Insider: Talented Designer John De Bastiani

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a self taught Interior Designer.  Born in Massachusetts, I grew up in a small town. I always loved dissecting a house even from an early age. I used to sit in my parent’s friends and/or relatives houses (we often visited people, I think it was a 70’s thing) and I would think “how can I improve this space or how would I have set up this room?” Possibly unusual thoughts for a precocious 8 year old. I attended the University of Massachusetts and have a marketing degree.  I worked in Retail in my early 20’s and then started working for Brunschwig & Fils in Boston.  I then decided to set out on my own.  I freelanced out of a firm in Wellesley, Massachusetts before setting out on my own.  Relocated to Los Angeles 3 years ago to begin a new chapter of my life and expand my business.  I currently live in West Hollywood, California.

When and what made you want to pursue a career as an interior designer?

I was sitting in my 9-6 job thinking of ways I could make more money actually. My $28k salary was not cutting it and I feared my job was a sort of a dead end. I knew I loved Interior Design and decided after seeing so many other designers’ work, that I could do the same thing.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?

Success comes in strange ways. I do think your clients can influence your success.  For example, if you work for someone who is very social and they come to love your work, they tell their friends, they hire you and so on and so forth.

What would you say is your most important accomplishment?

My most important accomplishment is…oh I don’t know…I’m bashful so this is a hard question.  I’m always tickled when published.  For me this means others appreciate my work and think it’s good enough to show their audience.  That’s always so flattering.

What is your biggest regret?

To be honest I do not believe in regrets …life is about growing, evolving…it’s a process but if I were to provide an answer it would be not getting into this business right out of college. I should have followed my passion.

How would you describe your work style?

My work is Updated Traditional with an emphasis on a soft and muted color pallet.  Clean lines, always comfortable and never fussy.

If you had to live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

I might have majored in Art History or the Classics. I think a liberal arts education prepares you for the world.

What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

I hope to be more established in Los Angeles. I love this city.

Walk us through what would be a typical day for you.

Typical day… wake up and make a Nespresso! …something I cannot live without. Check emails…maybe even Facebook too! Then hit the gym for an hour…all this is before 9am. Then I return calls, organize my day, paper work etc. I usually then meet a client or shop for needed project items. I do not like the afternoons… I get sleepy, so I do not usually make appointments. Then, it’s more office stuff etc. Then usually meet a friend for dinner and come home and crash.

If we were to ask your family and friends to describe you, what would they say?

They would say I’m a kind, good-hearted person and they are happy I’m in their life…that’s the big goal anyway.

What can you tell us about your most favorite project?

My favorite project has been a great house on Cape Cod, MA I finished last year. These particular clients are so delightful. It was our 4th project together and she trusted me to make a lot of the decisions and gave me the freedom to do it the way I thought best. The result was stunning and my clients are extremely happy. When you have a great relationship with a client it makes you work harder I think and really gets you to pulls out the stops and go the extra mile.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My clients inspire me

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a wonderful apartment in Beverly Hills, CA in a Spanish building. It’s very serene and tranquil. Lots of natural linens, grays and creams. My client has extremely good taste and we see eye to eye on most things. It’s turning out beautifully.

Are there any homes you would love to work with in the future?

I would love to do a contemporary house. Something I can show off another side of my work. I love when contemporary is done warm and organic.

Looking forward, what do you see in the future for Yourself and Your Company?

I see my company growing. I would love to have a shop someday. I see so many great things out there and I want to buy dozens of them. Of course that’s not realistic. It’s also an opportunity to put a “face” on your look or style.

Would you like to offer some words of advice, for anyone aspiring to create their own sustainable-living business, from the ground-up like yourself?

Just always hold on to your goal and keep your eye on the ball. Do not let success go to your head. It’s so unflattering. Always offer help to younger people just entering the business. It’s just the right thing to do not to mention good jo jo! 🙂

What qualities do you feel a successful person like yourself should have?

Talent first off. Also, an understanding of the great designers before you and a history and knowledge of decorative arts. A good sense of scale and appropriateness too.

What have been the biggest failures and frustrations in your career?

Failures…hmm…I always regret a disagreement. There has been one or two along the way. Frustrations are when clients who are paying for your expertise, don’t listen or respect you and value what you’re worth.


Musician – Elton John

Clothing Designer – Tom Ford hits it out of the park!

Beauty Product – Gotta love my Kiehls

Watch – My simple Rolex Date Adjust with a Tapestry Face and Platinum bezel. Its low key but a bit dressed up!

Car – BMW has it going on. Great quality, fun to drive and great understated new designs. Also love an old late 60’s Mercedes SL…just so elegant!

Any final words you would like to share with our readers?

Always be true to yourself and follow your gut!!

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