Marks & Frantz in The Wall Street Journal – Mad Maximalism Rules!

Bored with white minimalist interiors? This weekend in The Wall Street Journal, there is an article about Mad Maximalism and Over-the-Top-Notch Decor, featuring a Marks & Frantz designed Family Room. As many of our readers already know, we have a crazy obsession with pattern and color! Sure, we have done neutral rooms for many clients;  but rich, lush color combinations and layered rooms make us breathless! The challenge of creating complex interiors that delight the senses at every glance, while appearing effortless, is not an easy task. For this family room, our client said “more is more, bring it on!”

Family Game Room

“This richly rowdy family room, designed by Marks & Frantz, exemplifies the emerging aesthetic that is making minimalist spaces seem tired and barren” – WSJ. Photo by Marco Ricca

Maximalism, here’s how to pull it off! 

This family room is a classic example of a true maximalist interior! Martina Mondador Sartogo, editor of Cabana Magazine, lists 10 key elements that help to bring maximalism to the mainstream. Below are a few more images of the room to illustrate this aesthetic. Here are some of our favorite rules, a “cheat sheet” for the controlled chaos that is maximalism:

Pass on Pastels – you may want to throw in a neutral for a visual rest, but think big

Embellish the walls – paint, wallpaper, love it all

Look down (and up,) ceilings and floors are super important

Seek out the unique

Provoke with pattern, mix scale and pattern type for full effect

Be patient, ruminate and cultivate

mad maximalism rules

Marks & Frantz Family Game Room

Goodbye to bland and boring…

In a world where Restoration Hardware is democratizing design, maximalism is a feast for the eyes. It calls for individuality and personality. It reflects the mind of a collector, the wanderlust of a traveler and the heart of a dreamer. In a time of uncertainty, maximalism is a breath of fresh air.

Family Game Room

Custom biscuit-tufted sofa designed by Marks & Frantz for EF-LM Atelier collection. Sofa fabric is Dedar’s new Splendido velvet. Wall paper is Miami from Cole & Sons

Comfort is key

Another key attribute to a maximalist interior is the desire to walk in and stay a while. The room must be comfortable and inviting. It should evoke the desire to curl up in a corner with a book and sip bourbon with your besties. It should harken back to a time before cell phones, encourage family time and play time.

Family Game Room

Cozy corner banquette designed by Marks & Frantz and constructed by Marks and Tavano is the perfect complement to the shagreen John Lyle game table: backgammon on one side, flips over for chess! The painting on the left is Shawn Delaney and on the right is Eugene Brodsky, both at Sears Peyton Gallery, NYC


Custom Game Room

Custom window treatments by Marks & Tavano, drapery fabric from Dedar. Custom shuffleboard table designed specifically for this room; Venture Shuffleboards


Family Game Room

Custom backgammon table from Alexandra Llewellyn and a silver and gold vintage palm tree from Newel brightens up a corner.


Luxury Game Room

Pair of crystal starburst chandeliers from Matthews Studio and a vintage heriz from JD Oriental anchor the room, design by Marks & Frantz

We are so honored to be in the company of other maximalist “experts” Kati Curtis Design, Alexa Hampton and Michelle Nussbaumer. Thank you again Wall Street Journal and @WSJlife! 

breakfast nook

Breakfast nook by Kati Curtis Design is a perfect example of mixing scale to create visual harmony. 


Alexa Hampton’s very own maximalist bedroom “My version of maximalist is to have a lot of the same color, which allowed me to mix disparate elements but have a veneer of similitude.”



Michelle Nussbaumer’s Dallas library is another great example of how to layer patterns and play with scale.

Some of our favorite partners in pulling off our luxurious interiors and in creating this spectacular family room:

Edward Ferrell – Lewis Mittman for all custom upholstery designed by Marks & Frantz, and to purchase the sofa and swivel chairs shown above. All fabrics in the rooms are from Dedar. Antiques were procured from our most beloved secret sources: JD Oriental Rugs, High Style Deco, , Area ID and Newel Gallery.

