Interior designer Deborah Martin spent her childhood living in Europe, exploring museums and castles with her family before moving to the US and settling on Long Island. Here, we chat with Martin about how her years overseas continue to influence her work today.
Long Island Pulse: How has your childhood influenced your design philosophy?
Deborah Martin: I was born outside London to a British dad and a Greek mom. I grew up in four different countries until I moved to the United States when I was 18. Early on I had this wonderful exposure to global culture and international style. I feel very much at home in an international setting, which is why I maintain a home in Greece and travel back to Europe often. I am continuously impressed by the style leadership and innovation I see in Europe. There is a broader cultural palette there, a marriage of an older culture with the innovation of today…It makes me take more risks. I love the opportunity it gives me to experience emerging trends.
LIP: How would you best describe your style?
DM: I work with all sorts of clients. Some have a modern style; some are very traditional. However, they all seem to find something they are looking for. I bring an emerging style and a signature color palette that my clients are drawn to. It centers around an understated elegance, soft color choices, unique accessories and, for me, lighting is so, so important.
LIP: Why is lighting so important?
DM: It’s my favorite design element. Lighting can make the biggest difference in the home. When you find that spectacular light fixture or lamp, it’s very powerful. I always start by asking how a room’s lighting relates to a room’s purpose. For example, will my client need task lighting for a kitchen or mood lighting in a dining room? For me, a room’s features are revealed by lighting, so it’s important to choose the right pieces.
LIP: What sort of custom services do you offer to your clients?
DM: I offer comprehensive design services from total renovations/build projects to smaller projects and consultations. Sometimes a client will call about refreshing a room or simply for a color consultation. I’ll work with them to help establish a color scheme, which has become a very popular service. So many more people are starting to pay attention to the importance of color and color trends in the home.
LIP: What are some current lifestyle trends you see emerging?
DM: I see a strong concern about the use of healthier products and materials in construction and supplies, especially over the last five years. Also, I’m asked about more casual living and flexible floor plans. My team and I will take a dedicated living or dining room and transform it into a less formal multipurpose room. I’m also seeing an increased use of sliding doors, moveable partitions and screens, that sort of thing. Clients are asking for a more open plan, but when they need privacy, they’ve got it.
Design Tip: A great way to forecast upcoming home design trends is to pore through the pages of your favorite fashion magazines, especially the European ones. What you see on the runways will ultimately pop up in the home.