Interior Designer Chad James, named a Traditional Home New Trad 2017, photographed by Abby Flittner for Traditional Home.

Interior Designer Chad James, photographed by Abby Flittner.

CHAD JAMES

For Interior Designer Chad James of Chad James Group​ (CJG), decorating with confidence is essential to his success. After featuring the Nashville-based designer’s gorgeous interiors several times here on the blog (who can forget this Chicago penthouse or this Southeastern Showhouse library?), I was stoked to see Chad named just a few days ago to the Traditional Home New Trad Class of ’17, and thrilled to virtually sit down with him for this interview. I heart that he describes confidence as a transformative skill that he intentionally learned to embrace: “… learning to trust my instinct; not doubting [was pivotal]. My mentor taught me early on to make a decision. If it’s wrong, then make it right. Know your ability and stick with it. I’m very decisive.”

THE INTERVIEW

Chad gets that trusting your taste is critical, and has so many more great insights to share. I know you’ll enjoy this interview with Mr. James as much as I have.

Grand black and white foyer with beautiful drapery panels, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Grand black and white foyer with beautiful drapery panels, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: NAME, OCCUPATION, LOCATION

A: Chad James, Interior Designer and owner of Chad James Group​, Nashville, TN.

White kitchen with an incredible kitchen island, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

White kitchen with shiplap walls and an incredible marble island, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: MOMENT YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO BE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER

A: It started really young, I remember at seven, I received a set of Legos and ​I’ve had a ​love affair with building things ever since. ​I had ADD and​ I was able to escape and find serenity &​ structure in creating. In High School ​everyone came to me to ​create parties​ and design ​homecoming floats. That is really when my dream manifested and​ I realized I was drawn to interiors.

Dramatic library with dark painted walls and crisp upholstery, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Dramatic library with dark painted walls and crisp upholstery, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: STEPS TAKEN TO MAKE YOUR DREAM A REALITY

A: One of the steps I took was learning to trust my instinct; not doubting. My mentor taught me early on to make a decision. If it’s wrong, then make it right. Know your ability and stick with it. I’m very decisive.

Light and airy bedroom with sky high ceilings, a canopy bed, and a crystal chandelier, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Light and airy bedroom with sky high ceilings, a canopy bed, and a crystal chandelier, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: SURPRISES UNCOVERED DURING PURSUIT OF YOUR DREAM

A: One of the major surprises of this industry is how important the relationship is. You’re in someone’s ​home, their personal space. You learn so much about them, there is such a bond that’s created I love that​. Also, I discovered clients think things are done overnight and of course that’s not possible​…

Tailored Family Room, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Tailored Family Room, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: ELEMENTS OF YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE

A: Extreme attention to detail. Nothing is randomly selected. Everything is ​chosen​ in relation to another level of detail t​hat people don’t notice ’til it’s not there. Creating spaces that are classic, timeless,
and allow us​ to ​thrive. Our projects go from concepts in my head,​ to hand drawn, to work, to the elements connecting each piece. The m​illwork of a house is the golden thread​ that runs through it. Crown molding and doors pull the product into place in continuity. If it has a skirt, it has to have a trim. Drapery has to have a contrasting lining on back so things aren’t generic and store bought. The beauty of our work is displayed in the details and custom work that people fall in love with.​

Neutral bathroom with custom millwork and drapery panels, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Neutral bathroom with custom millwork and perfect drapery panels, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: MILESTONE(S) THAT REMIND YOU YOU’RE LIVING YOUR DREAM

A: I honestly ​still see myself as this 16-year-old from​ Alabama. I have these
​ ​”​wow”​moments that make me reflect and know I’m doing something right. Opening​ magazines​ with our ​work in print or the smiles on clients’ faces makes me realize​, “Oh, okay, I’m doing something right.”

The foyer of Luke Bryan's beach house, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck on the June 2017 cover of Traditional Home Magazine.

The foyer of Luke Bryan’s beach house, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck for the June 2017 cover of Traditional Home Magazine.

Q: TOOLS/ PRACTICES THAT OPTIMIZE YOUR LIFE ON A DAILY BASIS

A: Surrounding myself with people who have strengths where I have weaknesses. My team is my
most important tool, along with a ​roll of trace paper, felt tip pen, and ​triangular scale.​

Luxe modern bathroom with clean lines, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Luxe modern bathroom with ultra clean lines, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: LIFE ADVICE YOU HOLD DEAR

“Keep focused, work hard, and stay humble.”​

Great Room designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Great Room designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q: WAY YOU LOVE TO SPEND THE DAY/EVENING AT HOME

A: I find peace in​ my love of music. ​I always have​ music playing when I walk in the door​. I​ spend time winding down, reading design publications and blogs, feeding my mind through creative sources. Friend and ​family relationships are very important to me, and of course my greyhound, Josie​.

Chad James at home in Nashville, TN with his greyhound dog, Josie.

Chad James at home in Nashville, with his greyhound, Josie.

Q: PHILOSOPHY ON LIVING THE LIFE YOU DREAM ABOUT

A: My philosophy is: life gives you what you need when you need. When you can embrace that, it opens up a world you never knew existed.

Bedroom with handsome black wood canopy bed, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Bedroom with handsome black wood canopy bed, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Q:  SECRET ABOUT YOU

A: I have an ​obsession handkerchiefs. I think every gentleman should carry one​: I own about 50-60.

Dramatic library with dark painted walls and crisp upholstery, designed by Chad James and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

Dramatic library with dark painted walls and crisp upholstery, designed by CJG and photographed by Alyssa Rosenheck.

xo, Sarah

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Author: Sarah Sarna

Interior Designer and Author at SarahSarna.com, empowering women to decorate and dress with confidence.