Designer Spotlight: Jeffrey Alan Marks

Jeffrey Alan Marks’ designs are infused with fresh informality, good nature and playful charm. Internationally recognized as one of today’s most influential American designers, this California talent captures each client’s personality to create timeless and livable interiors.

From London townhouses to Malibu beach compounds, Jeffrey’s work resonates. His thoughtful spaces are purposeful and authentic, begging to be lived in. For over two decades, his firm’s relaxed yet tailored interiors have stood apart. His spirited style reaches beyond his residential and hospitality projects, to a wider audience, through his “JAM Approved” collaborations with leading home fabric and furnishing manufacturers.

Often invited to share his design philosophy and laid-back personality, Jeffrey is a favorite among worldwide television viewers and design industry forums. Jeffrey’s broad range of projects and inspiring design approach is often featured in global design publications such as Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, Town & Country, the Wall Street Journal Magazine and Vogue Living. His work can also be enjoyed in his first book, The Meaning of Home by Rizzoli in 2013.


Who gave you your "big" break in the design business? Did you have a mentor?

Colefax and Fowler in London gave me my first big break. I attended design school in London and immediately felt at home with their design sensibility. John Fowler’s work continues to be a big inspiration for me and I learned so much from working under them. After I graduated school I worked for Jon Stefanidis who became my mentor. I feel privileged to have worked with one of the greats and his textile arts and room compositions continue to drive my work. Whether it be interior work or garden design I am still amazed by his juxtaposition of styles.


What qualities do you think are important to become a successful designer?

The two greatest qualities one must possess to be a successful design, or a successful person in general are patience and imagination. Patience for both yourself and your clients as sometimes jobs can take years with lots of twists and turns throughout the process. Not every moment of working on a house is as joyful as the final reveal. Imagination is key for as designers we are tasked with creating a life for the space and our clients. Often times when I tour a potential house with a client or a lot I immediately have a vision of what I think the space should be.


Has your design aesthetic changed over the years? If so, how?

Having been trained under traditional designers, I have found I resonate closest with timeless interiors. My use color and composition in my spaces has not changed much throughout my career as I tend to avoid overly trend focused styles. My greatest design inspiration has always been nature so it helps keep me focused and grounded.


What is your non-negotiable in accepting a design job?

Throughout my career I have seen all types of clients and jobs. Any designer working in California, especially LA, can tell you a story or twenty. At this stage of my career I will only accept clients that I can feel are in a good place in their life. Incompatible couples are extremely hard to work with as you are trying to balance both needs, so I gravitate towards more secure relationships to work with and build their home for. It may seem small, but potential clients that don’t offer a water or anything during a several hour greeting I also tend to turn down. A small act like this can speak volumes of a persons character, far more than the square footage or bank account figures.


What are your favorite LUCCA pieces and why did you choose them?

I have always been such a fan of Steven’s work. They can live so beautifully in both a traditional interior or a super modern space. Both the set of chairs and the table are also very JAM approved. They are tailored and comfortable and feel at home in the California landscape.