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Designer Friday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Marissa Stokes

As head of her own design firm, Marissa Stokes offers an elegant approach to residential design. Though her work has ranged from Montana ranch to New York City skyscraper, Stokes brings a distinct charm to every project. Her tinge of classical style, paired with an experienced use of color and contrast, has gained Stokes attention from a host of clients and publications, including Architectural Digest and Luxe Magazine. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Marissa Stokes.

Stokes brings a polished, classic feel to this NYC East End apartment, adding sparks of color to a balanced color palette for refreshment. Photography: Don Freeman.

Stokes brings a polished, classic feel to this NYC East End apartment, adding sparks of color to a balanced color palette for refreshment. Photography: Don Freeman.

Andrew Joseph: What’s a guilty pleasure you have?
Marissa Stokes: Shopping auction apps. I love scrolling through upcoming sales searching for unique home furnishings and jewelry.

Andrew: What are your ideal weekend plans?
Marissa: Being outside, sitting with friends and family around a big table sharing food, drinks and laughs.

Andrew: What’s something you always travel with?
Marissa: Lip balm, I can’t go anywhere without it, and I have one in every bag and on my desk. My favorite brand is Mongo Kiss which I get at Whole Foods.

Andrew: What are your beauty secrets?
Marissa: I’m a big believer in eating healthy. Keeping your diet as organic and natural as possible is key. I became a vegetarian 15 years ago and I try to avoid foods with additives and high sugars. I think what you eat is the most important thing to keep yourself looking good and feeling good.

Stokes’ practiced eye matches tones in the couch and painting to create a subtly sophisticated sitting area in this Montana home. Photography: Don Freeman.

Stokes’ practiced eye matches tones in the couch and painting to create a subtly sophisticated sitting area in this Montana home. Photography: Don Freeman.

Andrew: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Marissa: To enjoy the moment. Not to waste time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Andrew: What are some of the podcasts you listen to and why?
Marissa: I love to listen to podcasts while I’m driving. The time goes faster, and I always learn something. Business of Home with Dennis Scully and House Calls with Thom Filicia are great. I really enjoy their interviews with leading creatives. I also like Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. I’ve always enjoyed Malcolm’s writing and his podcast is equally thought-provoking.

Andrew: What are three binge-worthy TV shows/Movies that you’ve been watching?
Marissa: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s visually beautiful and funny! The 1950’s costumes and period interiors are amazing. I’m looking forward to a fourth season. Mad Men introduced me to how beautiful a television series could be; their detailed set design, wardrobes and cinematography are to this day some of my favorites. My husband and I love watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It’s a show we put on at night that we can watch together, and it always makes us laugh.

The bright exterior of this Palm Beach home outdoor sitting and dining area is offset by Stokes’ selection of darker neutral tones for a calming environment. Photography: Andy Frame.

The bright exterior of this Palm Beach home outdoor sitting and dining area is offset by Stokes’ selection of darker neutral tones for a calming environment. Photography: Andy Frame.

Andrew: What’s your go-to snack between zooms?
Marissa: Carrots and celery sticks with jalapeño hummus. Actually anything with jalapeño hummus, I’m obsessed.

Andrew: Where is the first place you want to travel now that everything is opening up?
Marissa: The Greek Islands. Greece offers it all; ancient and historic sites, beautiful landscapes, relaxing beaches and amazing food.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Marissa: Classic, timeless and sophisticated.


About The Designer | After earning her BFA in Interior Design from Parsons School of Design, Marissa began her design career at David Kleinberg Design Associates. Following DKDA, she worked at Victoria Hagan Interiors and Jayne Design Studio, where she honed her skills as a designer working on many important classical and historical residential and institutional commissions throughout the country.

Projects Marissa has worked on include the President’s house at a prestigious Ivy league University, a Montana Ranch, a Creole townhouse in New Orleans, a Venetian Inspired Villa along Palm Beach’s Intracoastal, an Upper East Side apartment in a building designed by Charles Platt, NYC midtown skyscrapers including 432 Park and One57 and a Miami apartment in a building designed by Richard Meier.

Photo by Rick Chaffiotte.

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