JAMIE DRAKE, FASID: Exacting Forward-Thinker
Jamie Drake is one of the best-known and most
lauded interior designers in the United States,
with a style that is both classic and cutting-edge.
His firm, Drake Design Associates, is known for its
residential work and show houses. In recent years,
however, he and his colleagues have been asked to
design a number of model apartments for high-end
developments—with Drake’s name prominently displayed as a lure for buyers.
His nearly 40-year career began with a stroke of
good luck. Drake earned his degree from Parsons
School of Design, during which he interned for the
famous designer Angelo Donghia. A pioneering figure who followed the model of fashion designers in
licensing his name to products and branching out
into textile and furniture design, Donghia became,
no doubt, a role model who influenced Drake. “He
was at the height of his career and his fame, so it
was an incredible honor,” Drake recalls. But his big
break came through a school friend: “Two days after
graduating from college, a friend of mine contacted
Through May 1, 2016
at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
401 F Street NW • Washington, DC 20001 • www.nbm.org
Jamie Drake, FASID
me saying her boyfriend and his father were taking
new apartments in the same 5th Avenue building
and asked if I wanted to design them. Thirty-seven
years later, here I am!” he exclaims.
Drake Design Associates has designed dozens of
residences, model units, show houses, and commercial
spaces, both across the country and around the world.
Global, yes; but the firm’s home base and the bulk of
its work is in New York City, where Drake has established himself as one of the city’s premier designers
with an elite clientele. “Clients today expect custom-ization, homes that are tailored to their exact needs.
Rooms furnished with pieces that were designed to
look right and work right, just for them,” he says.
For the model apartments he designs for developers to sell to potential buyers, Drake must channel
more universal desires. “The design of model apartments needs to appeal to a broad array of prospective
buyers, something gender-neutral. I welcome color,
but don’t want people to be overwhelmed by it. The
design is all about emphasizing the space, the architecture, its features, and the views,” he notes.
This respectful, architectural approach also