Marks and Frantz is a multidisciplinary design firm based in New York City. Principals Lydia Marks and Lisa Frantz have been commissioned for notable residential and commercial interiors, television and film projects, including Sex and the City 1 and 2.
What inspired this career path for you? LF: I had a circuitous route to interior design. While working as an assistant beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, my favorite part of that job was creating and telling the visual stories. From there I went into set design for film and tv, then production design for television commercials and set design for print advertising. The real reason I segued into interiors was because people kept asking me to do for their homes what I was doing on set. I found I loved it and here we are.LM: After building and decorating film sets for about 15 years, I started to feel awful about tearing them down after shooting. While the sets are preserved on film and there is that document, the physical thing no longer existed – sometimes after only a few short days. I wanted to give my interiors time to be in the world and not only be something that was seen on the screen. I wanted them to change and grow with clients and be able to take on a life of their own. Also, after giving a lot of advice to various producers and directors over the craft service table, I decided to become a professional!
What is your go-to source for inspiration? LF: It’s everywhere. I spot new fashion trends on the subway and get inspired flipping through vintage textile and design books. LM: Travel, travel, travel.
Tell us about your creative process. Step 1: The concept board. It is like a visual wish-list builder. We create these at the start to spark a general discussion of styles and desires, which will establish the direction of the project while informing and inspiring the design. Step 2: Design Development. In this phase there’s close collaboration with the architect, general contractor, painters, millworkers and other specialty trades. No detail is overlooked. The management of all custom elements for construction, furniture, finishes, window treatments, art and rugs happens in this phase. Step 3: Installation – preferably turnkey. This is like a choreographed dance, and at the end, the audience are the homeowners.
Describe your style in 6 words or less. LF: Classic, traditional, cool. LM: A chic modern/traditional mix: timeless
What’s a staple in your toolkit? LF: Revit, Pinterest, Wunderlist and a good old-fashioned notebook LM: iPhone camera, Pinterest and my Moleskine notebook
Who do you look up to in the design world? LF: Albert Hadley, Dorothy Draper, Steven Gambrel LM: Cedric Gibbons, Slim Aarons, Dorothy Draper, Cindy Sherman