Friday Favorites…we are obsessed with canopy beds

We have recently become obsessed with Canopy Beds at Marks & Frantz. I have never given them an ounce of thought prior to 2010. They reminded me of the ruffled canopy crib that evolved into a ruffled canopy bed that graced my childhood bedrooms!

As soon as I was old enough to make my own decor choices and because my parents moved often enough, I demanded a new teenage “look”. I went right for a blue & black palette, Conran Shop-inspired formica bed and a little bit of Memphis thrown in. Don’t judge me, it was the eighties in Houston, Texas! There is no way I could have known any better. I couldn’t get far enough away from a canopy bed.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve come around. Kind of fab, right? xo Lisa

Yellow canopy featured in Vogue 2012

Steven Gambrel bedroom

Steven Gambrel bedroom from House Beautiful – my absolute favorite designer


canopy beds designed by Windsor Smith

This canopy bed was designed by Windsor Smith


Trade secrets! From Set Decoration to Interior Design

Please join us tomorrow at the D&D for a talk:  “From Set and Screen to Living Room: The Set Decorator and the Interior Designer.”  I will be on a panel discussion with Cathy Whitlock,  film historian, designer Marshall Watson (his line at Lewis Mittman has graced the sets of the new Katie Couric show). and Ann Maine, editor in chief of Traditional Home, will be the moderator.  For more information and the address, click here.

Design*Sponge Interview

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge.  We talked about set decoration, interior design , and of course, wallpaper!

The radio station, Heritage Radio, where we did the interview was really great – in the back of the super popular Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s Pizza.  Check out Heritage Radio’s great programming here.   I hope you enjoy the interview!!

50 Cent chooses The Top of the Strand

I was thrilled yesterday when the Huffington Post described how Andre Morris, president of Varran Media, chose the Top of the Strand, the rooftop bar we designed,  as the venue for a party hosted by 50 Cent!  “Morris knew that in order to please the celebrity rapper, he’d need a venue with the right mix of sophistication and tranquility” — sheathed in Ralph Lauren fabrics and complete with outdoor fireplaces, he found it in the “graceful atmosphere” on the 21st floor of the Strand Hotel.

outdoor fireplaces at the Top of the Strand

Ralph Lauren fabrics

The article includes a list of the best roofbars in the country – we are in great company! Below is an excerpt of the article by Adam H. Graham, or you can go to Huffington Post to read the whole article and see the list of must-see roof bars.

“Andre Morris, president of Varran Media, had a challenging puzzle to solve last December: where to throw a Manhattan party for his VIP client, hip-hop star 50 Cent. Morris knew that in order to please the celebrity rapper, he’d need a venue with the right mix of sophistication and tranquility; that’s why, once his search began, he decided to “go up”–that is, to look at rooftop bars.

High above the bustling din of Midtown Manhattan, Morris found what he was looking for atop the 21st floor of the Strand Hotel. The Top of the Strand had a retractable roof, chestnut wood-box planters, flickering hurricane lanterns, plush banquettes in wooly Ralph Lauren upholsteries and an overall graceful atmosphere designed by Sex and the City set designer Lydia Marks, which added to the rooftop bar’s selling points. But it was the awe-inspiring views of the city’s skyline that sealed the deal.

“The moment you step off the elevator, you feel as if you’re transported to a South Beach, hot spot,” said Morris. “But once you look up, you’re in the shadow of the Empire State Building.”

Crazy for this closet!

As most of you know, we have designed a few closets-to-die-for! Lydia designed a few for the Sex and the City movies and we recently designed several beautiful dressing rooms and closets for 3 of our clients in 2011. Our most recent gem-like closets have been mostly white, cream, gold with little sparkling mirror accents. When I noticed my friend Mary Alice Stephenson’s Time Out story: Closet Case, I went crazy for her closet! I love the dark-contrast wood, the mod chandelier and the mirrored drawer fronts. Definitely watch the YouTube video, though it made me super jealous! MA, can I move in???

Take a look at some of Lydia’s designs below and check here for a link to our New York Post article about one of our fav closet cases.


Sex and the City 2 closet

And to read more about one of our recently-completed closets, see what Curbed and NBC News have to say!

We have also included a few snapshots of a closet in progress!


Silk Settee by Julia Gray nestled against a beautiful gauzy Austrian shade


Details detail and more details...we have since lined the divider in Fuschia suede, more tk on that one


Needs no caption


and my absolute favorite detail, because it's always better with a bow on it! Love!

Sleep like Samantha in Sex and the City

People often ask me if decorating someone’s home is very different from decorating a set for a film.  The answer is yes – and no.  Every client is different just like every film set is different.

