Inside the Governor's Residence: Jamie Drake's Reception Area Redesign
photographs by Keith Scott Morton
lighting by Eric Richards
Drake Design Associates
Just off the foyer—between the dining and living rooms—is the reception area, where Woodbridge native Jamie Drake was given carte blanche. His first impression? “The space was downbeat—somber. It certainly didn’t reflect the wonderful, gregarious personalities of the Malloys,” he laughs.
The challenges Drake faced lay not only in fusing the First Couple’s preferences with his natural penchant for adventurousness, but in “making notions of traditional design feel fresh and young,” explains Drake. Plus, choices had to be made with an eye on longevity—it’s not every year the Residence gets a world-class makeover.
Because his room had to work with the color schemes of the adjoining spaces, “I needed something pivotal,” says Drake, “a neutral palette, but one with strength and personality.” He painted the walls an elegant platinum (“indeed, a neutral—but with crispness,” Drake says) and brought in bold coral, red and burgundy via silk-cut velvet upholstery on the iron benches, the striped-satin curtain fabric, and the fringed bullion trim on the traditional French table’s skirt. A bright-coral pencil stripe within the crown molding encircles the room, bringing the eye upward, where a softer wash of pink brightens the ceiling. “It’s one of the smallest details, but it’s perhaps the most striking effect,” says Drake.