Marianne Simon on her Signature Style


“I don’t think my personal design style has or will really change,” says Interior Designer, Marianne Simon. With 15 years in the design world, Marianne has perfected and honed her signature look. Traditional but with an updated twist, Marianne’s work is timeless. It can be easy to get caught up in trends but her work is proof that good, classic design always has a place. We chatted with the designer about her recent move across the country, her advice for anyone looking to break into interior design, and what space in her home she loves best.

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Corynne Rug

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You own and operate Marianne Simon Design. Tell us how you got started and how your business has evolved over time.  

I started my firm 15 years ago after working in the corporate world for several years.  I remember designing my own bedroom when I was 5 and for fun would come home from school and rearranged the furniture in various rooms in our home.  I guess you could say design is in my blood. My firm has grown over the years and we currently have projects in all four corners of the nation in Seattle, Los Angeles, Charleston and Virginia.

You recently moved to Charleston! What prompted that decision?  

I was born and raised in Seattle and had never lived anywhere else.  I even went to college in Seattle, so I was ready for a new adventure.  I thought, why wait to retire to move somewhere you really love and a place you would want to live.  I had been to Charleston a few times before and always fell in love with the incredible architecture, history, sunshine of course, beautiful sandy beaches, a great restaurant scene and the friendliest people I had ever met.  I bought a historical home, built in 1780, in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Charleston, so it just seemed like the perfect fit.

Your designs always feel so traditional and classic yet fresh and current. What are your best tips to achieving the look of traditional but with a modern twist? 

I love to incorporate antiques with more current pieces.  I’m a big fan of old crusty mirrors from France paired with a modern piece of art or objects.  I also like well edited spaces that don’t feel too cluttered or over the top. I tend to stick with a neutral palette and soft white walls and then layer from there.  Your home should make you happy when you walk through your front door, so fill it with things you truly love.

What is some advice you would give to someone who is passionate about design but has no education or professional experience in it?  

Find a mentor in the business and absorb as much information as you can from shelter magazines, design books and study the work of designers you admire.  I think you either have it or you don’t. Having a good eye is not something you learn in a classroom.

Your Instagram feed has so much gorgeous inspiration on it. Where do you draw your own inspiration from?  

My inspiration comes from all over the place really, but I do get inspired by travel and walking in my own neighborhood.  Beauty really is all around, you just need to slow down, stop looking at your cell phone screen nonstop, and be present.

Sometimes doing a full renovation isn’t possible due to time and/or budget. What are some of your best tips to spruce up a space in a timely fashion? 

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to bring a space alive.  If you can’t afford to renovate your kitchen or bathrooms entirely, giving tired and dated wood cabinets a few coats of coats of paint will make it look like an entirely new room.

Although you now live in Charleston you still have plenty of clients in Seattle! What are the differences in the styles of each city?   

My design style and the type of work we do hasn’t changed since moving across the country.  When clients hire me, it’s because they love my aesthetic and then we incorporate their own personalities into their homes. If you are just comparing the two cities as a whole, they are complete opposites from each other.

How do you think the switch from the west coast to the south will influence your own personal design style?  

I don’t think my personal design style has or will really change.  I just feel like it’s a better fit for me on the east coast. Everything in my home I brought with me from the west coast and it looks even better here!

What is your favorite space in your home and why?   

My favorite room in my home is my master bedroom.  It sits on the 2nd floor with a juliet balcony off the front.  It has beautiful light, gorgeous paneled walls and an original fireplace mantel.  I have enough room to have a cozy seating arrangement in this room which makes for the perfect place to read and unwind.

What is next for you and your business?  

My business continues to grow each year and I am incredibly grateful for all of my amazing clients that allow me into their homes.  I recently took on our first large scale commercial project that I am extremely excited about!  

 Photos by Haris Kenjar

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