Many of our secret sources for custom games are as follows:

Alexandra Llewelyn for the portable backgammon table with inlaid stones and exotic hardwoods.

John Lyle for exquisite game table made from shagreen and ivory. for chess and checkers

Custom-sized shuffleboard table from Venture Shuffleboard, because everyone should own one! 

Contact Us

Have an upcoming design project that you’ve been thinking of and don’t know where to start? 

Click here to arrange a no-cost consultation. We’re looking forward to the conversation.

Lydia Marks & Lisa Frantz









Pink and Green, and other delightfully crazy color combos

Mixing, matching and combining  pink and green color combos is a delicate art form and we relish the challenge! When you put two colors together in a home, the first question to ask: do they marry well? Blend like old friends? Or clash like arch enemies? Combining unusual color combos feel intuitive and emotional, but there is actually a science behind it. All colors are made up of different proportions of the three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. The color wheel exists to calculate the relationships between these colors. Some colors on opposite sides of the wheel are meant to balance each other, like pink and chartreuse. Other colors that are adjacent on the wheel can feel edgy and create a push and pull, like blue and yellow. Please join us for winter Fridays as we chase away the cold weather blues with crazy color inspiration!


Pink and green are classic examples of colors that are on the opposite side of the color spectrum. Complimentary hues of pinks and greens can work in stylish harmony. These color combos can scare many who may see visions of Lilly Pulitzer and other ghosts of preppy past! If Palm Beach preppy is not the look that you are going for, don’t fear, it’s all about getting the dose and saturation right! 

pink and green color combos

Nantucket living room

Color combos of pink and green for the younger set! 

Interior Designers who do crazy color combos so well….


Fabric companies who do crazy color combos so well….

Tips for making color combos of pink and green work:

  • Add in some black and white, they will act as unifiers
  • Play with saturation: the palest pink acts as a neutral against a bold and vibrant green, like kelly.
  • Try accents in the color range. If you are using carnation and grass green, try accents in either fuschia or mint. Don’t overdo it, just one small accent will give you an edge.

Powder Rooms and the art of creating a gorgeous one!

Let’s face it, just having a half bath to call a powder room is a pure luxury for many of us! Pretty much every guest that visits your home will make at least one trip to the powder room. Why not make it completely gorgeous? The secret to make a large impact in this petite space is to decorate it as you would any other room in your home. Here are a few tips to achieve an elevated level of glam and the world’s best looking powder rooms.

Powder Rooms – go big or go home! 

Don’t be scared off by large scale patterns in the tiny powder room. Rather than feeling overwhelming, a large pattern can energize a small space.  The Osborne & Little koi carp wallpaper brings movement and life to this little powder room tucked under a staircase in a Greenwich, CT colonial.

Sexy Legs and all

No need for practicality in the powder room! No toiletries and junk to hide in here so the sink vanity can become a statement piece. Lucite, glass and metal legs add that dose of sparkle, be sure to use nice looking shut off valves and an under mount or drop in sink that looks pretty both top and bottom! This would also be the perfect place to use a brass or nickel sink – big wow factor and you don’t need to work about the durability as you would in a more oft used bathroom.


powder room

Beautiful classic tile and a custom vanity from Urban Archaelogy are harmonious with O&L’s Gerwent Koi wallcovering

Color Splurge

Is there a color that you absolutely adore? Powder rooms are the perfect place to explore and be bold. And don’t forget the “fifth wall,” also know as the ceiling! One more excuse to amp up the wow factor!

Powder room

Powder rooms don’t always have to dress up!

Many of our clients have powder rooms tucked off mudrooms, playrooms, basement bonus areas….they don’t always need to be so formal. Sometimes you just need to have a little fun! 

This powder room does double duty as a changing room off the pool

This whimsical half bath is the perfect complement to the play room adjacent to it. If you look closely, those are tiny pigs in the wallpaper!


Details Details Details: Here is a laundry list of must dos! 

