Coastal Maine, Designer/Author/Podcaster
The personality who has become renowned for the smooth timbre emerging from his vocal cords is among the rarer breeds of the world, the charisma unfurling over the soundwaves setting him apart as people can’t help but stop and listen. This describes James Swan, who has made a name for himself with his podcasts produced under his Million Dollar Decorating brand. But he’s not just another pretty voice, as his knowledge of design means his interviews he holds with some of the top designers, decorators, architects, and artisans are intelligent and entertaining.
His focus on beautiful living makes his podcasts seriously meaningful, the unguarded conversations that reveal behind-the-scenes sources of inspiration, resources and stories capture the imagination from beginning to end. He comes to the effort so fully informed because he himself built a career crafting classically influenced interiors throughout the United States.
His professional life first took off in Northern California at a San Francisco architecture firm where he managed residential interiors. Los Angeles then beckoned, and he joined the prestigious design firm of Frank K. Pennino & Associates. As senior designer there, he managed high-profile projects, and earned a reputation for refined classical design that succinctly reflected his clients’ lives. In 1999, James opened his own firm in Beverly Hills.
His projects have been featured in House & Garden, House Beautiful, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune. He contributed to the “Trends & Shopping” column that appeared in House & Garden magazine, and wrote for the online real estate site Curbed.com. 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, and regular guest-spots on national radio programs prepared him to be comfortable with the level of delivery he now achieves. Perhaps his Bachelor of Arts degree in theology and music from Southwestern College in Waxahachie, Texas, contributed to his musicality that draws everyone in.
His master’s degree from Arizona State University was his segue to the design arena, which he received as a student in the Architecture and Design program. James values activism, and is a past member of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, having served 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. Skiing and traveling are passions, and he currently lives on the beautiful Maine coast. We are quite pleased to have his talent shining forth from our roster of tastemakers, his choice of the Ruban Plié Round Pendant by Jacco Maris as his favorite fixture within our collections befitting his point of view given it could be described as metal set to music.