Known for his meticulously researched, European-inspired style, Marshall Watson creates interiors that are rich in texture, detail, and simple luxuries. In his first book, The Art of Elegance: Classic Interiors, Watson shares his finest work, showing that while each of these homes is as unique as its owner, they all adhere to principles that transform a mere series of spaces into genuine, coherent homes.
What inspired this career path for you?
Ever since I was a kid, I designed my rooms, dorm rooms, apartments, etc. My design mentors at Stanford led me on the path and, finally, working in New York as a design assistant, set the path.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
House museums, design books, shelter magazines, design blogs, nature, fabric, textile and furniture markets, and European travel.
Tell us about your creative process.
I use my training, my talents, my experience, really everything that I have learned in the course of a lifetime to become a conduit for other people’s aspirations. I respond to the timeless rather than the immediate, always underscored by a sense of elegance. I listen, observe, research, collate, present, collaborate, execute, and install.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Timeless versus immediate, underscored by elegance.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Excellent workrooms, skilled craftsmen, and experienced associates are invaluable to the success of a designer. Their work brings our ideas to life and never ceases to amaze me.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Dick Jenrette, a connoisseur of historically significant homes, David Hicks, Russell Page, John Fowler, Mies van der Rohe, Billy Baldwin, Henri Samuel, and Renzo Mongiardino.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I would like to work on homes built by the architects Delano & Aldrich, or apartments created by Candela — and I would like to work with anyone who understands and appreciates those elegant, well-proportioned residences.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
“Understand proportion and you’re 90% there.”
“Comfort is the ultimate luxury.”
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Veranda and Quintessence
What do you love about Viyet?
Viyet brings an incredible array of beautiful furniture, fixtures, and objects to one place. It makes what is often only available to a few, available to many, allowing everyone to enjoy these stunning furnishings, and giving the objects a second life.