i+D - November/December 2021 - 38

In the Mix - By Diana Mosher
John Phifer Marrs
asserts a historic
collection in an
antique cabinet can
shine even brighter
in an otherwise
modern setting.
(Image: Courtesy
of John Phifer
Marrs Interiors)
Marrs works with clients to edit, organize,
display, light, and embellish their collections.
(Image: Courtesy of John Phifer Marrs Interiors)
" Interior design is
very cyclical. We're
always looking for
a fresh interpretation
of the past. "
- JOHN PHIFER MARRS
John Phifer Marrs (Image: Courtesy of John Phifer Marrs Interiors)
Showcasing Collections
" Interior design is very cyclical. We're always looking for a fresh
interpretation of the past, " says John Phifer Marrs, principal of John
Phifer Marrs Interiors and past president of the ASID Texas Chapter.
" Bringing in an antique or inherited item helps to give the room a soul and
a personality, " he adds. And the juxtaposition of an antique with a very
modern interior is exciting. For example, Marrs says, seeing the paintings
from the Frick Collection in New York in their austere temporary location
during the museum's remodeling is a wonderful opportunity to see the
art pieces in a different light.
Marrs likes to mix clients' inherited objects and antiques with fresh fabrics.
" When brown furniture is lacquered white, the millennials think it's all new
and fresh, but it's the same old double pedestal Chippendale style dining
table that our grandmothers had. There's nothing more beautiful than a
period, French commode with a very modern abstract meaning above it, "
he adds. " It's the best of both worlds. "
Over the past 30 years, Marrs has worked with many clients who are
collectors, and these projects are featured in his new book Interiors for
Collectors (Gibbs Smith, September 2021). " One is nice. Two is better.
Three is a collection, " he says. " Sometimes we have added entire wings
on the houses. Sometimes it was a room for a collection or as simple as
one wall of a custom cabinet to accommodate a collection. "
Marrs' job has been to help clients edit, organize, display, light, and
embellish the treasured possessions-from geodes and minerals to
pre-Columbian statuary to very old coins. A collection can offer a glimpse
into another place or period in time within the setting of a modern home.
" One of my clients collects Staffordshire and English porcelains during
38
her trips, " Marrs notes. " When you look at all those pieces together, they
take you right to England. Just like looking at a painting, collections transport
you automatically to another place. "
Collections also offer a depth of time or place to a space and bring in a
focal point that might be a different perspective from the rest of the home.
According to Marrs, " An antique cabinet with a collection of ivory or porcelain
will pop in an extremely contemporary, sleek interior where everything
is very simple and plain. " In this high-contrast setting it becomes the
focal point-that's not the case in a room filled with ornate furniture and
accessories visually competing with each other.
An important part of collecting that should not be forgotten or ignored is
refining and editing. " Instead of 50 pieces, pick the best 10, " advises Marrs.
" It's hard to do. A lot of fabulous collectors are undisciplined. Their collection
is stacked all over the place and disorganized. My job is to make the collection
look special and to offer a focal point and a reason for the room itself to exist. "
There are many ways to introduce influences from previous eras into modern
design compositions that uniquely reflect the client's lifestyle. Supplementing
new purchases with found objects that hold special meaning will not only
reduce supply chain issues and help the environment, but will lead to truly
personal and engaging interiors as well.
DIANA MOSHER, Allied ASID,
is a New York-based interior designer and
media consultant. She was the 2017-2019
communications director for the ASID
New York Metro chapter and continues to be
active on the communications committee.
i+D - November/December 2021

i+D - November/December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - November/December 2021

i+D - November/December 2021 - Cover1
i+D - November/December 2021 - Cover2
i+D - November/December 2021 - 3
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