Endless Summer at Home

alessandra branca lonny

{Alessandra Branca via Lonny}

I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! It’s funny- the Fourth always seems to signal that summer is officially here and somehow, already halfway gone. I have totally been in summer mode lately, forcing myself to disconnect from work on the weekends and even spending more time outdoors. With summer firmly on my mind, I have been really drawn to beach houses as of late, probably because I am secretly craving a beach vacation. There are elements that are tailor-made for beach houses and outdoor use– wicker, rattan, and other natural fibers, bamboo and coral details, weathered wood, crisp white director’s chairs, stripes and ethnic fabrics and colors like red, white, and blue, of course. The beauty of these elements is that they really work anywhere and at anytime of year. It’s like having an endless summer at home no matter where you are.

 

blue white bamboo

{The Blue and White Pool House at Blue Ridge Farm in Albemarle County, Virgina via The Pink Pagoda}

bunny williams

{Bunny Williams}

casa tua domino

{Casa Tua in Miami via Domino}

india hicks chairs

{No one does British Colonial Tropical Style quite like India Hicks}

india hicks lonny

{India Hicks}

alan wanzenberg

{Alan Wanzenberg}

JAM

{Jeffrey Alan Marks}

nathan turner eric hughes

{Nathan Turner}

ralph lauren

{Ralph Lauren}

max and co

{Phoebe Howard’s Max & Company}

sig bergamin

{Sig Bergamin via ELLE DECOR}

saint barths

{A Villa in St. Barth’s}

tim barber

{Tim Barber}

tim clarke

{Tim Clarke}

tom scheerer

{I seriously considered making this post strictly about Tom Scheerer’s work since it is the epitome of beachside chic even when an ocean isn’t remotely nearby.}

tom scheerer bedroom

{Tom Scheerer}

tom scheerer hats

{Tom Scheerer}

tom scheerer shiplap

{Tom Scheerer}

tom scheerer patio

{Tom Scheerer}

tom scheerer wicker

{Tom Scheerer}

tom scheerer twin beds

{Tom Scheerer}

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The Style Files: Mark D. Sikes

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Today’s installment of “The Style Files” is very special as I am profiling my close friend and design mentor, Mark D. Sikes. Mark and I became fast friends a few years ago around the time that his home in the Hollywood Hills was first published and his blog was just beginning in late 2011. Since then, Mark has amassed a loyal following, created an identifiable look and brand, and has completed a slew of stunning design projects. Just last week, Mark’s newly redesigned home was published in the July/August issue of Veranda and I think you’ll find it to be a breathtaking evolution of its original iteration.

Mark spent two decades in a successful career in visual merchandising during which he honed his inimitable eye for style, scale, and attention to detail. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2011 and subsequently having the home he and his partner Michael Griffin share published in the pages of House Beautiful, Mark’s focus turned exclusively to running his eponymous interior design firm and lifestyle blog. Mark’s work– whether in a room or on the pages of his blog, radiates beauty, authenticity, and genuine character– all of the same things that those of us who know him love most about him. Mark is endlessly inspiring. He is an eternal optimist with boundless energy and creativity who possesses the most generous and gracious spirit. All of that and he probably downs more Starbucks Iced Green Tea in one day than anyone else on the planet! I feel fortunate to have Mark in my life and could not be happier for his success. I know this is just the beginning!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Mark D. Sikes: Classic, Timeless, All-American, Consistent….I’d like to think effortless…

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{Mark’s stunning, newly redesigned home is featured on the cover and in the pages of the July/August 2014 issue of Veranda}

PC: Has living in Los Angeles influenced the way you decorate?

MDS: Of course it has. the weather is pretty wonderful here most of the year, indoor-outdoor living at it’s best. Because of this everything is more relaxed and easy, un-complicated, however, my design signatures, the things that I love like rattan, chinoiserie, blue and white, natural fiber rugs, and linen upholstery work anywhere and everywhere…

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{Mark’s Bedroom is now swathed in pale blue Gracie wallpaper. | Image via Veranda}

PC: What does your home say about you?

MDS: That I’m a classicist and a collector, that I love to mix old with new, traditional with modern, the outside with the inside, and of course, that I love blue and white.

