Jeffrey Alan Marks

Jeffrey shares advice on how to break into design and what he learned in this episode.

on Jun 29, 20110

I have been approached by a large number of people since the show started that ask me the same question, "If I want to become a decorator what should I do?" My answer is "Go to school." The Interior Design industry is overrun with people with no formal training that call themselves designers. The result is a world of of weak design by people who don’t know Willy Rizzo from Wile E. Coyote. While I don't believe you can teach good taste, knowing the history of design, art, and architecture are essential if you plan on becoming a really great decorator. And that is only the beginning. Anybody watching the show will know by now that the job is far more difficult than one would believe it to be, and if you don't know your way around an architectural plan it does not end well. Even I, with a solid design and architecture education, have difficulty dealing with hurdles that come my way from time to time. I really can't stress enough the value of a good foundation when considering a career in design.

The idea of getting an education in what ever you aim to do in life is a lesson I should have taken to heart before I began shooting MDD. I should have studied Reality TV in greater depth. Having watched this week's episode I feel like I should have drowned myself in the bathtub for being such an ass! It's not a pretty thing watching that unpleasant fight with Ross and all of the ensuing drama. I don't enjoy any kind of conflict, I like a peaceful environment where I can design beautiful projects for really nice people that appreciate good design. Let's face it, the road to a good end product is paved with obstacles and from time to time it gets ugly and it really got ugly in this episode for Ross and I. Kathryn, too, is dealing with the unattractive side of the industry. Her job in Malibu is getting sour fast, and it does not seem like it's about to get better any time soon.

I think the best way to judge a decorator is to look at their own home. It is the truest expression of their aesthetic because they are doing exactly what they want to do in their own environment. Looking at my bathroom in this week's episode I can't help but think to myself how pretty it is. It so clearly speaks my design language. It is exactly the way I want it to look, and it represents the kind of work I like to do. So I would hope that my clients would love my house as much as I do. When looking for a decorator it is vital to find someone who's work speaks to you, because the reality of the decorating business is that the decorator is always going to want to put their specific stamp on the job and that every client wants to do the same. The closer you can get to a unified vision at the onset the more likely you are to have a successful partnership on a project and the less likely you are to have difficulty along the way.

Ross and I are off to Aspen for the 4th of July. Happy trails to you!

10 comments
AlexHarrison
AlexHarrison

All about you is gorgeous. It is so nice to see all the beauty that surrounds u--and how u get to bring it to others. Hope we get to know u better thru the show.

ACI
ACI

Nobody else finds Ross super-uber-creepy? No?

NOLA Uptown Lady
NOLA Uptown Lady

Thank you for redeeming yourself and acknowledging your short comings! As good looking as you and Ross are humility is far more attractive! Your beautiful home reflects your impeccable design aesthetic. Can't wait for next weeks show!

designerdawn
designerdawn

Thanks for the great reply about getting into the design industry. I went to architecture and design school and have worked on large projects all over the country for the past 25 years. It seams that only those without knowledge and education think that they are not needed. While you cannot teach a "good eye" or good taste, there is soooo much more to learn! Bravo! Well said!

Kahne
Kahne

You are so right about getting an education.....I'm an Architect and I do my own interiors......I call decorators Interior Desecraters because there is a difference in organized chaos and a hot mess of a project....there are ways to do things and you have to be taught how to do it....Project Management is the key to meet deadlines, especially the tight ones.....love you guys on the show and it is great to see how different you are from the others....

me11
me11

I love love love your bathroom! The back-to-back sinks are AMAZING. It would be great if you could post some pics on the site to get a better look...

EmilyandStanford
EmilyandStanford

While I agree that an education is a huge advantage for a decorator, there is not a school on earth that can compensate for real world on the job training and shear vision. I find it very unfair for anyone to group all "untrained by way of design school" decorators together. Some of the very best interiors decorators and fashion designers in the world are the ones who are gifted and untrained. The best way to determine if a decorator is qualified is through their portfolio and referrals. It is not brain surgery, its all about talent!

colored_door
colored_door

Not cool, Jeffrey. Trying to pick up the waiter because you and Ross are at odds? Not cool at all.

You and Ross have a beautiful home - your design is gorgeous. I hope for a more harmonious blending of your two very different styles - loved Ross's comment about instant versus drip coffee. Mutual appreciation is key!!

hooked on rhw
hooked on rhw

gorgeous butler's pantry and bathroom, and of course you and Ross are just as gorgeous!

Susie Q.
Susie Q.

Glad u guys made up - lol :)