Powder rooms are the place to splurge strategically! Go upscale on the linens, it makes a lasting impression on guests and you don’t need very many! This is the perfect place for a monogram. Julia B. makes beautiful mini guest towels – great for hostess gifts. For those who can’t handle the linen laundering or for a big group, try disposable good quality hand towels, they look like linen and even come with a single monogram for the cult of personality.


Disposable hand towels with custom monogram on Etsy

Julia B insect guest towels make great hostess gifts

  • Spend a bit more on tissue box covers, wastebaskets and beautiful jewel-like soap holders. We are big fans of Pigeon & Poodle for luxury powder room accessories.
  • Use scented candles and diffusers, make the powder room a special place, an oasis.

Andria tissue box from Pigeon & Poodle

Handa Wastebasket by Pigeon & Poodle





What does your dream closet look like for 2017?

As we wrap up 2016 and launch into the New Year, resolutions are on everyone’s minds and the top of our list for a fresh start is organization! What does your dream closet look like? Although we are known for our ultra glamorous Sex and the City closets of Carrie Bradshaw, we pride ourselves in designing closets for everyday life styles and budgets. The most important thing is that your closet is tailored to you…your needs and your lifestyle. Make 2017 all about you and get organized! 

Luxury closet

Luxury closet for Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City

Custom storage solutions, convenient dressing areas, glamorous design details – these spaces have everything you could want in a closet and then some. Here are some tricks of the trade to get glamorous! 

dream closet

Luxury closet in Brooklyn brownstone for a young family with a glamorous Mom

Interested in upleveling your closet but don’t know where to start? Click here to arrange a complimentary consultation with us.

Dream Closet…It’s all in the details

First thing on the agenda for our closet designs is to take inventory. We count the shoes, measure the boots, determine if you are a dress gal or more into pants, assess the jewelry, check out the sunglasses, measure the makeup needs and all the details in between. Special requests are expected….do you need a spot for a safe, fridge, lounge area, tiny makeup sink? Whatever you need, now is the time to plan. Think of your closet as a well-designed kitchen. Functionality is key and it has work for you. Take advantage of awkward corners, shallow walls and spaces under windows. These are clever spots to tuck away shoes, bags and other hard to store items. The best closet layouts have no dead corners and no wasted space! 


Mark & Frantz

Ramp up the style and drama of your dream closet

Luxury details make the closet and even the most basic millwork can be brought to life with a few well chosen specialty items

  • Hardware: go for the unexpected. Bring is brass, lucite, crystal, polished nickel and other luxe metals. You will get a lot of bang for your buck with a few fabulous drawer pulls.
  • Lighting: think outside the box when it comes to lighting. In addition to recessed lighting, add some flair with sconces or library lights. 
  • Mirror: antique or clear, it doesn’t matter! Mirror always adds a touch of glam. Mirrored vanities in closets are great, if you have the space. Another way to add a bit of sparkle is to put skinny strips of mirror on vertical or horizontal closet dividers to add a bit of drama.
  • Paint the ceiling: great place to bring in an pop of unexpected color and/or shine
  • Cover the floor with luxurious, silky carpet or runners.

Beloved vintage and treasured couture

If you love it, flaunt it! Whatever you really care about should be treated with the upmost respect. One client has a very serious sunglass collection. We honored her specs by lining the drawers with hot pink (her favorite color) suede and customizing the compartments for each pair. The same idea can be accomplished on a budget. One trip to Container Store or Bed Bath & Beyond will enable you to create custom compartments for just about anything. Jewelry is key when it comes to organization. Not only will it keep your goodies looking good and tangle free, you will actually wear it more when it’s organized and in plain site. Same goes for shoes, organize by color or by style. Being able to see what you’ve got will get you more mileage out of what you already own and might even stop you from overbuying (maybe!)


Mark & Frantz


Retail secrets

Have you ever wondered why retail stores display the clothes the way that they do? It is not arbitrary, there is a very calculated display science behind every successful boutique and department store.

