When and how did you form your company? What was your first design job?
Molly Luetkemeyer, acclaimed interior designer and owner of M. Design Interiors, Inc., based in Los Angeles, California, was kind enough to spend time with me and discuss all things color and design. Here is our interview:
Please describe your design company and the location.
We are a small design firm that specializes in high-end residential projects (though we occasionally do commercial projects.) We are located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.
I started the company in 2001 when I completed the design program at UCLA.
While I was at UCLA, I interned for both Kelly Wearstler and Antonia Hutt and worked on a number of exciting projects from the Avalon Hotel to high-end residences. When I formed M. Design
, my first job was renovating and decorating a friend’s first floor in the Silver Lake area.
When did you know you were meant to be a designer?
I had an early mid-life crisis when I moved to LA from New York City and realized I didn’t want to be in the film industry any longer. I was talking to a friend and she pointed out that I was constantly giving design advice, moving furniture, painting walls and hanging art, so why not take a class and see if I wanted to explore it as a profession. During my first course at UCLA, I realized I had found my calling.
Describe your design aesthetic/signature style.
I like color and encourage my clients to be bold. I also like to mix furnishings from all eras, as well as high end and mass-market pieces. That said, it is imperative to me that each home I work on clearly reflects the people who live there and accommodates all of their needs, in addition to looking good.
Who and/or what inspires you in your designs?
Art and nature are my primary inspirations. I find both endlessly satisfying and stimulating. As far as people, I am very inspired by contemporary Dutch design at the moment – Hella Jongerius, Tord Boontje, Maarten Baas, Marcel Wanders, the Droog and Moooi collective, Scholten and Baijings to name a few.
What is your go-to color palette? Do you shy away from any color(s)?
I like working with white walls to create a fresh backdrop for a colorful room. Here in Los Angeles, we have such clear, beautiful natural light and I find that white walls really sing. I think that all colors are useful and can be a wonderful addition if used in the correct proportion.
When designing, what are some of your design rules?
I really only have one – harmony. You can do anything, mix any kind of furnishings, use any mix of colors if you are careful to understand how all of the elements work in harmony. I never want a space to feel jarring or weighted too much in any one direction. I work to get the balance and proportion right in each space so that when you spend time in the room, you feel energized or calm or inspired.
What would you say every room needs as a finishing touch to polish of the room design?
A collection of personal items, be they books or shells found on the beach or childrens' drawings. These items help give the space a layered and personal look and take it from a designed space to a home.
Do you follow color and design trends? If so or not, why?
No. I like all colors and use them according to what works in each specific space. Also, trends come and go and I am trying to create spaces that will last over time and still feel fresh and interesting.
Choose a Perfect Palette color that describes you.
Hmmm. Well, one of my favorite colors from the Perfect Palette is English River (DE5789). I like it because it reminds me of a deep Mediterranean sea and it’s rich and complex as opposed to juvenile and predictable. I don’t know if I would describe myself that way but the color always resonates with me.
What will we see from you next in design? What are you working on?
DE5789 English River
I am currently hard at work on a number of projects – a large summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, a hyper-contemporary apartment in New York’s West Village, a rambling Tudor house in Riverdale, NY, a Spanish gem in high above the Sunset Strip, an African inspired condo in Brentwood and a midcentury jewel in Beverly Hills.
What’s your idea of the perfect day?
Quick and Fun - A Peek into Molly's World
Getting to sleep in, taking my dogs for a hike, going to a museum, having dinner with friends at a delicious farm-to-table restaurant and hitting the dance floor!
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?
My electric teakettle. I am a tea addict and I love having boiling hot water in seconds, especially at the office.
What’s your favorite design accessory?
My camera. I am constantly taking photographs of plants and things I see on the street and scraps of paper and inspiring color combinations. I refer back these images often when I am looking for a fresh start for a space.
Do you have a uniform or “lucky” outfit/something you wear that makes you feel like it’ll be a great day?
Sadly, my uniform tends to be my workout clothes. I always intend to put on a cute outfit but often, the phone calls and emails start coming in as soon as I get off the trail or out of the gym and I jump into my day without realizing that I never changed. God bless the women in my office. They must really be shocked to see me day after day looking like that!
Are you a books or Kindle person?
I am a book fanatic, especially art and design books. That said, I travel a lot and love my iPad because it is one tenth of the weight of the books I used to lug with me.
What’s your signature fragrance?
Romeo by Romeo Gigli. I have been wearing it for years. It was discontinued in the late 80s and I have to buy dead stock on eBay. I live in fear of the day I can’t find it anymore.
What’s your favorite meal?
I love pasta of all kinds but I try not to indulge too often for fear of not fitting into my clothes.
What’s your influential movie?
That’s a hard one. I find myself thinking about scenes and costumes and colors and moods from so many. Some of my faves are This is Spinal Tap, All That Jazz, True Romance, Far From Heaven and Orlando.
What’s your favorite season?
Spring. It is so full of promise.
What’s your most prized possession?
My house. It is my laboratory and I am grateful to have a space to experiment.
What’s your last splurge?
A Chloe bag. It is so damn beautiful. I feel happy and polished every time I pick it up (even in my gym clothes!)
What’s the one place we should not miss when we visit your area of LA?
LACMA (Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art). They have wonderful exhibitions, a beautiful sculpture garden and their permanent collection is excellent. The new Broad space is a dynamic addition.
Catch up with Molly as she talks color on one of her projects in her feature with us "Envisioning A New Bel Air."
To contact Molly, www.mdesignla.com
To read Molly's blog, www.mollyloot.com
All Photography courtesy of and permissions by Molly Luetkemyer