When Jeffrey Alan Marks renovated his Santa Monica Canyon home, he combined three rooms to form an open bedroom with a 1940s Abercrombie & Fitch rowboat, complete with oars, hung upside down from the ceiling. "I wanted it to feel like a boathouse," he says, "but with a sense of humor." The bedroom is quintessential Marks—an impeccably appointed room with cotton-upholstered walls and a linen-covered bench, but with an unexpected, rustic touch.
If Marks had a slogan, it might be "couture design for barefoot living"—a happy contradiction he observed as a young designer living in England. "The British decorate, then throw in Grandma's chair," he says. "It punches the room up."
Three years ago Bravo gave Marks a broader following by casting him in the network's reality TV series Million Dollar Decorators. Last year he published The Meaning of Home, which documents the best of a 20-year career (including that bedroom rowboat). "My taste tends to be elegant, very European, but I always take it back to being a California beach guy," he says. "In the end the beach house is a state of mind." —Michael Cannell
Get Inspired: See Jeffrey Alan Marks' Lookbook.