When looking through projects completed by Molly Luetkemeyer of M. Design, the CH+D web team was oohing and aahing like crazy. How can you not get excited when you see such stunning rooms filled to the brink with color, texture and pattern? Since M. Design was founded in 2001, Molly has been bringing her signature "contemporary Bohemian style" to interiors, commercial spaces, and a few speciality projects (like our Small Space Big Style Showcases) and creating rooms with drama and whimsey that are still totally livable. We adore her appreciation for mixing patterns, her fresh take on bold colors, and how every room she creates seems to flourish with the addition of fresh flowers.
We are so inspired by the risks (that always seem to pay off) Molly takes with her design, and are so excited to bring you her answers to the Designer Crush Q&A!
1. Where do you currently live in CA and what's special about how you've designed your personal space?
I live in Los Angeles in Laurel Canyon. I love the rough and tumble vibe up there and my proximity to nature. Owls roost on my roof, hummingbirds and butterflies populate my deck and all this is just seven minutes from the sunset strip!
My house is special to me because it functions as my laboratory - it is constantly changing and evolving. I get to try out ideas that may seem to far out for clients and either love the results or learn from the mistakes. It is a highly personal space inspired by my travels and my idea of far flung locales I have yet to see. [See image #2]
2. What's your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)?
My dream design project would be to go back in time to Rome in the early 70s to collaborate with the Italian designer and photographer, Willy Rizzo on any of his projects for his chic and swinging jet set clientele. I adore his furniture and the louche and sexy vibe of his interiors.
3. In real life, what's your favorite design project you've completed to date?
I would have to say my favorite project is the Greta Grossman house we recently completed. It was a magical combination of a game, chic client, a realistic timeline, a great budget and an architectural gem. I really couldn't ask for more. [See image #3]
4. You've been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be?
My Sergio Bustamente mixed metal bust of a rhino. [See image #4]
5. What's your creative process when designing a space?
The germ of the design idea always comes from walking through the space (if it has already been built) and digging deep with the clients to get the best understanding possible about what they want, what styles they like and how they want to use the space. This is a key part of the process because their answers dictate any architectural modifications and all of the space planning. We often look at books and magazines (both contemporary and vintage) to inspire us and to create a vocabulary for the project. I like to pull palettes from art and rugs and the colors you see out of the windows.
6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?
Flea markets. Any city. Any country. Get there as early as you possibly can; wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat; bring cash and the measurements of any area you are hoping to fill; take chances.
7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?
In my office, we have a joke about a brilliant idea I had to make a curtain out of bottlecaps inspired by the african artist, el anatsui. i thought i had a terrific idea for a window treatment for a showcase house but after two sweaty days of three women pounding thousands of bottlecaps flat with rubber mallets and attaching them to one another with tiny jewelry rings, I almost lost my entire team. The worst part was that the finished product looked like it came out if a third grade classroom. Now, whenever I come up with a genius-but-time-intensive idea, everyone looks at me and says "bottlecap curtain".
8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?
I really don't look at trends. I'm not great at spotting them because my focus is really on finding the right feeling and style for each particular house and client.
9. Lightning round!
Beach or mountains?
Twitter or Facebook?
Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?
Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?
Depends on where you plan to spend your time.
Would you rather shop new or vintage?
Great view or perfect pool?
SF or LA?
10. What's one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?
Keep doing the things that inspire you. Once the business of design takes over, it is easy to push the trips to the museum or the beach or that painting class to the back burner. Don't! You won't have anything fresh or creative to give your client if you let that slide.
Want More Molly?