Devil Wears Prada

Big and Carrie’s closet Sex and the City 2

Some clients want to see, touch and sit on every piece of furniture I am going to bring into their home.  Some will give an approval to the design concept and simply ask that their house is finished by a certain date. There are positives to working both ways, it is really about what makes the client the most comfortable and creating a space that the client really feels is their own and wants to spend time in.

SATC 2 foyer

Decorating for a film is similar. I have worked with some directors who need to see a presentation of every single thing that will be on the set.   have also worked on sets where actors dictated some of the key elements of their sets and some that even give an actor complete “set approval”. Sometimes, the production designer and myself will show the interested parties a very basic “mood board” so they get a feel of the set and then I am off and running.

Decorating both Sex and the City films was an incredible experience.  There was an amazing level of trust and appreciation between the Director, Production Designer, Actors and Myself. While there was a great deal of autonomy in the creative endeavor, there were a few instances where the actors would ask us to look at something in particular that they felt was appropriate for their interior.  They knew their characters so well that I was always interested in seeing what they had in mind.

Kim Cattrall is a big fan of D. Porthault bed linens, as am I. When she first asked us to consider them for her bedroom, I was not sure if the brand made sense with her character.  However, after looking through some of the patterns (and printed sheets is what they are famous for), I changed my mind. Tigre turquoise was a perfect fit for Samantha and got tons of attention from all the SATC fans!

Tigre in turquoise

If you want to read more about Porthault’s lines and history, check out an earlier blog post Lisa wrote here.  And now for the good news – D. Porthault is holding their semi annual sale!  From January 16th until February 4th you can save 40-80%!!  You can shop in person in New York City or on their website.

invitation to sale


Also, check out Stylebeat for the details on more great winter sales going on now. Marisa, a former editor at several interior design magazines, has a great eye and a great blog. She has highlighted some of her favorite pieces from these sales. Happy Shopping!


Lindsey Adelman featured in Elle Decor “How to Light up a Room”

We have been huge fans of lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s since day one! Lydia used one of her fixtures to create a drop-dead foyer in Sex and the City and we try to use her fixtures in every client’s home that we possibly can. These beautiful, hand-blown, gold leaf inflected globes add sparkle and glamour to every setting…and the industrial chic hardware is pretty fab, too. Her new work is a deadly combination of milky spikes, ropes, chains and a little jewelry thrown in….can’t wait for an opportunity to design one into one of our clients’ homes.
To read about Lindsey’s tips for the best way to light up a rooom, check out the Elle Decor article online today!

Cinema Style

Cinema Style (a blog that I love) had a great post yesterday:  When Worlds Collide: Fashion and Film.   The post discusses how the influence of celebrity can affect our purchasing choices.  Specifically, moving beyond celebrity endorsements, how celebrity partnerships and inspirations actually may guide this market. Check out the article and while you are there  take the time to look around.  There are a lot of excellent posts to read if you are interested in film design.

At Marks & Frantz we are always interested in these intersecting worlds and try to foster these collaborations in our own work as much as possible.  Our redesign of the Top of the Strand, the rooftop bar at the Strand Hotel in New York City, was a creative partnership with Trina Turk for Schumacher and the set decoration for the films Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada were chock full of fashion/design/furniture crossovers.





Where Fashion meets Furnishings

Early this Spring I had the opportunity to decorate a new TV pilot for HBO called Spring/Fall.  The show is set in New York City against the backdrop of the fashion world and centers around the relationship of two designers – played by Tea Leoni and Hope Davis.

A big part of my job on a TV show or film is to help define characters by creating what their environments look like.  In the case of Spring/Fall this was an interesting task since the premise of the show is all about style and design.  To increase the dramatic tension between the main characters, their very different styles needed to be evident in the decoration of their homes just as much as in their dialogue or wardrobe.

Needless to say, the quest to create original and beautiful sets for the show turned up many, many new sources and products.  I thought it might be fun to share some of them.  Here is one great new find:  Batik Carpets from Odegard.

Odegard’s Batik Kelim designs are hand woven in China in private homes within a cottage industry.  They are flat weaves that are tie-dyed by hand, producing a distinct texture and unique design.  The tie-dye process creates abstract and ethereal motifs.  They are really original and beautiful.  Just what we were looking for for Spring/Fall!


20 Unforgettable American Movie Interiors

Sex and the City 2 was included in Cathy Whitlock’s list of unforgettable movie interiors on Apartment Therapy.  Very exciting for us!  The list is a great conversation starter as well.  Bring it up at your next cocktail party and let the film/design debates begin!! Read the post here.


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