The Multi-Faceted, Ingenious Style of Interior Designer John McClain
John McClain is an accomplished celebrity interior designer with offices in both Los Angeles and Florida, his own successful furniture line and a noteworthy reel of speaking, writing and on-air credits. With degrees in both business and interior design, John takes a smart, decisive and passionate approach to how he manages clients, staff, production and the process in general.
Aesthetically, John McClain has range. From the luxe sophistication of Hollywood Regency & Art Deco to the simplicity of mid-century modern design elements, he fuses these diverse styles into one with a uniquely fresh and current elegance.
Perhaps you’ve watched him on HGTV... Seen an appearance on KTLA... Or noted his design awards or media credits... Read on to learn more about John McClain.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
For so many years I had trouble defining my aesthetic and style. There was no label that defined the designs I was inherently producing. So now here is my explanation: my design is a mixture of Mid- Century-Modern, Art Deco, Hollywood Regency, and a bit of Traditional all rolled into one. Mid-Deco-Trad-Regency Maybe?! I loathe the word eclectic: I just sounds too simplistic and hap-hazard, and I’m definitely not that. In all seriousness, the best part about my method of designing is that I feel it keeps my spaces interesting. The eye should travel around the room and find all sorts of exciting and interesting moments. By blending all of these styles together not only does my design style feel fresh, but it also has a sense of nostalgia by bringing in these very different aesthetics from the past.
How did you get started in the business?
My family were home builders and I would always tag along to watch them work on homes. I was so intrigued by the process and learned so much from this time in my life. Soon thereafter I began remodeling and renovating my own homes and my big break came with a television show on HGTV centering around new hobbyist designers. As a matter of fact, the show was called “First Time Design.” Soon after the show aired I started receiving phone calls from homeowners all across the country from New York to LA. I then realized that what I felt was a hobby, could actually be a career. I then went back to school to obtain my degree in interior design, continue to work on small projects for clients, and eventually move to LA to work for a very busy firm here. In 2012, I decided to start my own firm officially and I haven't looked back since! I now have offices in both Florida and Los Angeles along with my own furniture collection.
From where or what sources do you derive creative inspiration?
It sounds cliché but my inspiration comes from everywhere! It's almost as if I cannot turn that sensory mode off in my brain. Even now, at this very moment, I am looking at the dark brown cork board on the wall across from my desk thinking how beautiful the Brown tones are inside of it and how it would make a beautiful tabletop pattern. So yes, I find inspiration everywhere, but of course sometimes I have inspiration block. To rejuvenate my senses for creativity, I turned to traveling! I can instantly pull images ingrained in my mind from trips to Italy, Thailand, Paris, and even from the Florida Keys. For my furniture line I love to draw inspiration from beautiful jewelry. The detail and craftsmanship that goes into fine jewelry is a work of art. I like to deconstruct the pieces in my mind’s eye and reconstruct them as a piece of home furnishings.
If you could reside on a Hollywood film set from any era, what would it be and why?
This is easy! The 1950s. This era had a beautiful refined look and feel to it. I loved that families had dinner together, I love that everyone cared about their appearances- even if just going to the grocery store. There was also a great sense of discovery during this time with advancements in technology- especially in the home. I would be that wide eyed, energetic kid running around exploring my neighborhood in my shorts, cardigan, bow tie and loafers.
What takes a kitchen or bath from ordinary to extraordinary?
This really starts with listening to your clients. I truly value the intake portion of my design process. Sometimes, a client might not be able to relay exactly what they're looking for but I feel one of my superpowers is interpreting their wishes. From there, I let my mind wander. I bring in elements that might not be typical for a kitchen or bath; such as cabinetry that has the feeling of furniture, or perhaps using an unexpected material as a backsplash, or even losing upper cabinetry and installing only backsplash material from countertop to ceiling. My point is this: I do not restrict myself to the normal constraints of kitchen or bath design, but bring in luxury elements that the client will value. As a side note: luxury does not always mean expensive, it simply means honing in on the most important aspects that will give that client a huge smile when they see that space. Luxury is a very personal emotion.