Interior Designer, James Blakeley III, ASID, may live a prominent and lavish lifestyle with roots that reach into Hollywood’s high society, but he is certainly not a stranger to a day’s hard work.
Blakeley was first introduced into the design world by a friend of the family, the late American design icon Tony Duquette. From there his intense passion for architecture and creative design grew into a prominent career. Fast forward to the present, and Blakeley’s resume has notable names such as Keifer Sutherland, Tom Selleck and Paramount Studios listed as clients, to name only a few.
Blakeley has carved out such an astounding career for himself, so we thought it would be fun to follow him around for a day and see what it was really like in his shoes. All of you budding interior designers take note—this talented designer works hard (very hard) and devotes a large portion of his day to his success.
Here is what a typical day looks like for Interior Designer to the Stars, James Blakeley:
Blakeley does allow himself a few precious morning moments to greet the day in the proper way.
” I usually like to read the morning paper first and have breakfast with tea. Then I meditate. I don’t use this time to waste with worry. I am always pushing myself throughout the day, and I try new things with every client.”
Blakeley is proud that even after all these years, he is able to keep his designs fresh and fun. Perhaps that morning mediation allows him the calm Zen that is required in the high-stress design world?
At this time Blakeley is ready to greet clients.
“ I find it easy to handle 2-3 jobs at one time, since they are always in different stages.”
Blakeley has a process that he undergoes with each new client:
“I first meet with the client(s) and take a look at the house or the plans. I talk with them to see what their wishes are. I begin to create concepts with sketches and pictures – assemble it all in the office like a story board for a movie. Then have everyone in the office throw out their ideas. And it just evolves from there.”
While most of us are in need of an escape at this point in the day, Blakeley is still hard at work.
“Truthfully, I hardly ever eat lunch by myself; I’m usually with clients or workmen.“
Power lunch it is then, no time to slow down when productivity is paramount. Blakeley may be on to something with this noontime habit—it’s not about the food, but about the company you keep.
Blakeley divides his afternoon work into numerous tasks.
“Afternoons are spent broken up between visiting job site, shopping for jobs, overall organization, and making calls.”
However, as all interior designers know—things go wrong on a daily basis, whether it be an upset client, tight deadlines or the wrong fabric arrives. So how does a veteran like Blakeley handle this?
“Things always go wrong. It’s part of the job that you just have to deal with. There are times when I’ll discuss a problem with a client and times when I won’t, depending on what it is. But as a general rule, it’s best to keep the client in the loop so as to avoid surprises.“
It must be time for a break, right? Yes, indeed it is.
“Usually around 4 or 5pm I like to take some time to regenerate. Sometimes I’ll go to a movie or just ‘disappear’ for a bit.“
Blakeley is very wise to take a few precious moments to revitalize himself. Studies have shown that career burnout can be avoided by taking moments for regeneration; moments of reflection; moments to check in with ourselves and see how we are doing.
Blakeley also calls his home his sanctuary and place to escape.
“My home is the place for me to escape from the real world. I also try to make my clients’ space the same – so they have their own place to get away to.”
When day turns to night, Blakeley is still going strong.
“I often continue to work. I meet with clients after they have had their dinner. Or I will go to dinner with existing or new clients around 8:30 or 9:00pm.”
We see a mealtime trend occurring—Blakeley often uses the relaxing atmosphere of meals to discuss design with clients. Perhaps, those who break bread together, stay together?
Hmmm… Are we getting tired yet? Apparently not. Blakeley is just arriving home around 11pm, but his work day is not done.
“I’m generally home by 11pm or 12, at which time I prepare for the next day by making notes, etc. And then to bed and read until 2 or 3 am. Then sleep.”
Sweet dreams Mr. Blakeley.
Do you have the stamina and passion for interior design that Blakeley does? Perhaps this rugged routine is the secret to his immense success?