November 6, 2016
Q&A with Interior Designer Marlaina Teich
Long Island-based designer Marlaina Teich answers our questions on her full-service boutique design firm, Marlaina Teich Designs.
by New York Spaces
NYS: What is your design style? What are you most known for?
Marlaina Teich: My style is unique to each project, but I always incorporate my signature mix of color, pattern and texture. It excites me to envelope a room in color and to incorporate a variety of finishes to create subtle excitement in spaces. My first job in NYC was in fashion which is where I fell in love with the textures and patterns of the fabrics, the color stories that were created for the upcoming seasons. The thrill of the workroom and the reaction of the buyers who had the power to make or break the line, inspired me and really served as a foundation for my future career in home furnishings design.
NYS: What does Marlaina Teich Designs offer as a full-service firm?
Marlaina Teich: MTD is a full-service boutique design firm—our projects include residential as well as commercial spaces. One room makeovers to new builds and everything in between. Space planning, 3-D rendering, custom furnishings and selections... whatever is necessary to build a project from the ground up, and always keeping the budget as a priority without sacrificing function or style. Our strength lies in understanding the needs of the client and handling any and all issues that may arise in a project, offering solutions that exceed client expectations.
NYS: What is a running end goal for you and your firm when working with clients?
Marlaina Teich: To create a space that is truly a reflection of my client, and bring creative ideas to the table that fit their personal style and needs. The end result should look effortless and inviting, but also timeless and luxurious. I understand the impact that well designed spaces can have on people's lives, so designing a space that exceeds their desires is the number one priority.
NYS: If you are ever lacking in inspiration, where or what do you turn to?
Marlaina Teich: So many aspects of life inspire my designs--nature, fashion, architecture, different cultures, world images—all these visuals and experiences are a source of inspiration for me.
A big source of inspiration for me comes from the people I am designing for. My client's lives create inspiration for my designs, and developing a strong relationship with my clients--one where I can intuitively know what they are saying without them putting it into the exact words--is somewhere I can always turn to get inspiration.
NYS: What are a couple of tips you would give to someone designing for small spaces?
Marlaina Teich: Don't be afraid to use color or pattern in small spaces. Some of the most interesting rooms are small but make a strong impact with the application of saturated color or a bold statement wallcovering.
Lighting can change the world! Use lamps to illuminate a corner, to create as welcoming glow in a room. Accent lighting adds a layer of dimension in every space – setting the mood and tone. Overhead lighting alone is cold and boring—layers of light allow the eye to move through the space, making a small space more varied and interesting.
NYS: Where and what would your dream project be?
Marlaina Teich: This sounds fanciful and maybe ridiculous but if I close my eyes I can imagine myself in Dubai, designing for a rich sheik and his family, where no material is too expensive and I can live out my fantasy creating a home filled with finishes of marble and gold and crystal and luscious fabric covered walls.... Stopping just short of over the top and of course still keeping it classy. If that's possible with an overload of marble and shine...
NYS: What are some of the advantages of designing commercial spaces?
Marlaina Teich: Designing a commercial space has its pluses- generally we have an end date that's firm and this helps move the process along at a healthy pace to ensure that the installation is complete in time for an opening. We specify selections and the client tends to make timely, secure decisions. There is an installation schedule that is also adhered to strictly. This is great because the project is installed on time, the client is thrilled, pays the balance and the space is ready for business.
In residential design there is a more emotional attachment to the project on the part of the client. It is their home and there are so many variables that can delay the process if we aren't in control – like opinions from friends or mother in laws that cause the client to question their original decisions. Or other personal life interruptions that can greatly slow the process. BUT the part that I love about residential design is the personal connection that is formed between the client and myself. The best designs, the best results, are where the relationship builds to the point where the client trusts the designer, knowing that the designer really knows what is important to them, their needs, and how they live their life.
NYS: What are you working on now?
Marlaina Teich: Right now I have a roster of projects that I'm working on - a new home build, a major renovation including kitchen and baths as well as the usual master bedrooms and family rooms. I am also working on one of our signature "Destination Design" projects for a client on the west coast. After a walk through and approving the new home that the client just purchased, I am now working with their architect to add personalized additions that will expand and personalize this brand new home and of course decorate the interior of the entire home. And design their pool house, which is always a fun project.
NYS: We hear a rumor you are working on product lines! What types of products and when can we expect to see them?
Marlaina Teich: I am crazy for rugs and so I'm really proud to introduce my new line through Julie Dasher Rugs. My collection has something for everyone- fun bold graphics, tone on tone textures and the ability to customize the colors.
We started with 5 patterns and I have 5 more in a holding pattern- Also I have a lighting collection with Zeev Lighting that I am hoping will debut by April.
NYS: If you could pick a country to visit to gain design inspiration from, which would it be and why?
Marlaina Teich: Spain, particularly the city of Barcelona, is somewhere that has always stood out to me. Everything about it is so beautiful—I'm so inspired by the art, the architecture and the people of that amazing city. I could go back time after time and still be captivated by it. One place that I missed and wish I hadn't was Morocco. It is so intriguing and mysterious, and from what I understand the fabrics and rugs that you can buy on the street markets are colorful and inspiring.
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