Expert Ease: Designer Jamie Drake

Drake Design Associates
DRAKE’S DIGS: A plum ottoman floats asymmetrically in the informal section of the great room in Drake his home, tying in with the cocktail area’s accents beyond. Two citrine-colored chairs, which add a touch of brightness, face a cantaloupe toned, mohair velvet-covered swivel chair from the ‘70s. Strong notes of black, charcoal and white add structure to the concrete-gray background.

Jamie Drake-1Whether it’s the saturated shades he made “au courant” years ago, or the strong accents he employs in today’s quieter schemes, perhaps no interior designer enjoys color as much as Jamie Drake. As he says, “Color is like adding spices to a recipe, wit to a conversation, or hearing a birdcall in the forest. Whether applied in wide swaths or small dollops, color ignites a spark, evokes feelings, creates emotional responses and can conjure memories.”

With that in mind, we asked Drake for some insight into how he and his partner Caleb Anderson work with their team at Drake/Anderson to produce some of the most livable, color right interiors in the world.

First, he suggests to start with the purpose of the room. “Quiet, gentle tones or darker colors are often conducive to sleep and rest in the bedroom,” Drake explains. “Brights – think of the enduring favorite, red – can enhance the appetite, making them a favorite for dining rooms. Dramatic, aggressive ones are best in areas we don’t spend a huge amount of time in, a foyer or powder room.”

Some might think, if a style is defined, only hues from that era should be employed. Quite the opposite. Drake asks, “Does anyone want to live in a period setting?” He prefers mixing it up: 18th century furniture clad in 1970s pop shades, for example.

A Drake signature is his colorful approach to baseboards, door and window frames. Nearly anywhere besides walls. He emphasizes that the ceiling offers a great opportunity to energize a room. “If your accents are red,” he states, “why not put a soft coral on the ceiling.” A new palette he favors is celadon walls, dark chocolate trim, taupe doors and a glossy robin’s egg blue or saffron ceiling. Super chic.

ACCORDING TO DRAKE: A large amount of color isn’t for everyone. For them, a small dose, cleverly employed, is the way to go. Below: Drake/Anderson’s curated goods.

LEFT: Holly Hunt Lens Table. Turquoise top, nickel base. RIGHT: Handblown Czech glass captures the light in this sconce designed by the master of color himself, Jamie Drake, for Boyd Lighting. 7″w x 18.25″h
LEFT: Lorin Marsh Red Cloud Credenza. Red goatskin, four doors, two adjustable shelves with Flor Morado wood, and bronze detailed legs and door pulls. 84″l x 22″w x 34″h RIGHT: Dennis Miller Associates Marjorie Mirror. Semiprecious veneer mirror frame. 1″ bevel. Shown in Malachite. 30″w x 42″h with a 4″ border
LEFT: Lorin Marsh Dark blue orchid and cream lacquer box with nickel silver inlay and inlaid with Indigo Gabro semi-precious stone with brass. 14″l x 8″w x 3.5″h RIGHT: Theodore Alexander Fresh Chair. 33″w x 35″d x 34″h

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