An English Rose


British-born Jake Arnold brings drama and intrigue to California with his compelling and elegant interiors

WHEN JAKE ARNOLD moved to Los Angeles from London seven years ago, he brought with him a profound work ethic. It’s served him well while following his dream: snagging a job with Woodson & Rummerfield’s before moving on to work for, and eventually partner with, Steve Wunderlich of 4C Design Group.

Arnold created a gallery wall above a custom breakfast nook. Photography by Michael Clifford.

His talent for interior design asserted itself at an early age, skipping quickly past the moving furniture around the bedroom phase that marks the emergence of many young creatives and into managing his parents’ contractor. “I would tell him, ‘That’s not right, you’re missing this piece, the plumbing’s not right,’” Arnold remembers, “Sometimes I’ll catch myself on a job and I’ll think, I can’t believe it! It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

In the kitchen, Thomas Hayes barstools sit below pendant lights from Obsolete. The cabinets are painted in Charleston Gray by Farrow & Ball. Photography by Michael Clifford.

Inspired by Belgian design, Arnold plays with shadow and light. “When you live in California, you’re surrounded by brightness, and you need somewhere that feels like a respite from all that relentless sun,” muses Arnold.

In the family room, a custom couch partners with a side table from Nickey Kehoe and a vintage chair. Photography by Michael Clifford.

Take this home he created for clients he met through Instagram. They wanted something different than the expected white house. “But they also didn’t want it to be busy with wallpaper everywhere,” says Arnold. His forte lies somewhere in between. While he’s a master of the moody, dark space—note this home’s deep bedroom and saturated dining room—he’s equally adept at amplifying the mystery of pale rooms.

In the dining room,
a vintage gilt-edged mirror from Galerie Half and lights from Urban Electric Co. act as spotlights, directing light to the bespoke dining table that balances the room. Photography by Michael Clifford.

The process begins with the framework. “In London, where everywhere is architecturally beautiful for the most part, you have that amazing base.” In Los Angeles, creating that is step one: “I tell clients to invest in that.” Then he layers in furniture and accessories. Balance is key. “It’s not about each thing being incredible; it’s about it all working together,” he says. “It’s so easy to choose the best whatever, but if it’s going to be too much together, it needs to be edited.” While it sounds simple, in practice the execution is complex. Though the pieces look collected, many of them are bespoke, created by Arnold in collaboration with his coterie of craftspeople. And while his rooms exude luxury, “everything is practical,” he notes. “You can throw it around. I think that’s key. Nothing is precious.”

Though the master bedroom is washed with Cobra by Portola Paints, the pale-toned furnishings keep the space feeling light and airy. Photography by Michael Clifford.

“You don’t need to hire a designer to have a white kitchen and a white couch,” says Arnold. “If you want that, you can do it yourself and save a ton of money. I don’t do that for clients. My job is to take it to the next level.” Mission accomplished