Designer Crush Q&A: Marcia Prentice


We love Marcia’s versatility as a designer and photographer, and totally respect her passion for travel and how it influences her work. And speaking of travel…check out her last answer to the Designer Crush Q&A to see where this jet-setter is headed next! 

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what’s your favorite thing about how you’ve designed your personal space?

I live in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles. It is central to all the great design stores and of course LACMA. The architecture of my apartment far beats out the decor – that doesn’t mean the decor is bad, but you really can’t beat an almost floor-to-ceiling window that stretches the length of the living room and offers views of the Variety building and the LA skyline. Every time I look out the window in the evening (especially when the sun is setting), I say “God I love LA!”

2. What’s your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)?

My dream project would be designing a large Spanish Colonial estate in the Hollywood Hills for Pierce Brosnan. I am sorry but I just can’t get over him in The Thomas Crown Affair (did I say that out loud… I guess I did)!

3. In real life, what’s your favorite project you’ve completed to date?

This is easy! I had a client in Miracle Mile who was pregnant with her first child. She wanted to turn the smallest room ever (I mean really small… think walk-in closet size) into a baby nursery. She showed me the room and I knew it was going to be a challenge, but it has potential… right? The room was empty so I had a blank canvas. Because of the size limitations I really had to be smart about how I used the space. Custom built-ins such as a built-in dresser, seating, and bookshelf were lifesavers. A Madeline Weinrib rug also really pulled the room together. Designing a room for a brand new baby and seeing the appreciation on a mother’s face is the most rewarding design experience you can have.

4. You’ve been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be?

Oh wow – lucky me! I know this may sound lame, but if I can only have one item it would have to be my desktop computer. It is a sad truth, but I can’t live without it. If my computer doesn’t count, then my collection of Wallpaper City Guides which are inspiring me to get out there and travel more.

5. What’s your creative process when designing a space?

It always starts with being inspired. If I am designing for a client, I find out what their dreams are and what inspires them – listen, listen, listen. From there it is always a great idea to discuss budgetary constraints early on, so everyone is on the same page and I have a clear direction for where I will be shopping.

6. Where do you score your favorite interior design items? Any shopping tips?

There are so many great design stores in Los Angeles and of course don’t forget about the deals you can score online, especially on flash sale sites such as One Kings Lane or Gilt Home. My current favorite shopping sources are 1stdibs, whyrHymerVintageweave Interiors, Rummage, and Granada Tile. When designing a room in your home, pick out the main furniture and coordinating larger decor pieces and make sure everything works well together before you make any purchases. Also, make sure to have the measurements of your space before you head out shopping and fall in love with a 10-foot sofa and you only have the room for a 9-foot sofa.

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never dream of taking on yourself again?

I really try to stay away from DIY projects; I have come to terms that it may just be better to hire a professional. Ok so don’t judge me, but painting can be very exhausting and a larger project than it seems. I am never going to sign up for painting my place again, I got bored and overwhelmed after an hour or so and had to have someone take over the work.

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?

I have definitely seen a recent focus on textiles. Local textile designer Rachel Craven just recently started selling her handmade linens at Heath Ceramics and I have seen her printed table runners in a few different stylish homes. I have also seen a trend for using Turkish and other global textiles instead of plain white towels in a bathroom. I am currently loving the assorted African linens at Chay.

9. Lightning round!  

Beach or mountains?

Beach! The coyotes, snakes, and large spiders you find in the mountains scare me. It also didn’t help that a friend recently told me that a tarantula (yes, a tarantula!) wandered into her Topanga Canyon home. I would have freaked out and put a “for sale” sign on my house the next day!

Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook definitely – it is much more visual.

Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?

Wallpaper magazine – I feel very cool when I read it.

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?

Spend the money on the kitchen if you like to cook, but if you eat out a lot then definitely invest in the bathroom since you can guarantee that is a space that will get used.

Would you rather shop new or vintage?

I like to shop new, but a high end antique from Europe could definitely catch my attention.

Great view or perfect pool?

Great view! I don’t really swim, but could sit for hours enjoying a great view.

SF or LA?

Hmm… Is this a trick question? Los Angeles because of the weather, but San Francisco definitely comes in right after LA!

10. What’s one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

Travel, travel, travel and bring home decor from other parts of the world. Your clients will appreciate it! And on that note, my big news, that I sharing first here, is that I am headed to Mexico City for a long weekend to soak up the immense culture, architecture, and design inspirations that the city has to offer.


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