Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Designer to Watch: Sausalito-Based Molie Malone

TRUE TO FORM: Molie Malone believes that the best design happens when she develops a deeply empathetic relationship with her clients.

Her goal is to design and create interiors of rich comfort and pleasure, in the style and scale that fit perfectly, like a beautifully tailored ensemble

Molie Malone’s life and career trajectory have been fascinating, from growing up in the California Wine Country, her rewarding years as a therapist, to world traveler antiquaire. And each step has enriched her highly successful design career.

Now based in a sunny loft in Sausalito that’s a scenic ferry trip across the bay from San Francisco, she uses all of her skills to craft custom design for fortunate clients.

“It’s thrilling for me to work with my clients’ personal collections of art and objects and antiques. These exceptional pieces enrich rooms and give each design an edge.” – Molie Malone

Meet Molie Malone

I sat down for a chat with Molie Malone recently. Come with me to meet Molie and learn about her design and project management approach.

DDS: Molie, congratulations on your success as a designer and your empathetic approach to design. For you the most important aspect of working with a new design client is first to build a creative relationship. 
MM: Yes, my first career was in mental health. I was a psychotherapist for a number of years before I entered the design world. I worked primarily with young women as part of a feminist practice. I also had the privilege of working with couples and families. It has been a surprisingly helpful background for my design career.

DDS: You become the client’s advisor, and advocate, never a design dictator.

MM: That is absolutely my goal. A lot of time is dedicated in the early phases of any project to assess, not just the client's taste and budget, but other needs as well. There are so many dynamics going on within an individual's or family's life. As designers, we step into their homes and their worlds. I want to make sure I have made an important connection with my clients as early as possible. This allows me to drive the design process respectfully and comfortably for everyone. 

DDS: You had also worked with antiques, from an early age.
MM: I come from a long line of collectors and I was trained early to love furniture and treasures with patina and soul. I purchased my first set of blue and white china at age 15. It surprised no one in my family when I was in the antique world. What surprised me was how it launched my design career. Customers began to me to design their homes. As the projects grew in scale, I returned to school and was re-trained in interior design.

DDS: Tell us about your design for the recent San Francisco Decorator Showcase on the Marina. The de Gournay stairway decor was memorable indeed.
MM: I worked closely with de Gournay, a dream in certain ways. They were generous with their time and resources. Their level of artistry that went into creating the abstract hand-painted de Gournay wallpapers for my entry was thrilling. The metallic finish reflected the light in the most beautiful way. At sunrise, the wall colors were shimmering and subtle, and at sunset they reflected the rich colors of the sun on San Francisco Bay. The wallpapers were made to my exact specifications, using traditional Chinese art techniques and all traditional materials. When de Gournay is the talent and eye, the experience is otherworldly. It was most certainly a career high for me.

DDS: And you recently completed a chic and lovely interior, in collaboration with Mill Valley architect Barbara Chambers. 
MM: Another amazing experience! Barbara is as talented as she is kind. She is a respectful collaborator and unwavering in her commitment to creating homes with brilliant, thoughtful details, but more importantly, soul.

DDS: You’re working all over Northern California. What’s next for you? 
MM: My team and I are very involved and immersed with longtime and new clients. We are creating a home for clients who currently live abroad but will return to the Bay Area when the project is finished. It has been a fascinating process to design and build remotely. It is such a reminder about how small the world becomes with technology. We literally can design for anyone, anywhere. More importantly, this "remotely designed" project evokes such gratitude in me. Cients trust me and my team to create a home for them, sometimes while they live on the other side of the planet, and that is deeply gratifying. 

DDS: I can’t wait to see it. Wishing you continued success and the joy of decorating.

The Perfect Collaboration

Molie Malone collaborated with architect Barbara Chambers on a house in San Francisco overlooking elegant Alta Plaza Park.

This 1920s Italian Revival residence, for a venture capitalist, included a central staircase, a grand foyer, a gracious formal living room facing the park, and relaxed circulation throughout the residence.

Mill Valley architect Barbara Chambers of Chambers & Chambers, a noted classicist, and Malone worked closely to refine the architecture and to create a truly bespoke interior. After an extensive remodel, the house serves as a calm haven.

About Molie Malone Interior Design

Molie Malone found her way to the design world through an early love of collecting antiques. In 2001, she launched her antique company.

Molie traveled extensively to buy antiques and developed her eye for exceptional design. Clients requested her assistance with their interior design projects, and she translated her passion for antiqued into her own design studio, Molie Malone Interior Design. 

Molie creates spaces that are both elegant and easy to live in. A clear and pragmatic approach to design enables her to work on a wide range of projects, both residential and commercial. “The best designs come from close collaborations with a broad range of talent, from architects to fabric designers and craftspeople around the world.

Molie lives in Marin County, California in a 100 year-old family residence. Her passions include nurturing and maintaining her garden.


Molie Malone Interior Design


Mitchell Shenker Photography

Christopher Stark Photography

Melanie Duerkopp Photography

David Duncan Livingston Photography

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