Interior decorators are not very common in Denmark that is completely different in Los Angeles. Every time I visit I am introduced to one or two, or just meet one at the local coffee shop – the interior decorator industry in LA is HUGE! A year ago I was introduced to one of them, Jeffrey Alan Marks, who is very sought after and became someone every knows off, as he was one of the decorators in a Bravo TV show, Million Dollar Decorators.
While in LA this summer, I met with Jeffrey, who invited me into his gorgeous Santa Monica house for a chat about him, his decorating style, ups and downs and a lot more. Be sure to follow Jeffrey on his Instagram, to see more of his work, his very cute dog Coal and his sunny LA life.
Tell in short, who is Jeffrey Alan Marks?
I am a native Californian, which means there’s a certain amount of lightness cruising through my DNA. I have a laid back point of view and I believe in maximizing comfort, while creating casual, friendly atmospheres that beg to be lived in. I enjoy spending my free time hiking in Malibu with my dog, Coal, paddle boarding and running along the beach, and simply spending as much time as I can outdoors, which is where I get the most inspiration from.
What is your background?
I was born and raised in the quiet, seaside town of La Jolla, California. I grew up playing water polo and continued through college. I decided after architecture school to move to London to study Art Decoration. It was then that I started my business from the kitchen table of my London flat while finishing up Design school. I have now been in business for over twenty years and have designed a wide array of homes, from a London Townhouse, to a New York apartment, and a cottage in Laguna Beach.
How would you describe your style and work?
California relaxed and tailored with an English eccentricity. I think my work reflects a fresh, spirited, and timeless design. Throughout my work, I look to combine subdued traditional elegance with contemporary edgy accents.
Which is your favourite colour?
Blue is my favourite colour, along with any watery, light ocean colours.
What do you love most about your job?
I get to travel and meet a very eclectic mix of people from all over the world. Every day presents itself with a new adventure and a new problem to solve.
What has been the greatest challenge being an interior designer?
This would have to be writing my first book, The Meaning of Home. It was a challenging, yet therapeutic, experience putting down on paper all the work I’ve done over the past 20 years. There have been so many incredible projects and this was my chance to finally be able to share with the world the stories behind my inspiration and what the projects mean to me.
What has been your greatest achievement?
My fabric collection at Kravet. I am always looking at what is in the market, what I think is missing, and how I can add to it. Throughout my line, I expanded on my own experiences in life, nature, water polo, swimming, and I think this comes across in my designs.
What are your biggest regrets?
Filming my show, Million Dollar Decorators, with my former partner. It was a fantastic opportunity and provided a lot of exposure for my brand. However, having a camera follow you around all day definitely has its drawbacks. There was a strong invasion of personal space, which made it very hard to continue a relationship after that kind of stress was had.
My home… ?
… is my tranquil sanctuary that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
What is your next project?
This is a really busy year for me. I’m continuing to work on my second fabric collection for Kravet and I’m also working on a lighting line and a rug collection. One rule I live by is that I don’t design anything that I wouldn’t put in any of my projects. I typically have 4-5 construction projects each year that I complete all the way down to the lampshades.
What do you dream about?
I usually dream about traveling and what new adventures I’m planning.
What is the first thing you think about Monday morning?
I like to pack my days in so I always find myself triple booked during the workweek and Mondays are typically my busiest. I start my day with my weekly status meetings. This involves meeting with all my project managers to look over the various construction sites and also meeting with my design team to look at finish samples to approve and furniture samples I’m working on with Palecek.
If you could have dinner with any 3 people (dead or alive) who would it be?
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Ernest Hemingway.
What country have you always dreamt about visiting?
I’ve always dreamt about spending time hiking, biking, and sailing through New Zealand, which is currently in the works!
London because I spent 7 years living there during my 20’s and have always found it to be my “meaning of home”
I have two: Blackberry Farms because it’s very calming, I love the landscape, and I love to meander through the woods and the forest. I also enjoy learning more about cooking whenever I’m there. The other is Le Sirenuse Hotel in Positano because I find the people watching there is the best in the world. I also love the trails you can take down to the beach and the hiking that’s nearby.
For fashion, it’s Brunello Cucinelli and for home, I have two: Galerie Half in Los Angeles and Coup D’etat in San Francisco.
Which book are you reading at the moment?
Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.
What is your favourite track at the moment?
Missing my Baby by G. Love & Special Sauce.
Three blogs or Instagramers you follow?
@josephlapianastudio, @jjmartinmilan, and @jwanyosef
There are two I’ve always looked to. The first is Jack Grange because he is one of the most stylish people I have ever met. He has a great ease for the elegant, but also the relaxed and the refined. The second is David Hicks, who was my instructor in school and I’ve always been fond of his style, his finesse, and overall innovation.
My greatest inspiration is my uncle, who is a big developer in Northern California. He plans communities, from designing to building, and helps people live a better life.
What would you wish I had asked?
What is your dream job? I have only worked in cities in Europe and I have worked all over America. What I’d really like to tackle now is a big European country house or be able to restore an old, historic castle.