Jake Arnold was destined to become an interior designer. Arnold grew up in England and constantly rearranged the furniture. “When I was a kid, I always changed rooms,” Arnold said. “I was preoccupy with people’s houses.”
This obsession has paid off and Arnold is now working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. From John Legend to Chrissy Teigen to Zendaya, Arnold has brought his Design touch to truly awesome homes.
Beyond his work as a leading interior designer, Arnold co-founded the Expert, a digital design platform that allows individuals to consult virtually with the best designers in the world. Arnold has also worked with brands such as Parachute, Lulu & Georgia and Crate & Barrel. In September, Arnold will also publish his first book, redefining Comfort.
In the latest episode of Who What Wear with Hillary Kerr, Arnold tells how he started without formal education, his best design tips and much more. For excerpts from their conversation, scroll below.
Can we talk a little bit about how you got to this current peak?
I basically moved from England to L.A. in 2012. Before, I always wanted to get into Design. It was always in my blood. As a child, I always changed rooms. I was preoccupy with people’s houses. My mom always said every time we came back from a friend’s house [that] I would move my room because I would be inspired.
I studied Economics at the University. [But] it just wasn’t something that I always wanted to do, but it was also very good for me, because I learned that 99.9% of the work is a business.
Everyone will tell you that if they are a Designer, just having a good eye is such a requirement, and in fact everything else, you learn almost at work. I really threw myself into it without any formal training. I think because it’s always been a passion of mine, I’ve spent so much time tinkering and learning and making mistakes all the time. It was a work in progress.
I always say that in the past I have people who have worked on my team who have had so much formal training, and I don’t necessarily think that leads to the most successful version of being in this company, because it just takes a lot more than technical details.
I hope you can guide me through this creative and aesthetic journey and how long it took you to understand what you really liked, what was your sensitivity to the Design and how to make sure it is coherent.
At first, you say yes to everything. You bite your tongue and keep it moving. When I started, I had worked for other people. It was at a time when I didn’t think Instagram and social media were as common as they are today. I was able to discover what attracted me and what I liked.
Growing up in England, where everything is rooted in Tradition and where everything has a purpose, meaning and context, then coming to Los Angeles, where you can build and do whatever you want — that’s why I’m so attracted to coming here. You could really express your creativity on a personal level.
Due to the context here, you can do whatever you want. The landscape allows you to have an English Tudor next to a Spanish Revival house. It’s really all over the map.
I think in the beginning, when I started, I was always attracted to darker, layered and comfortable spaces because I grew up with it. Everyone here at the time was doing beach, and everything was sapphires – that kind of Californian beach atmosphere at the time. I painted people’s rooms black. I think a big part of that was peril-taking. But I was also very lucky to have met people along the way who inspired me and expanded my horizons.
Two of my very first clients – one was Julianne Hough and the other was Katherine Powers-really changed my style. I think it is simply important to be very open on the path while you are perfecting your profession, to be inspired and to let yourself be developed by others.