Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Joseph Marini

From meal-spiration to home decor ideas, to garden sanctuaries, Joseph Marini is the go-to designer for teaching you all things home economics. Want to understand how to properly set a table for entertaining? Joseph will guide you through the best tips and tricks for an effortless finish. Thinking of learning a new recipe? Joseph is here to help you learn and build off those skills to better your home cook aspirations. Not only does he offer a wide domesticated skill set, but also has a home and garden shop where you can buy beautifully made pieces to add to any room. He is a true master of design, which is why I introduce you to this week’s Designer Friday, Joseph Marini of At Home With Joseph.

This fully renovated foyer was designed by Joseph in his very own home.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Joseph Marini: From an architectural perspective, I favor a home that has a traditional floorplan with a distinct separation of rooms that perform individual functions. One which has provenance and has not succumb to alterations of modern-day design trends. I prefer rooms that are uncluttered, moody, restrained and subtly layered with patina. I like furniture with classic lines, inspired by the simplicity and functionality of French and Swedish furniture. The room, furniture and its appointments should tell a story, while creating a calmness through its nuances, rather than overpowering with a wow factor. As an avid gardener, I collect aged stone and iron garden pieces that can be found dotted throughout my home giving it a relaxed and welcoming feeling. While I believe you can take ordinary flea market finds and elevate the perception of their importance, nothing in my home is so precious that it cannot be used and enjoyed.

Joseph’s passion for design has led him to teach people how to create the perfect place setting for entertaining your guests.

Andrew: If I can live in any home in a movie or television series, what would it be?
Joseph: I’ve always fantasized about living in Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale’s mansion, Gray Gardens, in East Hampton. I have had visions of preserving the iconic Shingle-style house and hosting great parties in it. I can imagine walking through it for the first time, regardless of the squalor, seeing all of the possibilities the home could once again possess.

Andrew: What would be the name of your debut album?
Joseph: I would steal Diana Ross’s song title: I’m coming out. I’m always changing, and I believe there is always more to come from life. At any stage in my life, whether I felt on top of my game or completely down and out, I have always had a desire to show that there is more and have learned the hard way not to compare my idea of success with my perception of others.

For the holiday’s, Joseph makes sure to create an organic and classy eating experience. He loves to include a mixture of personal heirlooms and new dishes. Pictured on the table is glassware from Timeless Stemware.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Joseph: I am a very good cook. Food is innate within me. My entire life has revolved around entertaining, and so I do not really have a specialty. When you understand food, you lose that singularity. Cooking for me is more about creating community and nurturing people as opposed to having a dish that I have mastered. With that being said, I think that I most love making soup. They are very wholesome, nourishing, versatile, flavorful and I don’t believe anyone has ever said they don’t like soup.

Andrew: What is your favorite cocktail?
Joseph: Aside from a really good red wine. My Quarantini. I like old-fashioned traditional drinks and mine has always been a vodka gimlet. After spending so long in quarantine having gimlet after gimlet, I decided it was time to add some flavor, so to Rose’s lime juice I add a splash of pineapple juice and a splash of Poms pomegranate juice. Shaken really well and finished with a squeeze of fresh lime, it’s light, delicious and refreshing.

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Joseph: I don’t spend a lot on clothing. I have a terrible habit of getting everything stained while cooking or worse, ruining a new pair of sneakers by jumping in the garden with a shovel convincing myself I won’t get them dirty. I do invest in quality eyewear though. Glasses for me are akin to what many people would spend for shoes. My glasses are innately a part of who I am, so I choose wisely and make a significant investment in them.

Of course, Joseph’s favorite room in his home is the kitchen. That is where he can escape to and experiment with new recipes. He is a strong believer that a kitchen should be a totally separate room from the rest of the home, which is why he has always been drawn to them.

Andrew: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
Joseph: My dream project would be to curate and author a collection of titles re-interpreting the principles and topics within Home Economics for the 21st century. A manual to teach and inspire people how to live authentically and holistically within their homes, from cooking and cleaning to decorating and gardening.

Andrew: What’s one ingredient you put in everything?
Joseph: Salt. Salt is the greatest developer of flavor in almost everything. Fine sea salt, kosher salt and Maldon salt are always found in my pantry.

About The Designer | Joseph Marini, a veteran caterer, event designer and ardent host has dedicated his life to perfecting the art of entertaining. He even has had the humble honor to cater an intimate function in which President Jimmy Carter was the esteemed guest of honor. Joseph has also pioneered two retail locations: a home and garden shop in Essex, Ct catering to interior decorators, celebrities, and a well-regarded gourmet food and housewares shop in Atlanta, Ga which featured his prepared dishes, event services, specialized cooking classes and private dinner parties. His most memorable event was a candlelight dinner for 40 for a Colonel of the United States Air Force.

The youngest son of a prominent home builder and a self-taught interior decorator with a unique style mixing French and Southern style with his coveted garden objet, Joseph has honed his domestic skills in Home Economics through ten residences that he has bought, decorated, entertained in and successfully sold, from New York City to Florida. His work has been featured in New York Times, Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, Design Sponge, Bay Magazine, Tampa Bay Times, Martha Stewart Weddings, Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, Phoenix Home, New England Home, Town and Country, Atlanta Magazine and Town and Country Weddings.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

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