This evening I attended a lecture given by the talented and O.T.T. (over the top - coined from Jamie himself!) designer Jamie Drake at the Corcoran Museum here in DC. He was just as personable and funny as one would hope he would be. His personality matched his fun and imaginative work! He broke his lecture down into the components of design he focuses on in his book with many of the same images. I love his book, it's very well written, so it was a treat to have him talk about it. I'll go through some of these topics with examples of his own apartment (which he is in the process of moving from at this very moment as he sold it! another apartment, another design!).
COLOR: He has been inspired by art since early childhood (his mother is an artist) and has always loved the work of Gene Davis (as do I!) which is featured prominently in his entryway. The color seen in this room was taken directly from the paintings. Another fun use of color is the powder room off the entry. He had a decorative artist do the blocks of color (same size as the tile!) in the colors of the Davis paintings. It really brings interest to a rather basic room.CURVE: By this he means repitition of forms; in this case the circle. In his living & dining room the same curved elements show up in many forms: candles, the bookcase, chairs, chandeliers and most prominently in the artwork above the couch.Purple seems to be a color threaded throughout most of his work. However, when asked what his favorite color was, he responded "I don't have a favorite color, which of your children is your favorite?". Always witty ;-)TEXTURE: The use of texture is seen most readily in his guest bedroom, pictured below. The walls are a form of venetian plaster he invented to look like pieces of leather or parchment. I love the turquoise accents! He likes to make heirlooms work - the dated looking nightstands were his grandmothers.The mirror above the bed was his first major purchase at the age of 21 at the Paris Fleamarkets (I'll be there soon enough, I'm counting the days!). He mentioned that the piece had a lot of sentimental value for that reason but that he sold it with the apartment! His answer to that? 'Oh well, buh-bye'!LUSTER & THE MIX: These were the last two subjects and I think you can see evidence of them in each and every picture. He definitely goes for an instinctual, eclectic mix of objects and it all works! Luster is evident in not only the walll and floor finishes, but in the highly polished furniture and lots of glass, crystal and mirror. Notice the glass and crystal lamps featured in many of his rooms -including the master bedroom above. He said he never thought he would be a person with a yellow bedroom; I just wonder what he thinks of people with yellow bedrooms then! He's adventurous with color and loves to experiment.These last pictures are not his own apartment but I loved them so much I had to post them. He seems to like to pick 2 colors and use a neutral or 'structural' color in between. Here the colors in this living room would be shades of peacock blue and chartruese with a structure of black & white. Notice the textured finish to the walls (and the pillows). Luster is provided by the coffee table. The tall scale of the lamps is unexpected but works so well! I want to live here!Another room I loved was done for a show apartment in a complex that he modeled on Grace Kelly (a former resident; her father's companies bricks were used in the building's construction). This dining room again features 2 strong colors; green & turquoise. The eclectic mix of furniture and art is a trademark of his.

A wise bit of advise Jamie gave and I couldn't agree more, is that 'rooms should be colored to match their sensibilites'. In other words, a room which recieves little light should be painted a bold color - no amount of white paint will make that room bright! In the same way, very bright rooms should receive pale colors. No wonder why he has been proclaimed the 'king of color'! He mentioned this but quipped "then where's my crown!". If you haven't read it yet, please check out his fascinating book, 'New American Glamour'.

Pictures courtesy of the New York Social Diary house tour of his apartment.

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