At Home with Marissa Adler
405 sits down with the interior designer
Photos by Rachel Maucieri
How did you get started in the interior design business?
My first professional exposure to home design came when I owned a home and interior store for more than 11 years. Through that experience, I began going into homes for design consultation more and more frequently, until I decided to sell the retail store and focus exclusively on interior design. My love of design actually started before I can even remember, but for as long as I can remember I have been pulling patterns and colors together and borrowing from one space to rearrange another. Somewhere along the way I stopped using Andre Agassi posters! Like any artist, I feel like your personal style and what you aim to convey through your work evolves over time based on your life experiences and point of view.
If you could pick one time period to live in, in relation to design, lifestyle or architecture, which would it be?
I have always had romantic feelings for the 1920s and for the sense of classic style and grandeur from that era; but honestly I am so thankful to be alive in this present time. I feel like a lot of things have been lost in design and hospitality in this modern era. I love pulling ideas and accents from the great things that have gone before, while adding the convenience and freshness of our modern culture and materials for gathering people back together to enjoy what speaks to our souls.
What designer, artist or icon has inspired you the most in relation to your work and why?
I am inspired by so many sources, but art and travel have been the foundation of my love of atmospheres and environments throughout my life and have shown me that timeless palettes transcend time. I love the way that design can create a beautiful relationship between unlike objects, which to me is what is so exciting about design.In fashion, I prefer the clean, classic lines of Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Coco Channel. In design, the beautiful mixes of patterns and textures from Kelley Wearstler inspire me. In architecture, the tiles, colors and courtyards of the Middle East and Europe have always appealed to me. But, my heart always goes back to ultimately wanting to create both the warmth and personality I have experienced in the family homes of my lifetime. My grandmother, mom and aunts always create environments where people feel welcome and relaxed. The attention to detail, down to the linens has always inspired me.
Is there a trend you are seeing in design right now that you are interested in?
I try to stay away from most trends, because things can become dated so quickly. But, I believe that the best trends are actually just new ways of expressing classic elements that have always been there and have always worked, and through the trend, they’re just having another moment in the spotlight. Great current examples would include black windows or antique brass fixtures. Black windows are dramatic and beautiful and antique brass is so warm. They’ve both actually been around for thousands of years, but are considered a trend in modern design. I have alway loved them for the classical feel they bring, and not because they are currently en vogue or popular. They’re simply having another moment and I love incorporating them in a way that leans more toward timeless than trendy. I want things like this to be used in the right places and amounts so that they will not feel or look trendy and then quickly fall out of style. Done correctly and classically, they should look and feel right for a long time.
What is your favorite room to design and decorate?
My favorite room to design is definitely the kitchen. The mix of materials and the amount of life that unfolds in kitchens makes me smile just thinking about it. I personally love entertaining and creating beautiful spaces to cook, create, relax, refuel and serve. Whether it’s your family’s daily routine or inviting people in, I think that both are such a privilege, and I want to create a space that elevates those experiences to more than the mundane. I believe that today’s kitchens work hard and are the heart of the home. So much attention to detail goes into making them lighten the load of everything that happens in them. It’s fun and exciting to make something so functional be beautiful and peaceful as well.
Which space in your home do you love and why?
I have always loved the idea of having a large table inside the kitchen, like the ones from long ago. We recently moved and the kitchen had the perfect space for a large table. I start and end all of my days sitting at it, and it brings my a lot of joy
Realizing the answers are different for each client what are your personal preferences when it comes to these design categories? Feel free to explain if you want! Wallpaper or paint?
More times than not, paint is the answer! It can immediately and dramatically change an atmosphere without breaking the bank. Wallpaper is also a go to for maximum effect. I adore wallpaper and the life it can bring it a space. It’s incredible to see how changing the patterns on your walls can correspond to changing the patterns of life that happen in that space.
Neutrals or color?
Neutral is lovely and an important foundation, but color is always the best answer! I love all colors and the joy they bring based on the individual client. All that being said, white is a color, but it has to be the “right” white! Ha!
Wall-to-wall carpet or rugs?
Rugs, always rugs. Works every time!