Design 5 Swoon Worthy Things:

Jake Arnold Is Just Like His Design Style: Classic, Layered, and Understated

Words by Sacha Strebe.

Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford
Simon Upton
Simon Upton

I distinctly recall the first time I laid eyes on Jake Arnold’s design work. It was during my tenure as editorial director for MyDomaine when a colleague shared an Instagram post of our then CEO, Katherine Power’s newly decorated Spanish-Colonial home. The Arnold signatures were all there: moody tones, touchable textures, European charm, and a wabi-sabi approach (Think Axel Vervoordt vibes). Unsurprisingly, his work has continued to garner attention with major publications and celebrities from Julianne Hough to Chrissy Teigan and Sophia Bush who all want their homes to have the Arnold touch—and it’s easy to see why. 

But his recent success has been 10 years in the making. While he initially studied business and economics, Arnold always knew design was in his future, he just didn’t know how to make it a career. Despite zero training but a whole lot of passion, Arnold decided to tweet LA design firm, Woodson & Rummerfield’s on a whim—they replied, and shortly after he landed his first internship. He worked across a few different firms before eventually starting his own business, and he’s never looked back. Now, Arnold is an AD100 2022 honoree, and co-founder of The Expert—a platform for 1:1 video consultations with leading interior designers (of which Goop CEO, Gwyneth Paltrow is an investor).

Inspired? Same. We couldn’t think of a more fitting designer to re-launch our 5 Swoonworthy Things series. So without further ado, keep reading to learn more about Jake Arnold, his passions, role models, and top five favorite things right now. 

Justin Coit
Justin Coit

NAME: Jake Arnold

PROFESSION: Founder and Principal, Studio Jake Arnold; Co-Founder, The Expert

HOME BASE: West Hollywood, CA

INSTAGRAM: @jakearnold

WEBSITE: jakearnold.com 

BRIEFLY, HOW YOU CAME TO DO WHAT YOU DO: Ever since I was a kid I was always rearranging the furniture in my room and playing with various layouts. Growing up in London, I was surrounded by historic architecture and moody interiors. My upbringing there naturally drew me into design but the dream was to do it in LA. Almost 10 years ago on a whim I tweeted at a firm and landed my first internship in LA. I worked at a few design firms and learned the business and began to get clients on my own. Over the past 10 years of living in LA, I have really created and fostered my own community here with amazing clients and friends. The referrals continue to come and I am always grateful! 

WHAT YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB: One of my favorite parts of the job is the reveal. We work so hard on these homes and being able to showcase the finished product to the client and seeing their reaction is really what it’s all about. Creating a space for their family to enjoy and for them to create memories in. Another favorite is really just being creative and diving into the projects. I love that every day I get to work on amazing homes that now span all over the country.  We are working on a couple of historic homes in LA and to be able to work with a house that already has amazing bones in this city is rare. Studying the house really takes me to another place creatively and reminds me of being back in London. 

Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford
Jake Arnold Is Just Like His Design Style: Classic, Layered, and Understated

WHAT YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT YOUR JOB: Hard to say, but probably timelines. The design process and designing a house takes years! The waiting game can be challenging and making sure that decisions I make now will stand the test of time years later when they are complete. 

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY: I always approach a room with how I envision my clients interacting with and utilizing a space. What is the mood we are creating? How do they want to feel in this room? Creating an atmosphere and vibe is crucial to the design process and my approach. I also always allow the architecture to dictate the design. First and foremost when doing ground-up builds or remodels, it’s always about adding character to the bones of the house or maintaining existing bones where and when necessary. This is the most important part of the design process for me. Furniture comes in after and we either continue in a similar vernacular to the architecture or play with juxtaposition depending on the client’s taste and desires.

YOUR AESTHETIC IN 3 WORDS: Classic, Layered, Understated 

WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK MOST AND WHY? I would say my work is mainly inspired by a combination of my London roots in terms of architectural preservation and details combined with how my clients actually live in LA, and what their lifestyle is like.

Simon Upton
Simon Upton
Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford

I’M ENDLESSLY OBSESSED WITH____ BECAUSE: The Swiss sculptor, Alberto Giacometti. I’m loving iron details right now. I just bought a Giacometti-inspired coffee table for my home and I love pairing it in a more relaxed, casual setting. 

DESIGN TREND YOU LOVE? Colored glass light fixtures. I keep seeing more and more popping up and I am here for them! 

ONE YOU WISH WOULD GO AWAY? I don’t wish it away, but I am finding myself more and more attracted to rich, layered rooms. I guess I’m not gravitating toward a minimalist approach to furnishings right now, but still, for the right space, sometimes it’s necessary! Or bouclé— let’s find a new textured fabric everyone! 

COLOR OR NEUTRAL? EXPLAIN. Both! Most of the spaces we are designing right now play with a lot of colors, but to me, the spaces still feel neutral. I don’t love to do just a pop of color. I like utilizing color in a space that is integrated throughout a room in solid fabrics, prints, and wall colors. I like when a space feels tonal, even if color is used. Rusts, sage greens, dusty blue, browns and camels are all great ways to use color but still keep it neutral. 

WE WILL NEVER SEE _____ IN YOUR HOME: Jeanneret chairs. We’ve been there and done that, let’s move on. 🙂 

HOW AND WHERE YOU SHOP: There is nothing like seeing objects and pieces in person. We spend a lot of time behind the computer but when we give ourselves time to drive around LA and see things in person, it’s always worth the trip. If we aren’t going to local stores in LA, we are on 1stDibs or Incollect, and Chairish looking for vintage items. Some favorite LA stores are NFS, Lief, Obsolete, Rewire, and Counter Space, but we honestly love them all. 

WHO ARE YOUR DESIGN ICONS?

Jake's 5 Things

The perfect way to add texture and pattern to your space, and a bit more interesting than a jute.

I like the red and the green.

Do I need to explain? Timeless beauty.

Texture in a tonal hue.

Didn't I mention I'm obsessed with iron right now?

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