Mother Knows Best


Surely every designer has a story, but on the cusp of Mother’s Day, it’s the story about their moms that we’re eager to hear. We managed to catch up with a few of our favorite designers and asked them how their mothers influenced their design career. And though each tale is unique, the commonality that we found was how, almost unknowingly, each of their mother’s fostered a spirit of creativity within their children.

From Gray Malin who tagged along with his mother on appointments to Melissa Warner Rothblum who stayed up re-arranging furniture with her mother at all hours of the night, these designers’ mothers helped to shape the people they became and the wonder they create. And that’s something worth honoring.

Gray Malin, Founder and Creative Director, Gray Malin

“My Mother has definitely influenced the direction I’ve taken my career. Although different, her own career was very much in the creative world. Before moving from New York to website Dallas, my mother was an editor for Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines. Once settled in Dallas, she became an established interior designer, where I often tagged along with her on appointments. Whether it was flipping through art books, magazines, going to museums or simply shadowing her while she created, my Mother has influenced my art career both consciously and I’m sure, subconsciously. “


Shannon Wollack, Founder and Partner, Studio LIFE.STYLE.

​“My mother has been a huge influence​ on my design career and most importantly one of my biggest supporters.  I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling with my mom and no matter where we are in the world she’s always up for an adventure. From visiting endless museums, joining me on the hunt for some obscure shop, to trying the latest and greatest restaurant or hotel.  She is a major inspiration both personally and professionally – always cheering me on and supporting the Studio LIFE.STYLE. team!”


Eche Martinez, Founder and Principal Designer, Eche Martinez

“I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Like many future architects and designers, I was constantly drawing and coloring as a child. Some of my fondest childhood memories were spending afternoons at my grandfather’s test kitchen. He had trained at Harrod’s and was an incredibly talented pastry chef. My grandmother, an unbelievably chic and smart woman, ran their catering business which was only a block away from our house. She was obsessed with decorating and enjoyed constantly remodeling and re-designing her home (which went on for decades). When I was ten, my mom decided she wanted to go back to school in interior design. Though she never practiced as a designer, I believe that had a deep impact in the development of my career interests. I still remember her and her classmates working on their projects when I came home from school. I’d sit next to them for hours and learn as much as I could, replicating their tasks; like perspective drawing or building scale models.”


Melissa Warner Rothblum, Co-founder of Massucco Warner Miller

“My mom has always been my ultimate design fan and was supportive from the very start. She would let me rearrange my furniture at all hours day or night – I remember her waking my dad up to ask for his help moving my bed if we couldn’t do it ourselves.  After that, she would let me spend hours arranging my bookshelves so they were just right. Her love of color, pattern, and texture rubbed off on me and I am forever grateful for her support. The fact that she let me take the reins of my own space growing up made a huge impression on me and looking back with a daughter of my own now, I realize how brave that was!”


 Mat Sanders, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Consort

“Growing up, my family owned a kitchen cabinet business, so my mom was always experimenting with home trends. My favorite memory is when, in the early 90’s, she renovated and decorated our Florida home in a pink and teal southwest motif, compete with woven southwest wall hangings and pink Saltillo tile – all of which are now BACK in-vogue, by the way!”


Sunny Ravanbach, Founder and Creator, White Lilac Inc

“My mother was one of the first women of television in Iran. My early years (prior to escaping the revolution), were spent around set designers, directors and an overall creative environment. I would watch the creation of the large scale television sets in awe. Years later, once we settled in the United States, my mother established her own small home decor store. Every creative gene in my body was from my mother and for this I am eternally grateful. She has always fully supported all of my creative endeavors.”



Brittany Zwickl, Partner and Principal Designer, Studio LIFE.STYLE.

“From the very beginning, my mom was a big influence on my design career and aesthetic. My parents were always remodeling areas of our home and I took note of their use of materials and textures.  She also taught me how to style a room and balance accessories, plants, and furniture. She has a great eye, and I learned a lot from her.  Not to mention she’s always been my biggest cheerleader!”



Brandon Quattrone, Co-Founder & Development Director, Consort

“My mother always kept a clean, cozy, and inviting home. There was always a candle lit and it smelled sooooo fresh. She would make me move the furniture around with her all the time. You never knew what the next configuration of the living room was going to be, or when we’d switch the art and arrangement completely. She kept me on my toes, and really taught me to think that there are endless ways that spaces can be designed and programmed! She also had quite a green thumb and kept an amazing deck, front porch, and the yard verdant all summer long!”

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