Dream closet in black

Harmony among the ranks

Color organization is a proven fact! Arrange your clothes by type and then take it one step further and arrange type by color. We have no science to back this up but trust me, it really works. Consistent hangers are another way to keep your closet tidy and orderly. We prefer the slim line flocked hangers from Closette or Real Simple on Amazon. The both come in fun colors, like Fuchsia and Kelly Green, with silver and gold hook options. Throw out those dry cleaner wire hangers before they even hit the closet! 

Accessorize your heart out

Valet rods, belt hooks and tie racks are essential tools to take your closet to the next level of customization. A valet rod enables you to plan outfits for tomorrow or the future. Reduces your stress level the next morning and keeps you organized and panic-free. Also a good goal for kids’ closets. Children are stressful enough when it comes to getting dressed and out of the house, less clutter and organization can alleviate some of this morning craziness.

Mark & Frantz


Nursery closets and builtin changing table…inspired by Dorothy Draper


Newborn nursery closet


Just for fun

Here’s that magic moment where Carrie discovers her new closet…

Contact Us

Have an upcoming design project that you’ve been thinking of and don’t know where to start? Or need your dream closet realized?

Click here to arrange a complimentary consultation. We’re looking forward to the conversation.

Lydia Marks & Lisa Frantz



Save the Date – Young Collector’s Night

Please join Lisa and Lydia at the Young Collector’s Night at Park Avenue Armory on Thursday, January 26, 2017. As members of the Interior Design Committee this year, we encourage all of our family, friends and clients to join us for this special event, part of the 2017 Winter Antiques Show.

The Winter Antiques Show is one of the leading art, antiques and design fairs in the America. The show features an eclectic collection of antiquities through post modern pieces from some of the world’s most interesting dealers. One-third of the Show’s exhibitors specialize in Americana, with the rest featuring English, European, and Asian fine and decorative arts.

Proceeds from this event are to benefit East Side Settlement House. East Side Settlement House is a 125-year-old,  community-based organization in the South Bronx. They work with schools and community centers to bring quality education and resources to residents of the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. Recognizing education as the key to economic and civic opportunity, they help individuals improve their lives each year.  The programs range from basic literacy to specialized technology training.

If you cannot make the Young Collector’s Night, please try to attend the magical Winter Antiques Show on another day between January 20 – 29 at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street.

Come share a cocktail with Lisa and Lydia and take a private tour from 7-9pm! 

Click here to purchase tickets for Young Collector’s Night!

Winter Antiques Show save the date

Young Collector’s Night



4 Home Decor Ideas to Make the Average Room Pop

The following post was written by guest blogger Tara Scott-Johnson of Trulia.

Updating your home doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, the perfect item needed to make your room pop, could be waiting for you at a local junk store. As an example, while designing the set for the film The Devil Wears Prada, designers, Lydia Marks and Lisa Frantz of New York-based Interior Design firm Marks and Frantz, found the perfect mirror to flank what would be Miranda Priestly’s desk for just $40 in an upstate New York junk store. With help from their scenic department, they painted the mirror’s frame, leafed it, stripped it, and painted it again, until they got it right. The mirror made the cut and the rest is movie-making history.

Marks and Frantz home decor ideas from Devil Wears Prada

Interior designers instinctively know what items will transform an average room and give it that wow factor. Here are four popular home decor ideas of the trade:


Accent color walls may be the easiest way to add that much needed pop of color to any room. And, because it’s just paint, it is one of the cheapest ways to spruce up your surroundings. An accent wall should be a trendy color, consider Benjamin Moore’s 2017 Color of The Year, Shadow. Shadow is described as a rich, royal amethyst that fades into the soft lilac-grey of distant mountains or morphs into lustrous coal. This deep neutral tone works with many different color schemes.


Removable – or peel-able – wallpaper is a hot item with renters. It is easy to install and even easier to remove and won’t damage walls like traditional wallpaper. You can get creative with this product; use it to accent a bookcase, decorate a ceiling, or as a backsplash in the kitchen. Available in graphic prints, florals, and even faux tile, removable wallpaper can transform the look of your average room in just a few hours.


