The first book by Jeffrey Alan Marks, The Meaning of Home celebrates 20 years of his quintessentially California interiors.
From a contemporary Sonoma retreat and a San Francisco penthouse boasting 360-degree city views to a Malibu villa with sensational gardens, the projects featured in The Meaning of Home were selected not only for their beauty, but also because of the special relationship designer Jeffrey Alan Marks built with each of the homeowners. Take chef Suzanne Goin, author of the foreword, who Marks befriended when he transformed her Laurel Canyon residence. That initial bond led to designing the popular Goin eateries Tavern and The Larder—known as much for their fine cuisine as their inviting aesthetic. Just back from finishing a luxury 18-suite fishing lodge deep in the jungle of Belize for the Belcampo Group, Marks sat down with C to dish about living on the California coast—and looking good while doing it.
What is the best thing about growing up in the Golden State? The light and space! We are so lucky to have an abundance of room to spread out. I’ve been near the ocean my whole life: first, growing up in La Jolla; then, the Marina district of San Francisco during college; and now, Santa Monica Canyon. That, for me, is the ultimate luxury. How do your California roots affect your design philosophy? My projects, no matter how formal, always have a relaxed quality. I design first and foremost for comfort, so my sofas are filled with a little more down, my chairs have a slightly more reclined pitch, and I always try to incorporate a place to lounge in a room. Even bathrooms get a sofa or chaise. Your must for outdoor entertaining? A pile of extra cashmere throws on the terrace, for friends. In Santa Monica Canyon, it gets a little chilly every night. People don’t think of cold nights in L.A. I think warm days followed by cold nights are so romantic. Every home in Southern California should have… As many trees as possible. California light can be harsh, so to really make the most of living here, a home should be nestled in a good canopy of green. Dappled light makes rooms much more interesting and inviting. If I weren’t a designer I would be… An investment banker, so I could hire only the best designers! What three things can always be found in your own home? Hummus with veggies, dog treats and fresh flowers. No sunset is complete without… Great friends to share it with. jam-design.com.
Written by Andrea Stanford
Photographed by Douglas Friedman