Designer Spotlight |Mari Robeson | Painter Interior Designer Illustrator

 One of the many things I love about Instagram is its ability to connect us with people who share the same interests and that's how I found the lovely Mari. I'm not sure if it was one of her colorful & playful zebras, elephants, or hand painted works that got me but I knew immediately I was a fan. Its been so fun over the last year to get to know Mari and her work. Its inspiring, unique to her, and puts a smile on your face. Not only does she create pillows, notecards, & fabric she is also an interior designer & painter. I wanted to get inside her head and see what inspires her. Thank you Mari for sharing. Enjoy! Mari In Studio
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E: 1. Tell me about how you got in to design & painting. Which came first.
M: They go hand in hand. I use my illustration when working with my interior design clients and when I'm developing new products for other companies or myself. I've been doing both my entire life.
E: 2. Do you paint/draw everyday. What is your appropriate title?  Painter, illustrator, etc.
M: Yes, I do paint every day. I've participated in the 100 Day Project which is to do something creative everyday and I chose painting. I'm on Day 96!! When I'm not painting for that project I am using it with my clients or in developing product designs. I guess, I'm both a painter and an illustrator but I would say my watercolors are more illustrations.
E: 3. Have you always had an interest in chinoiserie, bold colors, animals, etc.
M: Yes, no matter how hard I try to do something different, that's just what comes out of me. I have my ideas but then I just flow with it when I'm painting. My husband always laughs at me at how easily distracted I am by something pretty. I got lost in the flower department at Vons last week! I'm also a sucker for any kind of cute animal video. So I guess it makes sense that flowers & animals are among some of my favorite things to paint. I also really Love to paint room renderings. Because I'm an Interior Designer, it's fun for me to make up crazy, colorful rooms when there is no client asking for beige everything. I love my clients but the paper gives me great freedom.
E: 4. Do you have any advice for up and coming artists/designers?
M: Don't be afraid to reach out to other artists. A candle doesn't dim by lighting another. (Not sure who said that but I love it.) I'm a huge fan of supporting the arts when ever I can. Also, stay unique. Although there are many trending topics being painted and we are all influenced by one another, try to find your own way of creating. Those are the artists that rise to the top because it's authentic and interesting to see what they will create next.
E: 5. Where do you go for inspiration?
M: Like I said, I got lost in the flower department at Vons... ha ha ha. Inspiration is everywhere. Yesterday when I was at the beach the sand was making the most exquisite patterns, so obviously nature is my first go to. I'm also very inspired by my Interior Designer friends and sometimes I just want to paint a room they created because it's so beautiful. You know this first hand with those amazing chairs you created!! :-)
E: 6. What are your favorite podcasts?
M: I hardly have any time to listen to a pod cast; three daughters, a husband, two businesses, caring for my elderly parents and my two crazy cats leaves very little time for those fun extras.
E: 7. Who is your favorite artist & designer?
M: Oh jeez....there are so many!! For Interior Design past, I have to say Dorothy Draper. She seriously is my spirit animal and paved the way for fearless and colorful design! I also love the architect Julia Morgan who designed many of our houses in California including that little one known as Hearst Castle. She was pretty incredible. My favorite Interior Designers present, have to be the Parker Kennedy boys. Again, fearless with color and decor. BUT there are hundreds on this list!! As far as Illustrators, I have to say Jeremiah Goodwin. He is the King of Room Renderings! What he does with the paint brush and light takes my breath away. I follow him on Instagram and everything he does makes me happy.
E: 8. What is your favorite book?
M: These are really hard questions!! Well, the Bible comes to mind right away but others I enjoy would be The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and pretty much any book that has to do with art, design, travel and entertaining!
E: 9. Can new art live with antique art and how do you combine the two?
M: Oh my yes!! It has too. Just buy art that speaks to you and they will always play nicely together. It's when you are looking for a "wall filler" that things then get more challenging to decorate around.
Rapid Fire Questions:

Coffee or Tea? Coffee but I love Green Tea too.

Sushi or Mexican? Both! Lunch then dinner.

Gym or Hike? Hike! So many beautiful hikes here on the Central Coast.

Book or Kindle? Book, a thousand times over a Kindle.

Mountains or Beach? Beach but Both aka Big Sur.

