Jake Arnold is one of a kind. So much so, that we are launching our very first Designer Spotlight series with this gem of a human. If you have seen his work, like the magic he created at Katherine Power‘s home and Ashley Tisdale‘s home, you know exactly what we’re talking about. His designs are stunning, his business is booming and he’s got some knowledge to share — and quite frankly, we think you should listen to his advice. We’ve been huge fans of Jake’s work for years, he has become a dear friend and we are honored to share his story on here on All Sorts Of. Enjoy and drool over all of Jake’s incredible work!
Tell us about your journey as a designer. Give us the real-talk, ups-and-downs, tough stuff on what it was like to get started.
I grew up with my mom being an interior designer and have always been obsessed with design since I can remember. I’m originally from the UK, so coming over to Los Angeles to establish myself was a challenge in itself. After working with some amazing talent, I began to gain experience and exposure to the business, where I taught myself everything on the job. I asked questions to every contractor, vendor and poor soul who would listen to me. Having good taste, in my opinion, is a prerequisite to being a designer, but shouldn’t be relied upon as this is where a designer and someone with good taste are separated. Making mistakes has been my middle name when I got started, (still not immune as any designer will tell you) dealing with clients, budgets, timelines, expectations, custom work can have its down moments where I questioned my abilities many times. It is really challenging when your intention is to always please and make people happy because I found its nearly impossible.
When I got started I did not anticipate the client and designer dynamic and realize how important it is to work with people that you really have a good rapport with. It is a relationship that goes beyond just design and being in sync is critical. I have been so fortunate to work with amazing clients, but of course, we all have our experiences that can question your strength and belief in yourself. Working in Los Angeles and now projects on the east coast have exposed me to some incredible people who enriched my life. I have realized that the business is full of mishaps and they are unavoidable despite experience and time, because it’s the nature of the beast. But I have become comfortable with it and don’t let it define me or my work because at the end of the day, I make it happen and deliver.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started, but is feeling stuck?
Be honest with yourself. Is this a light passion/hobby or something you want to take seriously? Because it is not a job for someone who isn’t sure what career to take. It requires passion, persistence and hard work. I can not tell you the countless encounters I’ve had where I ask someone who is interested in interiors why they want to be a designer and they say, ‘I like this stuff, it seems fun to me.’ Being a designer is not a 9-5 job. It’s a lifestyle. You have to live and breathe it and understand and respect its history. I am self-taught, so I urge people who want to get started really dive-in and read, research and get inspired and learn construction where possible. Most importantly, believe in yourself and have confidence because no one else will do that for you.
What are the biggest professional challenges you currently face and how do you overcome them?
Building a team is the hardest part, as well as delegating, and not feeling spread too thin is always a challenge. I want to produce incredible work and quality, so having a team that supports me is always tough, because it is something that takes time to foster and grow. Scaling in the interior design world is tricky, but I’ve realized growing pains are not negative, they are just the reality and signs of success.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired literally by everything. Design is a lifestyle like I said, it could be the rim of a glass to an experience that I enjoyed. Design is so experiential to me and all about emotions and feelings. When I design, I like to ask clients how they want to feel in their house and what mood they want to set, because this inspires where I pull my direction from….. and obviously everything in Italy.
How would you describe your style?
Least favorite question for every designer as I like to mix it up but, Classic European meets California chill.
What’s on the horizon for you (professionally and personally)?
This year is really exciting for me as I have finally got to a place where I love all the projects I’m working on, hoping for way more published work, collaborations with some cool brands and developing a furniture line. Personally, just living my best life and possibly wedding bells….. just kidding.
Work-life balance? How do you do it?
Meditation and tons of spiritual work…..
What’s a typical day like for you at home?
Meditate, light every candle in sight, drink coffee and read design magazines.
What are the 5 things every designer should always have handy?
Tape measure, Farrow and Ball paint deck, mini wood samples and an iPad.
What are the 5 things you can’t live without right now?
My Swell bottle, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, candles, Shani Darden’s skincare and palo santo.