Inside design: Jeffrey Alan Marks
What are the trademark elements of your style?
Jeffrey Alan Marks Timelessness, sophistication and, above all else, comfort. I design rooms for comfort, and the rest of the scheme follows from there.
How did you get started in the decor industry?
JM I studied Interior Design in London, England, and began my career working for world-renowned interior designer John Stefanidis.
Do you have a favourite era that you continually draw upon in your work?
JM I hate to limit myself to one style or era, so I pull inspiration from all periods. Great design transcends time and place.
Do you have a signature colour palette? If not, what colour combination do you like best?
JM Blue, blue and blue! always blue. I also love green, as well as a combination of blue and green. But I’m a big fan of colour in general, so I decorate with everything – except burgundy, which is probably my least favourite hue.
Do you have a go-to paint colour?
JM Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball because it’s a dark grey with a hint of green.
What materials do you work with most in your projects?
JM I use a lot of honed black granite in the kitchens I design, I love French oak for flooring and cabinetry, and nickel is my favourite metal.
You’re on the show Million Dollar Decorators, but do you have tips for people with modest budgets looking to create beautiful homes?
JM Edit, edit, edit. People buy a lot of cheap, bad furniture to fill up a room. You don’t need a lot of bad furniture; you just need a few really good pieces. People who over-furnish waste money. It’s so important to edit!
What area of the home is most important to invest in?
JM The kitchen, because most people spend the bulk of their time there. Your kitchen should always be the space you splurge on. In contrast, the living room is the least important room to invest in because it’s never used to its full potential.
When it comes to kitchens, what design elements do you like to include?
JM Colour! Bland kitchens are a bore – I love cabinets painted in vibrant colours. I also like to include a built-in seating area if at all possible. But the ultimate luxury? A fireplace in the kitchen.
With your fondness for small spaces, what are some tips you can share for making the most of apartment or condo living?
JM Paint low ceilings with high-gloss paint – the shininess will enlarge the space. Low furniture always helps. Wallpaper smaller rooms to make them feel like jewellery boxes – it’s the best trick to make a small space feel intimate and cozy.
Your spaces are so beautiful but also so cozy. How do you balance elegance and comfort?
JM It’s all about the mixture of architectural finishes and soft furnishings. If you only use upholstered furniture, you lose that tailored feeling. You have to introduce metal, glass and wood to balance out all the pillows and the plush.
What are some of the ways you inject a client’s personality into a project?
JM The best way is through their art collection. My clients always have great art, which often drives the whole project. The wonderful thing about my clients is they all have such specific personalities, and we build every interior to suit their individual styles. That’s why you’ll notice in my book that each project is so different from the next. Every space is defined by each person’s style.
Do you have a favourite resource when it comes to antiquing or sourcing vintage pieces?
JM Tons! 1stdibs is the best place to start. I love shopping for antiques in London in Pimlico and on Lots Road in Chelsea. In Paris, I always go to the flea markets. I love the flea markets in Belgium, too.
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Excerpted from Jeffrey Alan Marks: The Meaning of Home by Jeffrey Alan Marks, Foreword by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 Jeffrey Alan Marks, Photography copyright © 2013 Douglas Friedman. Excerpted by permission of Rizzoli, New York. All rights reserved.