A celebrated interior designer and one of the stars of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Decorators” & “Property Envy“. Mary McDonald’s iconic style combines old-world elegance with a bold, modern sensibility.
With a flair for drama and a love of glamour, Mary has an unmistakable old Hollywood style that has landed her work on countless magazine covers and made her one of House Beautiful’s top 100 designers.
Projects range from the refurbishing of Buster Keaton’s legendary villa to the redesign of Bel Air’s Luxe Hotel to the bold overhaul of the Monika Chiang boutique in Soho. Her first book, Mary McDonald: Interiors: The Allure of Style (2010, Rizzoli), is in its fifth printing with a followup due in 2015.
Initially she considers the architecture and exterior surroundings. From there she marries the client’s desires with existing design elements and what needs to change in order to achieve synthesis between the two. At this point, she usually has a couple of overriding design inspirations to present so everyone may agree on the approach forward. “In a nutshell, it’s architecture, surroundings, structural changes, furniture plan, finishes and textile schematics, loosely in that order with a couple arm twists somewhere in between,” she says.
Her work is noted for its mix of old-school sensibilities with very modern graphics. McDonald says she’s not trying to be the edgiest but simply create a fresh version of the classics that have always worked.
She’s consistently drawn to the classicism of the Greek and Romans, followed by 18th-century neoclassicism, and the neoclassicism of the 1940s and 50s as exemplified by Maison Jansen. She’s drawn to the various incarnations of these recurring themes and silhouettes of these time periods, and sees its influences in her new furniture collection for Chaddock.