Layering rugs has become a popular design trick to transform the look and feel of any space. Smaller area rugs or raw hide rugs placed under a coffee table and atop a larger area rug, makes your living room pop. Similarly, in the bedroom, a small area rug peeking out from under the foot of the bed adds an element of design to an otherwise dull bedroom floor.


Mirrors bounce light around a room and when placed correctly, add depth. By adding a full length mirror at the end of a hallway, the hallway appears to be even longer. When large mirrors are used in a living space, the living space seems to double in size, and when mirrors are arranged in groupings, a simple wall turns into a beautiful and reflective art gallery wall.

Marks & Frantz Home Decor Ideas mirror

Window Coverings

Whether you choose wood blinds, shades or curtains panels, window coverings in any fashion will transform the look of your room. Interior designers prefer to use curtain panels to drape and soften the harsh lines of windows and sliding glass doors. Curtain panels add texture, pattern and color and are available in fabrics such as linen, velvet, silk, and cotton. Currently, the trend is to use curtain panels in the same color of the wall’s paint color. This makes an average room appear larger and gives it cohesive balance.

Marks and Frantz Home Decor ideas window coverings

Ready to reimagine your home but not ready to commit to a full-scale redesign? Click here to arrange a complimentary consultation with Marks and Frantz.



Inside the $50K decadent Thanksgiving feast Served in NYC

Come join Lydia and myself as we splurge at The Old Homestead for a decadent feast this Thanksgiving in New York City, profiled here on ABC News.

The star of the table, an $85 per pound, free-range, organically raised turkey, is deliciously seasoned with an exotic spice mix imported from the Middle East. It is basted with imported $17-an-ounce extra virgin olive oil from Italy.  The turkey stuffing is more than your average stale bread and meat. Old Homestead takes it up a notch by adding $465 per pound imported Japanese prized Wagyu beef, $54-a-pound foie gras and $46-a-loaf sourdough bread imported from the U.K.

The rich meal is also accompanied by out-of-this-world gravy that has been infused with bourbon priced at $2,890 a bottle. The steakhouse’s orange cranberry sauce included wine from France that costs $1,750 bottle. There were two kinds of mashed potatoes: sweet potatoes topped with $1,600-an-ounce caviar and garlic mashed with creamy $35-an-ounce imported white Stilton cheese.

In previous years, the Old Homestead included an engagement ring in the Thanksgiving dinner. For 2016, the package includes other non-edible delights like a Fifth Avenue shopping spree, a one-night stay at the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel, four tickets to the Nov. 20 NY Giants-Chicago Bears football game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and four tickets to prime seating at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Apparently, they serve 3 party seatings of 8 people each and every year, this decadent feast is a sellout! We are dying to know who will be dining with us at this year’s dinner! 

By the way,  kidding about our presence at The Old Homestead dinner….I am having Thanksgiving with friends and family in Brooklyn and Lydia will be with same near Boston. 

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll, enjoy your own decadent feast! 


$50k Thanksgiving feast in New York City




Pattern obsessed? Look here for bold inspiration!

How much is too much? As you might know by now, we are quite obsessed with layering pattern, texture and color. Life is too  short, take a few chances with your decor and follow instincts, be bold! Below is a soothing and elegant dining room in a Georgian Colonial home on the Greenwich, Connecticut waterfront. The simple addition of bright yellow cotton poplin drapes was all it took to elevate this room’s star power. Marks & Frantz is included among 11 designers showcasing bold and clever fabric combinations and we are honored to be included in this creative group, please take a look at these inspiring interiors on Dering Hall.


Since we are on the topic of “more is more” in the pattern and color department, we thought we would include a few images of the runner up options for this article. We made some bold choices in 2016 and are fortunate enough to have clients that are willing to take chances and fall in love with certain fabrics and patterns. Once the client fell in love, we took it from there! 

Marks & Frantz

Marks & Frantz designed this corner banquette in an Upper East Side classic six

Marks & Frantz

Marks & Frantz designed master bedroom in a Greenwich waterfront colonial home.



