Design & Décor, Living with Style, People, Places & Spaces


Mark D. Sikes: A Private Newport Experience

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One never quite knows what to anticipate when meeting someone of near “legend” status. Mark D. Sikes (or MDS, by which he’s known) is a much-in-demand decorator, furniture and “home” product designer, Instagram star (#BlueAndWhiteForever is almost a trademark) and a fashion designer with a  penchant for white and blue (plus some red thrown in — and did I forget to mention stripes).  In his own words, “I’ve loved blue for as long as I can remember. It makes me happy. The house I grew up in was entirely blue. It stuck with me and I don’t see us breaking up anytime soon…it’s so versatile.”

But what resonated for me after three days in his company was what a truly gentle, kind and thoughtful soul he is. His Instagram posts can make anyone’s day and his genuine interest in everyone he meets is memorable. He apparently lives it, too. When asked his meaning of “true glamour,” he replied — “surrounding yourself with what you love, having your own sense of style, just being who you are.”

If you want to know how this designer lives, enjoy these images of Mark’s own home, which he characterizes in his book, Beautiful: All American Decorating and Timeless Style, as “old Hollywood meets California ease,” interspersed among a fun Q&A  that  gives you a peek into his engaging personality.

1. I’m never too busy to…
Have breakfast. It’s my favorite meal and like you Bettie, I love iced tea. I start my day with several glasses.

2. The best design advice I ever received came from…
Bunny Williams. “Every room should have a few wonderful antiques.”

Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style photographed by Amy Neunsinger

3. My day is not complete without…
Doing a blog post.

4. Favorite piece of furniture/object in my house…
An 18th century chinoiserie armorie. I acquired it 20 years ago. I love it so much I reproduced it for my Henredon furniture collection. Its called ‘The Queens Road Chinoiserie Armoire’ named after the street we live on.

Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style photographed by Amy Neunsinger

5. I feel really at home at…
In the south or Montecito.

6. Something that other people worry about but I don’t is…
Getting sleep.

Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style photographed by Amy Neunsinger

7. Whenever I travel, I come back with…
Books.

8. One of my earliest memories is…
Driving around neighborhoods with my grandparents, looking at houses.

Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style photographed by Amy Neunsinger

9. My greatest indulgence is…
Manicures and pedicures every week.

Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style photographed by Amy Neunsinger

10. Your first style icon is…
That’s easy, Jackie Kennedy.

11. With design, the most common mistake is…
Matching everything perfectly…I don’t believe in matching or trying to be perfect.

Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style photographed by Amy Neunsinger

It was Coastal Living magazine’s Idea House that brought Mark to Newport. The buzz started early! His approach to designing this project…inviting, approachable, attainable, reflecting both east coast and west coast lifestyles…was masterfully carried out. My lasting takeaway was an understanding of, and respect for, the vast range of blues and the moods they can create.

In closing, I had three quick asks…

What is your interpretation of “Newport Style?” MDS was right on when he observed, “elegant, yet very casual and easy. At first glance a bit formal, but when you become a part, [you realize] it’s a bit quirky and artsy. I’m taken with the sense of tradition.”

A lasting memory from your experiences in Newport? “Driving around all the winding streets adjacent to town and looking at the architecture and all the paint colors on the houses. Also, all the American flags. It’s a very special place.”

And what does book number two look like for Mark D. Sikes? “It will be absolutely BEAUTIFUL, I promise!”

Photo Credit: @FergusonDesigns

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