Growing up in New Haven, Conn., Drake says that he decided to be an interior designer when he was "seven or so," going on to redesign his bedroom with patent leather walls at the age of 11, much to his mother's dismay. In high school, Drake worked part-time at the contract firm Lubin Business Interiors. He later headed off to Parsons and interned for the late Angelo Donghia, who designed interiors in the 1970s and '80s for the likes of Donald Trump, Mary Tyler Moore, Liza Minnelli, and Ralph Lauren. After graduating design school in just three years, Drake opened a firm of his own in 1978.
A color fanatic—his rooms are less likely to be beige than amethyst purple, a style he describes as "personality-plus"—Drake is best known these days for his most famous client, Michael Bloomberg, who first hired him to decorate his Upper East Side townhouse with Egyptian marble. Hizzoner has kept him plenty busy since then: Drake madeover the timeworn interior of Gracie Mansion in 2002; a year later, he spruced up City Hall; more recently, he designed the new 24,000-square-foot municipal Marriage Bureau on Centre Street, which will look more like a bona fide wedding chapel than a DMV bureau when it's completed in mid-2008. (The redesign is part of a bid by Bloomberg to boost "nuptial tourism" to New York.) While the mayor may be Drake's biggest patron, he isn't Drake's only A-list client: Madonna called him a few years ago when she need to decorate her new home in LA.
In 2005 Drake published a coffee table book, New American Glamour.
Drake is a director of Alpha Workshops, a non-profit organization for designers with AIDS. He's also a participant in Furnish a Future, a program that provides furniture to the formerly homeless. He hosts occasional benefits for the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which assists gay, inner-city teenagers.
Drake's romantic partner is Jason Witcher, who works with him at his design firm. The couple has two pugs, Dillon and Cyclops, the latter of whom, appropriately, has one eye. The couple recently purchased a two-bedroom at 200 11th Avenue, the building designed by Annabelle Selldorf.