Flashback Friday – Holiday House luxury game room

As we approach the holiday season, it’s time for an event that is near and dear to us, Iris Dankner’s Holiday House charity show house to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Fund. Recruiting top interior designers in the New York City area, the showhouse was held in a historic mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and was a resounding success for the past seven years, with all proceeds donated to help the quest to end breast cancer forever. We were honored to be invited to create our luxe game room in Holiday House 2015!

For Holiday House shows, all designers’ rooms are inspired by holidays or days that have personal meaning to them. Ultimately, Holiday House is about the celebration of life, each day treated with the same reverence as a holiday and every day without breast cancer commemorated. Marks & Frantz chose Game Day – a luxury game room that celebrates the art of “staying in” and celebrating the day with friends and family! 

In 2016, Holiday House expanded to a summer show house in the Hamptons and this holiday season, Holiday House is moving to Soho!  On the heels of last nights opening party for 2016 Holiday House, take a look at our flashback Friday to November 2015 – a truly magical event for Marks & Frantz.


Marks & Frantz luxury game room

Marks & Frantz – all custom furniture designed by Marks & Frantz for Edward Ferrell – Lewis Mittman. All fabrics provided by Dedar. Antiques provided by High Style Deco, JD Oriental Rugs, Cathy Lerebours, Area ID and Newel. All artists represented by Sears-Peyton Gallery, NYC.

shuffleboard table

Marks & Frantz luxury game room – the most beautiful window treatments were provided by Marks & Tavano with Dedar fabrics. Venture Shuffleboard made a custom table for us that kept our room super popular throughout the event…and the Michter’s Bourbon sponsorship didn’t hurt either! 

Marks & Frantz game room

Marks & Frantz – Cole & Sons launched a new wallpaper with Lee Jofa called Miami! We saw this spectacular paper after we designed the Game Room for Holiday House – it was meant to be! 

Corner Banquette

Corner Banquette with a custom John Lyle game table – we sat in this corner for the 4 weeks of Holiday House, meeting and greeting our friends and guests! 


Art for Charity in NYC this season

As we head into the holiday season and in the spirit of giving, we wanted to share some of the art for charity events that have caught our eye in and around the interior design industry in New York City this month. Design-related charity events are super important to us for many reasons. We get to showcase our work, usually in a fantastical environment that is similar to something we might create for a client, but on steroids and completely over-the-top! At the same time, it enables us to give back  to causes that are important to us.  We are avid participants in design industry-related events that include DIFFA’s Dining by Design, Housing Works Design on a Dime, Holiday House (charity to raise breast cancer awareness,)  Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut and Kip’s Bay Boys & Girls Club. In the spirt of giving, we are showcasing other talented designers who are creating art for charity every Tuesday thru the end of the holiday season.  A big thank you goes to Alison Draper of Halstead Realty for turning us on to so many cool events happening around NYC! Alison’s monthly e-blast, Inbox Concierge,  has been a great resource for cool things to do in New York City, click here to subscribe


November 3, 2016 – November 16, 2016

An extraordinary annual design competition to benefit the most unique food charity, Canstruction, challenges teams of architects, engineers, and contractors to build sculptures made entirely out of unopened cans of food. The idea of Canstruction was inspired by a group of New York Architects and Engineers in 1992 as a way to unite the design, engineering and construction industry. Recognized for their commitment to art, innovation and hunger relief, the art exhibitions and events have grown globally and have helped raise over 40 million pounds of food that is distributed on a local level.

In NYC, this event is sponsored by Arts Brookfield. The large scale structures are placed on display and later donated to City Harvest for distribution to those in need. These amazing sculptures will be on display at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City (230 Vesey Street) from 10a-8p. Images below are some of the winners from past years.  

art for charity marks and frantz nyc skyline

art for charity marks and frantz minions

Art for charity marks and frantz rhino

art for charity marks and frantz snailed it

Snailed It! MTFA Architects Arlington, VA



art for charity marks and frantz skull

NYC Studios



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