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The Last Word With Jamie Drake

Clients from Madonna to Michael Bloomberg love his signature style.

Jamie Drake

Jamie, you’re famous for your fearless use of color. Do you have any rules of thumb?
I usually prefer one dominant color, one secondary color and often a third color thrown in for spice. There could be too many colors in a room if they’re not applied with a painterly eye.

You somehow harness color to create a sense of movement in a room. What’s your technique?
The technique is to use shots of color in an otherwise more neutral room. I like to disperse the selected shade throughout a space, so the eye moves from larger items (curtains, chairs) to midsize (pillows, lampshades) down to small (tabletop accessories, a single flower). Also, I often
paint the ceiling a pale, pastel shade of the color to bring the eye up.

Free-form seating abounds in Jamie Drake’s model residence for One57.

It would be unfair to ask you to name your favorite color. So let’s broaden the question: What are some of your favorite colors right now?
I’m loving the cooler, steelier tones—charcoal, gypsum, platinum, zinc—with accents of clear, light (but not pastel) oranges, aquas and purples.

You’ve said that a touch of the unexpected can help make rooms special. What are some examples?
Essential to every home are items, colors, patterns or mementos that tell the story of the inhabitants. Always start with something you love or that excites you to the depths of your soul. Whether it’s an artwork or a piece of furniture, something dynamic and fantastic will be the beginning of a wonderful room.

What inspires your designs?
I find enormous inspiration in going to art, design and antique fairs. But really, inspiration is everywhere. Films, travel, fashion and magazines all provide me with the spark to be creative.

In the sitting room of a Tribecca home, Drake creates a major statement with bold artwork, strong color and a bravura rug.

You helped create the renewed interest in Midcentury Modern, and it’s going strong. Has the trend peaked yet?
I can’t say if the trend has peaked, but I believe that refined, contemporary interiors and furnishings with a nod to the past will always be timeless.

How has your style evolved since the close of the 20th century?
I’m much freer today in the way I mix things, both in the sense of eclecticism and in the colors I use.

As the world barrels forward toward the year 2020, what’s your point of view about traditional design?
It will always have a place in the design world. Traditional elements emphasize a luxurious design while keeping it grounded and sophisticated, yet livable.

Nature inspired his rug collection for Safavieh, including, here, the Tiger Den rug.

Tell us about your rug collection for Safavieh: What were you hoping to accomplish?
My collection was designed to evoke nature. The rugs include styles inspired by natural weaving techniques (Cane), neo-classical design (Leaf Stripe) and a Cambodian vacation (Temple Garden). There’s even an update of a classic animal skin (Tiger Den).

You seem to have very broad tastes. What do you collect?
I collect memories! I also collect contemporary art.

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