John McClain has become one of the trendiest residential interior designers of Florida. At a very young age, John became intrigued with the interior design industry through fine home building with his family and later went on to study interior design at the Seminole State College in Orlando. His interior design expertise and his passion for custom furniture design resulted in the creation of the undeniably luxe design firm, John McClain Design and the custom furniture showroom, GILDED HOME, both located in Winter Park, Florida. Incredibly managing both of his business ventures and personal life, the LOOKLIVELUXE team had a chance to interview John about his design firm, GILDED HOME, and his views on fashion and a branded lifestyle.
How would you describe your brand and how did you come up with GILDED HOME?
Gilded Home is a luxury home furnishings brand that hearkens back to luxe, sophisticated, and glamorous yesteryears while maintaining a modern sense of comfort and functionality. We pride ourselves on superior quality and discerning design. I started Gilded Home from my love of high style and unique home furnishings. I was having difficulty finding the appropriate furniture pieces for clients for my design firm, John McClain Design, and finally I decided to just design my own. Now, 80% of all furniture, lighting and accessories for a client’s home is custom designed and handmade. Currently, we have a retail location in Winter Park, FL and online at gildedhome.com, and are now in the initial stages of expanding our Gilded Home furniture and accessory line to a worldwide market of trade and wholesale divisions.
Who shaped and created the direction of your brand?
I have always had a deep interest in glamour and luxury in all forms. My most favorite era, aesthetically, is the 1920’s, specifically the Art Deco period. It’s truly a testament to any design style that it remains relevant and desirable decades later. After working in LA for an amazing design firm and designing extravagant celebrity homes, I truly fell in love with the opulent Hollywood interiors. I made a conscious decision to bring back my experience and excitement for these decadent designs to Winter Park in 2013. The firm that I worked with in LA taught me so much about high style and high quality, and I will always have that as a basis for every endeavor made by Gilded Home.
How does branding and creativity inspire your business?
Branding and creativity are two things that I use on a daily basis. From obvious components like social media to the image portrayed of myself and that of our employees at social functions, one should always be cognizant of consistently branding yourself in the vision that you have for your business.
Simply put, creativity is what I live for. Not a day goes by that I don’t find something inspirational that leads to a furniture or lighting design, or that inspires an interior design for a client. I have found that when a creative person is stifled and not allowed to exercise that part of their brain, that their life isn’t as fulfilling. My best advice is to keep your eyes and ears open at all times. A creative spark can literally come from anywhere. I once painted the exterior of a home from the colors I saw in a sunset that I stopped to photograph.
Who is your fashion, interiors, lifestyle, or business icon?
This is a hard one; I have so many! I adore all things Gucci, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta and Armani. My favorite interior designers include the amazing and risk-taking Kelly Wearstler, David Hicks, Candice Olsen, Jean-Louis Deniot, Martha Stewart, and of course, Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren single handedly encapsulates timeless style and design. You know you have achieved stylistic greatness when your name describes a specific aesthetic (“That room is very Ralph Lauren.”) Ralph Lauren is also a great American business story; to think he started an empire by designing and selling men’s neckties (and tremendous hard work). A final, possibly unexpected, inspiration is Dolly Parton. In addition to her business acumen, she teaches me not to take life too seriously.
Who do you see John McClain Design or GILDED HOME collaborating with?
I am open to collaborating with any company that aligns with our vision and strict standards of superior quality products and top-notch client service. I would be thrilled to have Gilded Home products not only in homes across America, but also in high-end retail stores locally and nationally such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I appreciate the finer things in life such as a beautiful and inviting home, wonderful and supporting friends and family and making time for relaxation and fun. Life isn’t all about business and work, but I love what I do so much that the lines are sometimes blurred and I forget that it’s “work.”
Do you incorporate branding in your personal life?
Branding is incorporated in my life every day- from how I dress, how I interact in social situations, and how I handle any problems or issues. We might not be aware of all of the eyes that are on us every day; online and in-person. If we keep our business perception and image at the forefront of our minds, we will not have to think twice about how we present ourselves to others.
Do you have any interior design tips you’d like to share?
Be true to yourself. Don’t design your home based on what your neighbor has or what you think your friends would like to see; your home is your home. Also, don’t buy a houseful of mediocre things just to fill the space. Allow yourself to curate your home over time with quality pieces that will last a lifetime (the sofa is a great place to start). As a young designer, I would get lost in the appearance of a furniture piece or accessory and never even consider how it was made. I would buy lots of inexpensive things just to find out that the pretty façade would be forgotten once the piece started to fall apart. Now, I encourage clients to invest in high quality things and to take their time if necessary to complete the space. Essentially, you can’t rush good design.
John McClain’s home furnishing company, GILDED HOME, embodies all things LUXE. From appearing on HGTV (Home and Garden TV) to designing celebrity homes, John has definitely been able to exert his talents in tremendous ways. Now with both a design firm and luxury home furnishing store, his clients can receive quality design, customer service, along with custom made furniture. Plus, he shared with us some LUXE tips for those who are looking to redesign their homes. Do make sure to take a look at his online shop or visit his location if you are in the Winter Park, Florida area!