Hall.
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,” remains a darling of the bookshelf and offers great insight to the genius behind the designs.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Bold, bright, polished and optimistic.
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Inspiration is everywhere. Films travel, fashion, magazines a;ll provide me with the spark to be creative.
What is your most prized possession?
My sense of humor. Without that I’d be lost…and depressed!
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Good friends with sane minds. I need to poll the world at times when formulating a decision, or facing a dilemma.
Who are your style icons?
Valentino, Zaha Hadid, Jacques Grange, Piranesi, Santiago Calatrava, Renzo Mogiardino, John Galliano; I could go on and on.
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
What is your favorite luxury in life?
Food. Even though I am super lean, I love to eat, the richer the food the better. And I eat a lot.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Traveling to an inspiring locale with good friends.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
My long time client Mike Bloomberg is smart, kind and enthusiastic. His influence in leading a life that benefits others is the mold I aspire to everyday.
Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Nostradamus, as 2012 approaches I’d like to know did he really write any of what is attributed to him. We would spend the day talking over a table groaning with good food and drink.
Profile by Ronda Carman