Designer Crush: Heather Marx

1. Who is your biggest role model?

My mormor [Swedish for "grandmother"] was chic, funny, kind and had an amazing knack for effortless style in every facet of her life. She was able to create spaces that were worldly, inviting and fresh. She dressed for every occasion whether it was an afternoon in the garden, at the beach or out for a night on the town. My mom and dad also provided me with a diverse education in art and the environment that informs the way I view the world, process beauty and choose fine art for my home and clients.

2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?

There are so many! But I would have to say any Todd Haynes film from the antiseptic stale 80s set of Safe, the psychedelic camp of Velvet Goldmine or the rich luscious 50s suburban interiors of Far from Heaven. The actors are not the only characters in his films — clothes, furnishings, landscape and light are given equal play to tell the story. I am also obsessed with the sets in Tom Ford’s The Single Man. Their elegance and clarity are inspiring, I think of scenes in that movie regularly.

3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?

I alway have a private consultation at my client’s home or office to get a sense of their lifestyle, aesthetics and personality. This is a fun and integral part to kicking-off a project so I can then successfully tailor our selections to their tastes and values both at home and at work.

4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?

I follow current gallery and museum exhibitions, regularly visit art fairs and follow art news to stay abreast of contemporary artists.  While I present the current, ‘trending’ artists to my clients, I am more interested in following an artist’s career over time and learning to fully understand their practice and quality before offering their work to my clients. My gallery background in representing artists for decades certainly influences my thinking on this and allows me to be discerning. I am seeing an exciting trend where artists are expanding their practice and creating work in a variety of media and expanding into design. For example, SF based sculptor Matt Gil has recently launched a new line of jewelry and furniture that capture his signature free form style and we now carry all of his work on the HMxAA SHOP.  I am also seeing a great deal of really good abstract painting these days including LA painter Patrick Wilson (whom I used to represent at my former gallery), and a bevy of Bay Area artists Maysha Mohamedi, Kimberly Rowe, Victoria Wagner, Mel Davis and Amy Ellingson to name just a few.

One thing I do enjoy seeing more of these days in interior residential spaces, is salon-style hanging. Curating a mix of framed and unframed pieces, melding of high and low fine art and heirlooms onto one wall can spell a narrative about the owner and their unique life story.

5. How do you completely unwind?

A good glass of wine, a walk on the beach and, mostly, cuddling on the couch with my five year old son while watching his favorite television show, no matter how silly it is.

6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?

I started my college career as an Anthropology major. After hitting the trails on an archaeological dig in Arizona for two weeks, I realized I loved the art objects we excavated more than the excavation work itself and switched my major to Art History shortly thereafter. I do sometimes think that if I stuck it out in Anthropology, I would enjoy traveling the world, and getting to know all different kinds of people and working in a more academic and global environment.

7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?

I needed to make some extra money during college and, after years of waitressing, I thought it would be ‘fun’ to have a desk job; I was hired as a telemarketer. I was so embarrassed to interrupt people during their dinner, and pitch them a product that I cannot even recall, that I gave my notice after two weeks and never looked back!

8. What’s your favorite recipe?

My family is mostly German and originally from the Chicago area, so, naturally, schnitzel remains one of my favorite weeknight meals.

9. Create your perfect playlist for us.

Oh this is hard. Before I make a list I have to say almost anything from the '70s, most from the '80s and a lot now!


10. Who is your designer crush?

I love the timelessness and comfortable luxury that Jay Jeffers creates in his spaces and appreciate his regular placement of fine art. I am also a huge fan of the stylish and elegant interiors by the late Billy Baldwin and, lastly, Doris Day’s Jan Morrow, the intrepid stylish decorator in Pillow Talk!

Lightning round!

11. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

I like the interplay of both and love a good vintage find, especially '60s coats!

12. First celebrity crush?

John Cusack.

13. What’s your hidden talent?

Singing commercial jingles.

14. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?

Revel has a wonderful mix of small and large plates culled from local and natural ingredients and they mix some mean cocktails in downtown Danville.

15. SF or LA?

Tough one. I grew up in Southern California and love the light, expanse and dreaminess of LA. Yet the drama of SF — its hills, natural beauty, fog and the openness of the East Bay beyond — has a stronger hold on me, so SF.