Q&A with Interior Designer John De Bastiani

John De Bastiani Interiors Arrives in Santa Barbara by Way of Boston, Los Angeles

John De Bastiani at his home office in Romero Canyon | Credit: Courtesy

East Coast native John De Bastiani began his design career in Boston, working at famed fabric house Brunschwig & Fils. He started designing home interiors across the greater Boston area soon thereafter, and in 2007, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked for acclaimed interior designer Michael Smith before branching out on his own. 

“I have always had an affinity for interiors and design,” Bastiani reflects. “Gaining practical experience mixed with historical knowledge — and adding my talent and taste for it — is my wheelhouse.” 

This John De Bastiani interior was part of an extensive renovation project in Birnam Wood. | Credit: Courtesy

He relocated full-time to Santa Barbara about a year ago, drawn in part by the Spanish architecture and grand estates. “I love the small-town feel,” he adds. “Everyone is just so supportive and kind.” He works out of his home office in Romero Canyon. 

For more on De Bastiani — professional and personal — keep reading. For more, visit johndd.com

What drew you to design early on? I have always needed to be a creative person. Even as a child, I loved art and art history, decorative arts, etc. What I do is a wonderful way to be creative without being a fine arts artist.

What has been your favorite work-related field trip or vacation? Mexico City.

What is your favorite public space in Santa Barbara? The Mission and the Mission Rose Garden.

Where do you find design inspiration outside of home projects? Design inspiration comes from so many places — travel, Instagram, nature. It can come from a single Spanish tile or a fantastic organic modern home. 

What do you most like about your work? I love the creative process. Also, I love projects. I get to fuse the two!

What do you most dislike? Difficult clients and unrealistic expectations with budgets.

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Go back in time and pick another profession. A shop owner who sells home furnishings, antiques, and vintage and related items. 

What is your current state of mind? Hopeful. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Three large projects a year that are well-paced, with clients who encourage my design process. 

What do you consider your greatest professional achievement? One of my projects was on the cover of House Beautiful magazine.

What is your greatest fear? Lack of business.

What is your greatest extravagance? Brunello Cucinelli.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Professional Instagrammer. 

Which talent would you most like to have? Flower arranger. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? More patience.

What is your most treasured possession? My 1969 Mercedes 280SL.

Which living person do you most admire? Jane Fonda.

Which living person do you most despise? Kim Kardashian.

What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.

What is your most marked characteristic? I am a kind and generous friend.

Who is your favorite fictional character? Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey.

Name a hero in real life. Barack Obama.

On what occasion do you lie? When the truth might hurt someone’s feelings.

What word or phrase do you most overuse? “1,000 percent!”

Giffin & Crane has been building custom homes in Santa Barbara since 1986. 

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