The A List
Mary McDonald's Inspirational Interiors
Read our interview with award-winning Los Angeles based interior designer Mary McDonald - who creates beautiful interiors drawing her inspiration from every corner of the globe and values the harmony of each place, elegantly blending all the elements to emphasize details and colors.
Mary McDonald is an award winning, internationally published Los Angeles-based interior designer as well as one of the stars of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Decorators” & "Property Envy" series. She is consistently ranked as one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 Designers and
Craftsmanship is the one of the last remaining qualities in true design that requires total human engagement in both practice and passion. It stands the test of time over hundreds and even thousands of years representing the human spirit's dedication to elevation.
What does "Made in Italy" mean to you?
It means quality and diverse richness present in an art form be it a dress, shoes, painting, light fabric or goblet. Italy has birthed a large percentage of the world's greatest artists with passionate viewpoints since the Roman Empire and still does. This rich life history is evident in all they produce.
Who/what has inspired the most your work and style?
I love many different places and moods taken from all over the globe represented in a colorful Gypsy Luxe vibe to very patrician neoclassical spaces so I cannot say one thing person or place. I can say that a common thread I appreciate is certain level of decorative arts detail, drama and whimsy always present from early 20th C. decorators such as Elsie de Wolfe, Madeleine Castaing and Nancy Lancaster birthed even further back from the precursor of them all Josephine de Beauharnais as evidenced by her home outside Paris Malmaison. All these women loved a certain level of detail layered upon colors and patterns and it is still a thread I am drawn to in my work to this day.
Describe your design approach and philosophy.
My design approach is to first follow what truly moves you as that is really where you will feel most harmonious. In respect to a space or property I really take into account what I am working with such as an old barn, a Moorish coquina estate or a midcentury treehouse. I think it is important to blend elements with the right amount of complimentary tension so they dovetail instead of cancel each other out.
What is the one design/decor you cannot imagine yourself and your clinents living without?
At the end of the day, color. Some form of color. It expresses mood and feeling.
What is your idea of the ‘ultimate luxury'?
Total freedom to say, do and create what inspires you.