If you love timeless classic style, you are in for a treat… I am delighted to welcome Charlotte-based designer Mark Phelps today for a Q&A! For over 15 years, Charlotte-based interior designer Mark Phelps has used his traditional taste and tailored approach of design to create a refined elegance within his clients’ homes. “I do not always follow the rules,” he says. “A house should look effortless rather than decorated.” Mark’s ability to combine luxurious textiles and and antiques provides unexpected and one-a-kind detail within each of his interiors. Nationally recognized, Mark was once named one of “America’s Top 25 Young Designers” by House Beautiful. I went a little overboard with the pictures today, but I just couldn’t help myself… his work is just so good! And what I love most about it is that you cannot tell if a room was done within the last few years, or the last few decades. It is truly timeless, and I am obsessed with every single detail.
Q: What made you decide to become an interior designer?
A: I have always had an appreciation for beautiful interiors. As a young boy I would follow my mother around who was an interior designer as well. I paid close attention to details and comfortable yet beautiful spaces. I started drawing house plans including furniture placement around the age of six, and have continued to do so until present day.
Q: Are you originally from the South? How does this influence your style?
A: YES! While I am drawn to southern interiors I have also had the benefit of traveling and being exposed to other areas. However, my style always seems to have a southern flair.
Q: What draws you to traditional interiors, and how do you go about creating an elegant home that stands the test of time?
A: I like timeless and classic styles of furniture usually with clean tailored lines. However, not by any means modern or trendy.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I have a large library of coffee table books as well as every Southern Accents, Veranda and Traditional Home magazine from inception as well as files of pages I have torn out over the years. I spend a lot of my free time looking through all of these to gain inspiration. I am inspired by my clients as well and enjoy making their home comfortable for the entire family. It is a great compliment to me when the husband is pleased and love the work I have done in their home.
Q: How do you mix antiques with new pieces within your designs?
A: I believe that is what I am known for. I always mix French and English antiques with comfortable new upholstery. I believe every room should be approachable and well used. (“but do not put a drink down on one of my magazines”)
Q: Which other interior designers have been most influential to your career?
A: I would have to say Bill Baldwin and Albert Hadley (like many of my peers). I had the pleasure of working side by side with Jane Schwab for several years, and had quite an admiration for her taste.
Q: What key furnishings are worth the most investment?
A: Brown wood English antique chests, sideboards and side tables all can be used in every room of the home. Antique French chairs and fine porcelains.
Q: Do you have any items you like to collect?
A: As I mentioned above, coffee table books, English Staffordshire porcelains, and anything to do with dogs (artwork/porcelains/books)
Q: What are popular collections you see within your clients’ homes?
A: It really varies from client to client. Many have various inherited collections such as art, antiques etc.. However, I love finding what my client loves and helping them start a new collections of their own.
Q: When you are not busy designing, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
A: I love driving around looking at houses (and critiquing). I am very close with my family and spend as much time as possible with them. I also enjoy time with my Whippet, Nick.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Most of the time my clients become life long friends and I have the pleasure of working with them on multiple projects and homes over the years. – I also enjoy now guiding their young adult children with all aspects of traditional design and the appreciation for quality.