James Swan

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The Voices in My Head


I get it. I’m human and riddled with all the things that make humans what we are. I’ve had incredible highs and desperate lows. I’ve succeeded marvelously and failed in even greater ways. I’ve been there for friends and I’ve let friends down. I’ve said the right thing and turned around and put my foot in my mouth. I’ve helped those less fortunate and I’ve set fire to bridges that can’t be repaired. I’ve laughed, loved and loss and most likely will do so a few more dozen times while I’m on this earth. And so it is being a human.

Today is a day when the voices in my head tell me that I’m a fraud and that my failings out-weigh any good I might bring into the world. I know the voices well as they’ve been with me my whole life and I know that, like the ocean’s tide, they will rise and fall, come and go and that tomorrow will feel much better for their absence. But for now….I do my best to ignore their accusations and look forward to hearing less of their pitched cries as the day goes along.

You might be having a similar day. If you are, know you’re not alone and that this too shall pass.

The orchid resting on my desk helps. It reminds me how important it is to surround myself with beauty. Contemplating the simple elegance of this plant connects me with nature and with the entire planet. I’m reminded that while I am part of the whole I am also remarkably unique. And so are you. So despite the voices telling us we can’t; let’s do some remarkable things today, shall we?


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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.