Designer Crush: Proem Studio


By the time Ashley Drost and Marie Trohman founded Proem Studio in 2017, the two Los Angeles-based designers had already found significant success in their own respective solo endeavors. But when both began craving some collaborative energy, the duo decided to join forces. Drost and Trohman say they approach all projects as the beginning of a new chapter, be it a personal or professional endeavor, and strive to create designs that are fresh, inviting, and highly personal. Learn more in our Q+A below.

How did you each get your start in design?

Marie: I was first introduced to interior design when my now-husband bought and renovated a townhouse in Chicago. I was still in college but made time to meet with his designer, Lisa Ewing, and I immediately fell in love with the profession. I love seeing a vision come to life. I love meeting with the GC and subs. I really love a construction zone. It took me a minute to move into the design field from the art world in New York, but when I moved to LA I connected with some mutual friends, Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone. We worked on my house together and after I was done with my maternity leave I hopped on board as a designer for Consort. Working with them helped me make connections in the design community and grew as a designer. Coming full circle, we are now collaborating with Lisa Ewing on a ground-up renovation in Palm Springs.

Ashley: I’ve been drawn to interior design since I was a little girl. My father is an architect and I used to sit in his studio staring at plans of beautiful buildings and imagine what would go inside of them. I never really considered design as a career path until I was in my 20’s, after a brief but wonderful stint as a professional dancer. When I realized most dancers don’t get to work much past the age of 30, I knew in my heart that I wanted to go back to school and get my degree in interior design. After graduation, I moved to LA and began working at a design firm called Thinkpure where I learned the ins and outs of the trade and I was hooked.

You were both successful designers on your own — what made you decide to team up and start Proem Studio together?

M: I find working with other people very rewarding. Plus two sets of eyes and ears tend to capture much more than just one.

A: I agree. I really enjoy collaborating and I think Marie and I compliment each other creatively.

How do you describe your aesthetic and in what ways do you think your style is distinctly Californian?

We think of our style as timeless and inviting, but highly personalized to the individual client. We always strive to strike the right balance between fresh and storied by incorporating local vendors with vintage pieces. We also like to include a lot of natural wood and stone to reinforce the indoor/outdoor California lifestyle that is so central to many of our clients’ homes.

Who are your favorite types of clients to work with and what’s your process for getting to know them?

We take on a wide variety of projects and they’re all so different. We love residential projects because we really get to dive into the dynamics of a household. Commercial and hospitality projects are also great because the relationships, although warm and collaborative, are very professional so there isn’t typically as much client management.

Tell us about one particularly memorable project and what made it so special.

Our most memorable project so far would have to be our Union Square, New York project. We took on a complete renovation of a 2 story penthouse apartment from across the country while Marie was pregnant with her second child. It was quite an undertaking over the course of a year and a half that involved many trips from LA to NY, countless hours on the phone with the GC in the wee morning hours of Pacific Standard Time, and many many FaceTime calls with the client. All of it was worth it in the end, and we are thrilled with the results, as is the client.

What’s one place each of you have never been to but you’re dying to travel to and why?

M: I want to take the Trans Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow. I’ve been to Russia a few times but I want to see more of the country outside of the large cities.

A: I’m currently planning a trip with my girlfriends to Argentina to explore the countryside and drink Malbec.

Lightning round!

First concert?

M: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

A: No Doubt.

Favorite movie?

M: Clueless.

A: Dirty Dancing.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

M: Van Leeuwen cookie dough.

A: Mint chocolate chip.

Go-to karaoke song?

M: I’ll hang, but I don’t perform.

A: “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease.

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