James Swan is an award winning interior designer from across the pond in the US. He has been working in interior design for over 18 years and crafts beautifully classic interiors. I was thrilled when James agreed to an interview with me.
What is your design signature/style?
My design signature is my ability to craft unique interiors for clients; interiors that reflect their personalities, passions and preferences not my own. To accomplish this I must have a full understanding of my client; their dreams, desires and fears. Couple this with clear knowledge of the architecture in which we will be working and I’m ready to create something singular and unique.
What type of people do you love to work with as clients?
I enjoy working with strong, knowledgeable clients; people with opinions they are not timid about sharing. Balance this with a desire to learn and I’ve got my ideal client.
Can you tell us about a particularly exciting/challenging project?
Every project has its challenges. At times the challenge comes in the form of time constraints. We were once asked to create a fully decorated interior (the architectural shell was intact) for an 8000 square foot home in just under 4 months. With few financial constraints this became feasible, but I did have a few sleepless nights making certain every detail had been thought through.
Other times we’ve had the opposite challenge. A constrained budget but high aesthetic aspirations. Only by taking our time, piggy-backing shopping excursions with other projects and involving the client in much of the legwork were we able to succeed.
At the end of the day overcoming challenges is part of this business. If you’re looking for a ‘challenge-free’ profession; this may not be the right fit for you.
Does your home reflect your professional style?
Currently I’m renting a garret apartment in a historically significant home in a village on the coast of Maine. I’m negotiating for the purchase of a Greek Revival structure dating from 1860 that needs a bit of work. Until the deal can be finalized and work commence I’m tucked neatly under the eaves in a very romantic sort of way. I have a smattering of antiques with me, some comfortable upholstery and most importantly lots of my books. If I have my books with me I can feel at home most anywhere. It’s a very comfortable, temporary situation.
Which designers do you currently have your eye on?
I was just this morning telling a friend that I’m enjoying studying the design work of Studio Peragalli. Each time I look at their work I feel I’m attending a Master Class in the high art of design and decoration. I can’t get enough of their work.
What’s next for your business/brand?
In January 2016 I will launch a new endeavor; a daily podcast focused on design, decoration and beautiful living which is called Million Dollar Decorating. I’ll be interviewing today’s leading designers, decorators, architects and style setters and hopefully get a glimpse at the creative process that fuels their work. The website will go live just before Christmas and the first podcast will air in January. I’m very excited about this new avenue that allows me to share the creative and transformative power of good design.
If someone reading this was about to begin their own home redesign project, what would be your best advice to them?
For someone launching their own design and decorating project I would say to plan, plan and plan again. The more you invest in the planning stage (scale drawings and furniture layouts, product research, lining up vendors and craftsmen…etc.) the more you will save in the long run.
And for additional inspiration catch the new podcast Million Dollar Decorating coming in January!
You can contact James through his website James Swan Interior Design.