James Swan

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The Launch of The Enthusiasts Guide to Home Decorating

Lee Radziwill on Million Dollar Decorating

Welcome to The Enthusiasts Guide to Home Decorating.

Have you ever looked through your latest copy of a favorite home design and decorating magazine and found yourself frustrated? As hard as you work to create a beautiful home your rooms never quite measure up to those on the glossy pages in front of you.  You spend hours poring over each page; taking note of new color possibilities, a chair or sofa you can’t live without and a curtain fabric that would be perfect. And yet after all that time, energy and money invested you step back and something is just not right.  Something is missing and you feel defeated.

Some will tell you this is the time to hire a design professional and for some that’s just what you should do.  But for others who are truly enthusiastic about working on their own home that’s not an option.  This is an act of creation they want to be deeply involved in. The beautiful home of which they’ve always dreamed is something they want to make happen and they’re determined to see the project through to its last beautiful detail.   If only they could tap into some of the knowledge and experience of a professional designer and then apply that knowledge in their own home in a systematic manner. Then they would get the results they’ve only wished for.  Then they would have the home filled with beautiful rooms that they’ve designed and decorated and of which they are rightfully proud.

The Enthusiasts Guide to Home Decorating is both a guide book and training series created for the many who want to design and decorate their own home.  It’s not fancy or complicated but it does deliver a fail-safe system for home decorating that draws on the best the professional world has to offer.   For if you speak with or look at the work accomplished by every professional design firm in the country you’ll discover a simple truth; they have a system they follow meticulously that leads them from beginning to end, from start to finish from empty shell to dazzling, photo ready room.

So let’s lay the groundwork by offering a few definitions and one disclaimer.

By definition, what is Interior Design and what is Interior Decoration?

“Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.” (NCIDQ)

Here’s the disclaimer: No matter how enthusiastic you are about studying and mastering the technics you’ll find in the guide this will not prepare you for a professional career in design.  That’s neither the intention nor the goal.

What is the intention and goal is to provide individuals with a system that is easy to understand and implement that can help elevate the beauty of your home in a way that makes you proud of your efforts and of the environment you’ve created for your friends and family.  If this stirs interest in a profession in the industry there are many schools to which I would direct you but do not rely on this guidebook.

So if you qualify as an Enthusiast (a person who is highly interested in a particular activity or subject) and you want your home to be as beautiful as possible through your own efforts then this little guidebook is just what the doctor ordered.

Tomorrow I’ll outline my 5 step system for creating more beauty in your home.

Don’t miss today’s interview with San Francisco designer  Kendall Wilkinson

Kendall Wilkinson on Million Dollar Decorating

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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.