Mark Cutler is an Interior Designer, located in Los Angeles, CA. He is originally from Australia, but found a home in the United States and began his company Mark Cutler Design. His company was named one of the “Top 40” interior design firms in the country and is known for being a leader in using design as a form of family portraiture. Oola interviewed Mark to learn more about his entry into the field, design style, and beliefs about the current and future state of the industry!
Oola: What drew you to the field of Interior Design?
Mark: From an early age, architecture was my passion. After moving to the United States and working in the luxury residential field, I started to see what great Interior Design looked like and that drew my focus. So it was a bit of a circuitous path, but I feel like I am now in the right spot.
Oola: How did you get your start?
Mark: I was working for an architect doing large homes, mostly in Los Angeles. We had a client who wanted to hire us and would only do it if we did the interiors as well. I volunteered and became the office Interior Designer… The rest is history.
Oola: You work with a lot of celebrities. Are there any unique circumstances or considerations that might present?
Mark: Yes and no. Some celebrities have extraordinary demands on their time, like if they are doing a movie, an album, or a concert tour, so it may be necessary to meet at weird times or in odd places. I think the strangest was a meeting I had at 2:15AM on a movie set. In other ways they are very typical clients who also want a home that is a sanctuary where they can retreat and just be themselves.
Oola: What’s a common misconception people have about hiring an Interior Designer?
Mark: I think the greatest misconception is that the interior designer is a type of dictator who is going to come and demand their way or the highway. That is simply not the case. While our job is to guide you through this process using our years of experience, our goal is to create a home that is a true reflection of our clients.
While our job is to guide you through this process using our years of experience, our goal is to create a home that is a true reflection of our clients.
Oola: For our readers that may be considering hiring an Interior Designer, what should they be certain to ask before making a decision?
Mark: More than any one specific question, ask a LOT of questions. This process relies on open and honest communication, so you want to make sure that the person you hire, listens and understands the way you communicate. Also be clear about the way they work, a clear understanding of work process will make the job run a lot more smoothly.
Oola: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.
Mark: There are designers whose work I have always admired; John Saladino and Vicente Wolf are two that come immediately to mind. Both of them have a sense of quiet luxury that exists beyond a defined style, and the homes that they create truly tell the story of the people that live there. In that sense, they have been role models for me.
Oola: Do you specialize in a particular type of design?
Mark: My philosophy is that Design is a form or portraiture, so the homes that I create are reflections of the families that live there. They tell the stories of their past, their aspirations, and their values. In that sense no, there is not particular style like victorian or art deco, more an underlying sensibility about quiet strength and passion.
Oola: What advice do you have for others that may want to get into the field of Interior Design? What do you wish someone told you?
Mark: My greatest advice would be to be honest and open. People hire you for your taste and skill, but they also hire you because they are trusting their families to you. You are creating a backdrop for their lives. This is not only a great honor, but a great responsibility. It deserves your best at all times.
Oola: Any new design trends you’re starting to get requests for?
Mark: More and more we are seeing the death of formality. Formal living rooms are a thing of the past and slowly the dedicated dining room is going with it. This new overriding informality requires its own set of skills to create spaces that are versatile enough for day to day living, but structured in a way that they can be suitable for entertaining as well.
Oola: What advice do you have to give to our readers for living life to their tastes using interior design?
Mark: Follow and trust your instincts. I often find that the first reaction you have to a piece is the truest one. Never buy something or keep something to please others. If it’s not right, get rid of it; it will become a cancer in your house.
Never buy something or keep something to please others. If it’s not right, get rid of it; it will become a cancer in your house.
To Learn More About Mark Cutler:
Company: Mark Cutler Design is an interior design firm located in Los Angeles, CA. They offer a wide range of interior design services including space planning, construction, renovation, aesthetic and structural revitalization, and lighting and furniture procurement. On the TV front, Mark Cutler is also the former resident interior designer on A&E TV’s “Makeover Mammas”, and has made numerous appearances on HGTV (Designer’s Challenge), MTV (A Day in the Life of Jennifer Lopez), The Style Network (House Beautiful TV), and Discovery Channel, as well as on KABC and KNBC in Los Angeles. His “creating style for life” design philosophy has won him numerous accolades and the attention of many celebrity and commercial clients.