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{Mark’s Chic Dining Room features Antique Mirrored Walls, Saddle Leather Dining Chairs, a Leopard Rug, and Antique Chandelier | Image via Veranda}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

MDS: I look to the past….. I love Books and magazines (a friend of mind just sent me about 25 old House & Garden’s from the 80’s- I was in heaven), and to be honest, the internet…. It’s unbelievable what we have at our finger tips.

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{Mark’s French Bulldog, Lily hangs out in the Tented Library | Image via Veranda}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

MDS: Weekly manicure and pedicures

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{The guest bedroom received a major overhaul playing host to Pierre Frey’s chic, red Tree of Life fabric. | Image via Veranda}

PC: What is your definition of chic?

MDS: Confidence, knowing who you are, feeling comfortable in your own skin, being thoughtful and kind….having restraint…

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{Mark and his French Bulldog, Lily read the new issue of Veranda | Image via Mark’s Instagram}

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

MDS: I don’t know that this is advice I’ve received, but I do say, “it’s all in the details,” a lot and I do believe that your own personal will is powerful, we can truly live our dreams.

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{Mark’s Breathtaking Garden via his Instagram}

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

MDS: I’d have to say that Bunny Williams has not only been a mentor to me, she has been a dear friend. Her support, encouragement, thoughtfulness, and kindness has been remarkable. I love it when she reminds to put my phone down, look up, take it all in! Also, my grandfather has probably been the biggest influence on my life. He owned a barber shop for 50 years. He worked hard, loved deeply and was a gentleman.

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{Mark was recently invited to stay at La Colina, the home of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli in the Dominican Republic. The house and its owner have been tremendously inspiring to Mark. | Image via Mark’s Instagram}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

MDS: Being happy- Living life to it’s fullest!

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{Mark and his Partner, Michael on Vacation in Lyford Cay | Image via Mark’s Instagram}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

MDS: I’m involved in so many wonderful design projects… homes in Beverly Hills, The Pacific Palisades, Santa Barbara, Presidio Heights, Marin County, Woodside, NYC, and the Bahamas… even working on a few movie sets. My first book is in the works, planning to open a store, maybe two, soon. I’m looking forward to designing my own furniture, fabrics, and lighting…also, working on designing some apparel in the very near future…and of course, the Mark D. Sikes blog is constantly growing and evolving, the blog has been the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, it’s been the greatest gift to me, a gift that keeps giving.

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{A Moodboard from one of Mark’s Recent Projects}

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Go-To Outfit: A blue oxford, white jeans, a 15 year old army green military jacket, Belgian loafers, ray-bans

Style Mantra: Have a uniform…. quality vs. quantity…less is more… a smile is the best accessory– I guess I have a few mantras!

Scent: Santa Maria Novella Potpourri Cologne

Piece of Jewelry: A thin gold Cartier band that I’ve worn on my finger since 11-10-2004

Color I Never Tire of: Blue…I’m sure that is not a surprise.

Flower: Gardenias, Vibirnum (I love massive arrangements of vibirnum), and all shades of pink Peonies.

Meal: Turkey burger with sweet potato fries (crispy) from Mel’s Diner

Drink: Iced Green Tea

Way to Unwind After a Long Day at Work: Doing a blog post

3 Things I Love About my City: The weather, the palm trees, and the boundless creative energy

Indispensable Design Element: A 17th century blue and white Chinese Bowl

Era for Design: I think today, because we can mix the past with the present.

Dream Project: I’d love to work with architect Gil Schafer, his sense of scale and proportion is extraordinary, not to mention his attention to detail, his work moves me….and of course the White House- I dream big!

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Fabric/Textile: I love any blue and white stripe…

Design Book: One Man’s Folly  by Furlow Gatewood… that barn painted blue and green is everything.

Hostess Gift: A Myrtle Topiary

Weekend Destination: Montecito

Hotel: Casa Tua in Miami, Hotel Lungarno in Florence, Sunset Tower in West Hollywood

City: Paris

Museum: The Greek and Roman Galleries at The Met

Artist: Cy Twombly

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Actor: Cate Blanchett

Prized Possession: Lily (a.k.a. HRH Lily), our beloved French bulldog

Greatest Extravagance: An Abundance of Books and Magazines

3 Things I am Currently Obsessed With: The store RTH, Instagram, and the 2014 World Cup– Go USA!

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