CalendarCover2016ComingSoon ChimpNotecards&MugPumpkins600 2016TeaTowelPumpkins600

These are Mari's new 2016 Tea Towel Calendar & Pagoda Mugs launching next week. Aren't they fun?

You can follow Mari here:




Designer Spotlight | Ashley Provost Design

She's kind, giving, intelligent, an entrepreneur, and a girl boss. Ashley is a home stager and designer in Danville, CA. Ashley Provost Design helps their customers create stunning living spaces as well as staging homes to maximize its sale and helping it sell faster for a higher price.  I believe her interiors are a true reflection of her. Cool, calm, and collected. I asked Ashley what inspires her, how she got started, and a few other interesting tidbits. I hope this will inspire you to take a few risks.1432878997725

Name: Ashley Provost Location: Danville, CA Current Title/Company: Owner/Ashley Provost Design Q: Tell me about what you do, how long you've been in business, employees, etc. A: I own a home staging business. We set up homes for sale to maximize the home's sale, helping it sell faster for a higher price. This often involves rearranging current items, bringing in furniture and accessories. It also sometimes involves recommending paint color, fixture and surface changes to appeal to higher end buyers. I have been in the industry for 10 years and opened my own business 5 years ago. I currently have 8 team members on staff. Q: How did you get in to design & staging? A: I was always interested in the intersection between commerce and design. I thought I might want to be a buyer for a retail store. But I had a family friend who was a stager and she became my mentor. I strongly advocate for mentorships in this industry. Any craft is best learned from a mentor. Q: What/Who inspires you? A: My honest answer is that almost everything inspires me. That's what I think the gift of design is--being able to see the amazing qualities in all things and then apply that to a project you are working on. The best inspiration comes from travelling--I will notice how spaces are designed differently, using local objects, from hotels to restaurants to houses, and that fresh perspective will change how I approach my work. Lately I've been really inspired by elements of Baja California--Mexican blankets, rustic pottery, succulents against clean lined, straight furniture in substantial materials like wood and concrete. I love blending completely different styles together--it creates a more satisfying experience for someone entering a room. In terms of personal inspiration, it's the people closest to me--my family, my boyfriend, my best friends and my team at work. When you build a small business from a shed at your house to warehouses and trucks--that kind of thing only happens when you surround yourself with a group of people who inspire and advise you every step of the way. Q: When do you find your the most creative? Is there a particular activity you do to channel creativity? A: Again I would say travel is huge. And it's not always far away. Sometimes it's as simple as visiting a neighboring town to experience something different. I read a ton of magazines to relax. Window shopping. Driving through neighborhoods to explore. My creativity comes from seeing what others are doing and channeling it into my current projects. Q: Biggest design mistake people make? A: I can think of a few biggies! Trying too hard to match everything. It's easy to overthink this--a lot of clients get nervous that all wood tones in a room have to match, from chair legs to coffee tables to wood floors to cabinets. Or the styles all have to match. If they are all exactly the same, there is no depth or dimension. You need slight variations. Also painting dark, small rooms white. That won't make it look bigger or brighter. You need a warm, full-spectrum color with saturation in a dark room. Without natural light and updated surfaces, white walls look drab and dated. Q: Best design tip? A: Don't forget to plan for contrast! Using high contrast is the best, easiest way to pack a punch and give your room polish. It can also work wonders to update older surfaces. This can mean contrasting colors, shapes, styles, etc. my favorite trick is to use a dark furniture piece with a striking shape against a light wall. In staging we often using contrasting paint colors on cabinets and walls to inexpensively trick the eye into thinking dated surfaces are new. Another tip that is often forgotten: don't forget to decorate your walls. So many people never get around to buying artwork. I think because it's hard to find something that speaks to you. But having everything on the floor in the room makes it feel heavy and disproportionate. Adding art on the walls really makes a room feel bigger, giving depth to the walls. In staging we try to hang art on the outer walls of the home to draw the eye to the furthest points, leaving the interior walls empty so they are not focal points. This helps a home feel larger and Q: Why is it important to incorporate a few pieces of antiques/vintage into decor? A: You know that amazing crust on a creme brûlée? That is what antiques do for a home. It's that texture, patina, that extra layer that grounds everything. Also, in a big-box retail world, it sets your home apart, which is more high end. 30
August 07, 2015 by 2