We caught up with American designer and long-time Farrow & Ball fan Mark. D. Sikes to learn more about his creative process, design influences and to hear all about his newly-launched collection of furniture in partnership with Chaddock, customised with 12 colours from our range of richly pigmented, high-performance paint.
You’re known colloquially as the ‘King of Blue and White’, but your work is much broader than that. Describe your aesthetic in your own words
I would describe my work as timeless, classic, All-American, optimistic, and beautiful. I want the rooms in the homes that I design to look and feel good today, but be timeless enough that they would have looked great 20 years ago and will still look beautiful 20 years from now.
Tell us about what inspires you and what your creative process involves. Do you start with a colour, a mood, a print and how does a project evolve from there?
I’m most inspired by nature and the landscape that surrounds a particular project. The design process truly starts with the client’s vision for what they want their home to look and feel like, influenced by what they already know they are attracted to of my style. After we create furniture floorplans to define the function and flow of different spaces, we then tackle our creative process, which is driven by inspiration pictures, key fabrics and colors. That creates the palette and direction for the house. Once the palette is finalized, we create a moodboard for each room with specific furniture, lighting, rugs, wall treatments, and creative applications. We like making physical moodboards with thumbtacks, tear sheets, and fabric and trim samples.
Your style has an All-American feel, spanning both East and West coasts, is there a part of American culture you think has informed your style the most?
I love that American style is informed by an eclectic mix of lots of different styles from around the world. When you put it all together, it feels very comfortable, approachable, personal and inviting. Bunny Mellon’s style defines that aspect of American design for me. She could pull elements from different periods, different genres- a mix of high and low- and when it was all put together, it felt very specific to her, authentically driven by all the things she loved.
You’ve been a long-time client of Farrow & Ball and recently released a furniture collection for Chaddock, using Farrow & Ball paints – can you tell us a bit about your process and how this project came to life?
I’ve always been drawn to painted furniture, and the whole idea of being able to customize pieces and make them your own. So when we were designing the Chaddock collection, and wanted to incorporate color, the automatic inclination was to use the colors we love so much and use so often in our interiors from Farrow & Ball. Most of our design schemes are based around Farrow & Ball colors, so it felt like an authentic and natural collaboration.
Do you have a favourite or go-to Farrow & Ball shade?
I love Skylight.
You have a knack for incorporating an array of textures, fabrics and prints into a space so effortlessly, in that beautiful ‘undecorated’ style. How do you strike the right balance between old and new, modern and classic in a way that makes it all come together so perfectly?
My theory is that nothing should perfectly match and nothing should be the exact same color. I feel like rooms should truly be about texture and comfort and surprises. There are specific formulas that of course we are guided by, but at the end of the day, you know when to stop because it just feels right.
People say you should ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you have’. Do you feel the same way about design? Do you create a space with a lifestyle in mind or create environments for the lifestyle that should exist within it?
I definitely think rooms should function for people as they are. There’s a balance between beauty and function, but most importantly, people should feel comfortable, at home, and a part of the room that they’re in.