James Swan

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A Decorating System to Ease Your Pain

Anthony Hail on Million Dollar Decorating

Wouldn’t it be great if someone created a decorating system that helped you get beautiful results in your own home?

I was recently informed by a neighbor that she is considering giving up her subscriptions to such loved monthly magazines as Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, The World of Interiors and Traditional Home.  When asked why she stated that she’s tired of feeling discouraged after reading through each new issue.  “What once was aspirational is now just discouraging” she said with a frown.  I invited her in and we sat and chatted over a cup of tea. I learned a great deal from that conversation and so did my neighbor.  In fact something new and exciting has come from that conversation…but more on that later.

What fascinated me about the conversation were the three categories into which most of her comments and observations seemed to fit.

  1. Where to Start? When propelled by her desires to create a home that was worthy of the publications to which she subscribed; her first stumbling block was a general blank stare about where to start?  “What is the first step in creating a well-designed interior” followed quickly by “and what’s the second, third and fourth”?
  2. Who Will Help? Obvious to anyone looking to accomplish work in their home is the reality that “it takes a village”.  Simple things like upholstery and carpentry will, for most, necessitate outside help.  Plumbers, electricians, painters, artisans and contractors all will need to be found and then managed. A brave homeowner may venture into some areas populated by trained trades-people but the smart ones don’t.  They find good help and use it wisely.
  3. Where Do the Ideas Come From? While design is a business, there is a strong creative element to its integration into the world.  This is much like asking a painter or sculpture where the idea for their latest creative work came from.  Inspiration comes from many sources and if you’re paying attention anyone can be inspired.  Much like computers; you get out of them what you put in.

It seemed to us both, as we sipped the last of our tea, that if there were others who felt as my neighbor did then there might be an opportunity to deliver exciting, actionable information to this group and by so doing make their DIY Home Decorating projects vastly more successful.  It seemed to us someone needed to create a decorating system that would:

  1. Help homeowners discover what they really want to accomplish in their home
  2. Share the secret strategies of project planning that set projects that succeed apart from those that fail
  3. Teach steps to expand creativity and add to the uniqueness of your home
  4. Divulge insider secrets for finding the best craftsmen and then teaching you how to get them to work for you
  5. Show you how to project manage the entire process from your kitchen table in less than 1 hour per day.

In the comments section below leave me a note saying “YES”  if you think a decorating system like this might be helpful to you and people just like you?

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About the author, James

With the launch of the new podcast, Million Dollar Decorating, James Swan adds media-host to his career accomplishments. The interview-based show becomes the first daily podcast devoted to the worlds of design, decorating and beautiful living and features interviews with the world’s leading designers, decorators, architects and artisans. Life-style leaders like Robert Couturier, Sandra Nunnerly, Vicente Wolf and Timothy Corrigan populate the podcast where unguarded conversations reveal behind-the-scenes sources of inspiration, resources and stories that inspire and motivate.
James Swan has built a career crafting classically influenced interiors across the United States. Swan has been featured in House & Garden, House Beautiful, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune and wrote for the “Trends & Shopping” column in House & Garden magazine. His book “101 Things I Hate About Your House” won a 2011 American Bookseller’s Award.
Television appearances on HGTV’s “Homes Across America,” speaking engagements with the professional design industry association NEOCON, regular guest spots on national radio programs have consistently placed Swan in the media spotlight.
Swan’s career took off back in Northern California at a noted San Francisco architecture firm, where he managed residential interiors. After that, Los Angeles beckoned, specifically the prestigious design firm of Frank K. Pennino & Associates, where as senior designer he managed high-profile projects, and earned a reputation for refined classical design that succinctly reflected his clients’ lives. In 1999, Swan opened his own firm in Beverly Hills.
Swan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology and music from Southwestern College in Waxahachie, Texas, and studied in Arizona State University's Architecture and Design master's degree program.
Swan is a past member of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, serving on its Executive Board of Directors. His other commitments include PAWS/LA, which assists with the care of pets for people living with disabilities, and KidSmart, an art education foundation for inner-city youth. In his free time, Swan may be found furthering his passion for skiing and traveling. Currently he lives and works from his home on the Maine coast.