i always love the second day of my MDS Interviews because i get to find out all the favorite things of the people i admire…..i love getting to know about what inspires them…
markham roberts has been a great source of inspiration to me over the years, he is truly one of my favorite designers. i always love his rooms, the way he uses color and pattern, how infuses old with new, there’s always the perfect mix of traditional elements with modern ones, and he always does something a little unexpected, but it works and somehow feels timeless and effortless.
i love books, especially design books, so it goes without saying that i’m beyond excited about markham’s new book markham roberts: decorating the way i see it/ pre-order here. i’ve already pre-ordered more than a few. one for my family room coffee table, one for my office, one to be stacked on my bedside table for quick reference, and i’m sure i’ll find the need for a few more.
there are a lot of amazing designers out there, but markham has something very special, very unique, very refreshing…everything he does is wonderful, so inspiring! like i said i get to know a lot about the people i interview and what i’ve discovered is that markham is also a gentleman, he’s a class act, just another reason why he’s truly one of my favorite designers, and i know he’s one of your favorites too! enjoy!
MR- When I was probably ten, my mother let me meet with her decorator to pick out a scheme for my room, as I had grown out of the jungle print walls and curtains I’d had and loved as a little boy. I chose chocolate brown walls with ivory trim, and I still love brown today, whether it’s a tufted velvet sofa or a pair of suede pants. Brown looks good with everything.
New York Dining Room with chocolate brown lacquered walls
Markham’s living room with chocolate brown sofa
MDS- What is your favorite flower?
MR- Sorry I know the question isn’t what are your top three flowers, but anemones in the winter and dahlias and cosmos in the summer.
Anemones in a NYC Hall
Dahlia’s in clinton corner’s garden
MDS- What is your favorite book?
MR- Of the classics, “Great Expectations” and “The Sound and the Fury”. From our times, “The Stranger’s Child” by Alan Hollinghurst, and I just finished “& Sons” by David Gilbert, which I loved.
MR- Indochine in NY, though Benihana or any Japanese steak house comes in a close second (despite the fact it takes the Silkwood shower to get the smell out of your clothes).
MDS- What is your favorite accessory?
MR- My dog Harriet. I don’t really think of her as an accessory, but I have to tote her around a lot, and I don’t care much about watches or cuff links.
Harriet aka Harrie
MDS- Gift to give or to receive?
MR- I think flowers, food or wine all make nice, useful gifts. As far as getting a gift is concerned, my partner James gives the best gifts – both thoughtful and generous. He usually gives me a beautiful old drawing, but one birthday when I had been working extremely hard, he gave me a perfect little netsuke figure of a sloth and a cluster of snails with a note asking how he could help me slow down.
MDS- Who is your favorite artist?
MR- That question is impossible to answer, so I’ll pick one contemporary artist whose work I love. Julia Condon is a fascinating woman who paints intricately beautiful mandalas depicting different manifestations of energy and light that invite the viewer to open to different states of consciousness and realities.
She is also a great portrait artist. Sitting for her was one of the more interesting and fun experiences I can think of.
Portrait by Condon
MDS- What is your favorite indulgence?
One of my favorite Markham Roberts projects
MDS- What is your favorite store?
MR- James Sansum Fine and Decorative Art and Cove Landing. Both James and Angus Wilkie of Cove Landing are great dealers of art, furniture and decorative accessories. They each have a distinctly chic and learned eye and have helped me build my collection of drawings, Indian miniatures, specimens and beautiful objects over the years.
MDS- What is your favorite vacation spot?
MR- Boca Grande, Florida. We left Naples for Boca Grande when I was 12, and Gasparilla Island was still a sleepy, old time Floridian refuge from the cold Northern winters. The island, though more developed today, still maintains its original character. Places like the fantastic Gasparilla Inn, and the old Library give this beautiful island with its unparalleled beaches, the feel of a forgotten time when things didn’t move so fast.
My ideal, relaxing day is to wake up and either play golf with my father or walk the beach the length of the island with James. Have a late lunch at the club with my mother and play tennis in the afternoon. Meet for a drink at the old bar of the Inn, before dinner at The Temptation, and then stop by The Pink Elephant after dinner for one of their famous hummers (ice cream drink), which puts me out like a light!
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