His fascination with architecture as a youngster inspired Mark Weaver to study interior design, resulting in the opportunity to work in both fields. Half a century on, Mark Weaver & Associates has left an indelible mark on homes across the globe, creating a symphony of design.
Mark, tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a native of California and moved to Los Angeles from the desert area to go to design school. I started my own business after a brief internship with a prominent design firm. I am very fortunate to share my time between residences in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
Was there an event in your life that sparked your interest in interior design?
Growing up, I was fascinated with architecture. When it came time to go to college, I debated whether to study architecture or design. Ultimately, I decided that a career in interior design would give me an opportunity to work in both fields.
Congratulations on starting your interior design and architecture firm, Mark Weaver & Associates, fifty years ago! What, in your opinion, has been the secret to the firm’s longevity and success?
Thank you! I believe our clients, our staff, and our dedication have been the secrets to the firm’s success. We have a very loyal clientele. My first two clients are still clients and dear friends today. We are a very service-oriented firm and tend to spoil our clients, taking care of their every need. My associate Darrell Wilson and I have worked together for over 21 years. With a master’s degree and background in architecture, he handles most of the construction and architectural detailing for the firm.
What is your process of thoughtfully crafting and putting together a space?
We collect information from the client about their lifestyles, likes, and dislikes and take inspirations from the architecture, the landscape, and the setting. The result is a natural progression from these inspirations.
How important is it that at the end of a project, everything ‘sings’ together?
Having everything ‘sing’ together at the end of a project is very important. We spend a great deal of time and energy on each project to ensure it is unique and carefully curated.
You strive for something better, something more original in your creativity. Please explain.
We strive to ensure each project reflects the tastes of its owners. We want to create something beautiful and exceptional for our clients. The result is a comfortable home environment that is visually exciting. We like to add something unexpected to space to tease the eye.
You said: ‘it’s a contribution of everybody’s ideas that makes a project great.’
All of our projects are a group effort. Success is achieved through a collaboration of ideas from myself, my staff, and our clientele.
How essential are client participation and their excitement to you?
Client participation and excitement is essential. Thankfully, as several of our clients are good friends, this is easily accomplished. Their enthusiastic response to our ideas is motivating. I especially enjoy shopping with some of our clients for antiques, art, and collectibles.
Involving the client in the design process and getting them excited ensures success.
The synergy between all components is vital: architecture, landscape, interior design – how do you go about creating that?
Thankfully, we are lucky enough to frequently work with colleagues with whom we have built relationships. Having synergy between us is, therefore, easy. When working with somebody new, we like to talk through the details of the project early on. If there is something we are not on the same page, this allows us time to align ourselves before we are in the production stage.
There must be a seamless fluidity between the architect, landscape artist, and interior designer. How do you manage to ensure that you’re all on the same page, without egos being bruised?
Constant communication between all parties involved is crucial to the success of a project. Disagreements are rare when everyone is kept in the loop throughout the entire process, and we’re working together as a team with a singular vision.
What are the intricacies involved in merging style and comfort whilst achieving a pleasing aesthetic?
To have a successful project, the residence must be warm and comfortable with a great design aesthetic. We always bring in items that our clients have been involved in selecting to ensure that it feels like home.
I realize it’s like asking a parent who is their favorite child; have there been favored and career-altering projects you would like to highlight?
One notable project for me is a stainless-steel cubist waterfront retreat with a stunning contemporary art collection on the beach in Malibu, California. This was a project on which I collaborated with Marmol Radziner for the exterior. Another is a modest California ranch house, transformed into a stylish modernist residence for a noted model and a celebrity stylist. The home features a collection of modern art and warm antiques. Other highlights include the restoration of a rare Manhattan townhouse featuring a collection of vintage furniture and accessories and the Villa Della Costa estate on the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara.
What inspires you?
Mentorship inspires me. I am a frequent lecturer in Eleanor Schrader’s class at UCLA Extension’s Architectural and Interior Design Program. I strive to give students the necessary tools to run a successful design business. I also travel extensively, both for resourcing materials and for expanding my understanding of other cultures. Anything from food to fashion can prove a source of inspiration.
I assume you had a hand in designing your own home.
I indeed had a hand in designing my own home, and it is a project very near and dear to my heart. It was unfortunately destroyed in the mudslides that took place in Montecito a few years ago. Replete with blue-chip contemporary art and rare antiques, the beautiful Mediterranean structure, inspired by details from the Getty Villa Museum, was once awarded America’s best new home of the year.
Favorite can’t-live-without pieces at home?
Some of my favorite pieces at home include custom recreations I commissioned in Herculaneum and my art collection, which I have amassed over the years.
What style is your new home?
My new home has taken me in a completely new direction. It’s an extensive remodel of a modernist house. It will have clean, uncluttered lines, with warm materials such as bronze, wood, light travertine, and expanses of glass. The furnishings and art will be a collection from periods ranging from the first century BC to the twentieth century.
You have traveled extensively for business and, hopefully, pleasure too. Which places have left a lasting impression, and why?
My Italian heritage has played an important role in my interest in history, architecture, and especially antiquities. I enjoy all world travel, but my favorite place in Italy. I am surrounded by beauty and inspiration at every turn. It is also a wonderful resource for finding the very best design and connoisseur collectibles for a sophisticated clientele. Some of my favorite places to visit while there are The Gypsotheca – Museo Canova in Possagno, the Palladian Villas of the Veneto, the architectural treasures in Rome, and the magnificent ruins in Herculaneum and Pompeii. Naturally, Italy is a great resource for beautiful linens, silversmiths, and spectacular glassworks. And I might add that the food is worth the trip alone!
Exciting projects on the horizon?
I am currently working on several projects with a dear friend and colleague, architect Wade Weissmann. These include a residence in Miami, historical restorations in Nantucket, and of course, my new home in Montecito. We are always excited about the prospect of a new project and a new adventure.