Designer Friday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Marion Philpotts-Miller

Raised by a mother who was in the interior designer scape, Marion Philpotts-Miller was born with a keen sense of style. Stemming from her craving to honor South Pacific design, Philpotts-Miller focuses on this aesthetic through all of the Hawaiian homes she touches. Her firm has won Interior Design Magazine Top 100 Rising Giants in 2018 and ASID Hawaii Award for Excellence. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Marion Philpotts-Miller.

From the breathtaking views this home witnesses to the effortless breeze that fills this space, you may never want to leave this Hawaiian home.

From the breathtaking views this home witnesses to the effortless breeze that fills this space, you may never want to leave this Hawaiian home.

Andrew Joseph: What was your first job?
Marion Philpotts-Miller: My first corporate job was working in the architecture department for San Francisco-based, ESPRIT, in its heyday in the 1980s. ESPRIT’s founders were ahead of their time and that’s where I absolutely discovered my own entrepreneurial spirit. They had such a unique sense of color in their designs. Their approach to architecture and sustainability was like no other brand at the time. And, of course, their iconography and the talent that they brought in was mind-blowing.

Honoring the history of the original home while respecting the client’s wishes for a new space, Philpotts Interiors’ Associate and Senior Designer Avery Solmssen upheld the integrity of this cowboy ranch. From the original lava rock base to the locally harvested jacaranda in the bathroom, this home is a Hawaiian dream.

Honoring the history of the original home while respecting the client’s wishes for a new space, Philpotts Interiors’ Associate and Senior Designer Avery Solmssen upheld the integrity of this cowboy ranch. From the original lava rock base to the locally harvested jacaranda in the bathroom, this home is a Hawaiian dream.

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you would be…?
Marion: Why wait for the next life? Over the years I have pursued architecture, floral design and even being a retail buyer because they all complement one another. I am now working on my own home and its architectural needs. I have also opened a flower design studio and boutique and have been playing buyer at our atelier, Place (placehawaii.com).

Surrounded by serene and luscious greenery while taking a bath is the perfect way to wind down after a long day of work. This indoor-outdoor bathroom allows for the utmost level of relaxation.

Surrounded by serene and luscious greenery while taking a bath is the perfect way to wind down after a long day of work. This indoor-outdoor bathroom allows for the utmost level of relaxation.

Andrew: Who is your Style Icon?
Marion: I really admire Diane von Furstenberg. She exudes a kind of individual style and presence like no one else. I had the honor of meeting her in person. It was a very memorable experience for me. I will never forget what she wore and how she carried herself but, more importantly, how she spoke with such grace and had conviction in everything she did.

How would you define your work in 3 words?
Marion: SOLID. USEFUL. BEAUTIFUL.

Merging functionality with modern elements, this Kona Coast home celebrates history and contemporary findings. The home is made of separate buildings connected by paths leaving an open layout facing visible views of the precious Kua Bay.

Merging functionality with modern elements, this Kona Coast home celebrates history and contemporary findings. The home is made of separate buildings connected by paths leaving an open layout facing visible views of the precious Kua Bay.

Andrew: Who was the nicest person you worked for? Dare you share the worst?
Marion: We currently have the nicest, most amazing clients. When you and your client can be on the journey together, it is the most enjoyable experience. And no, I wouldn’t DARE share the worst! Designers are like vaults filled with more information than anyone would guess!


About The Designer | Marion Philpotts-Miller grew up surrounded by a lush, colorful landscape of island and ocean in the household of her interior designer mother, who helped her appreciate the aesthetic of refined South Pacific living. For Marion, design is moving toward a more artful and environmental consciousness.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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