A Parisian State of Mind

Photography By Francis Augustine
Interview with Marie Burgos

Paris-born Marie Burgos started looking for interior design classes while she was working in the food industry management. The hobby soon turned into a career and the bicoastal designer started her own firm in New York City in 2008.

How would you describe your design style?
My unique family heritage and experiences inform my design style. My family hails from Martinique, an island rich in colors and natural tropical inspirations. Paris is a city of great architecture and incredible fashion. I was born and raised there. I was drawn to peaceful interiors by my experiences in Paris, London, and New York due to my frequent travels. My surroundings suddenly became more important after I learned about feng-shui, which promotes harmony and balance. In my designs, I incorporate the five elements of nature–water wood fire earth and fire–into my designs. These elements can be represented using shapes, textures, or colors. I balance the opposing forces of yin/yang by combining light and dark colors, hard and soft surfaces, straight lines with curves, and harmonizing both light and shadow.

What did your path to designer look like?
My father was a fisherman and my grandfather was a sugarcane field worker. This is why my path to design wasn’t easy. I earned a bachelor’s in marketing and business, and then worked in the food industry in four countries. Later, I took interior design classes at New York University. This hobby eventually became my entire life.

I launched my firm in 2008 while I was working full time in a different field. In August of that year, I decided to quit my corporate job to devote my time to designing and have not looked back. My first project was a Manhattan one-bedroom remodel. This client is still my friend today. My latest contract, which I signed last week, was a referral from her. I’m now a bicoastal designer, designing lofts, townhouses, hotel suites, and offices, and I also launched my first furniture collection in 2018.

What was the overall goal of the West Village residence?
My client and his family wanted a space that reflected their French culture, was comfortable and casual, and that felt like home. The space had to reflect comfort, culture, and fun. It needed to feel like they were in a boutique hotel, but also as a weekend getaway.

My client wanted to be in a position to see his entire family from every angle. This remodel involved removing several walls to create this amazing room. To create a space that is both comfortable for entertaining and family life, flooring, lighting, and features like the custom library and fireplace were all integrated.

How would you describe the style of this space?
The design of this place is a global inspiration thanks to its many art pieces and deep tones. The idea was to bring in casual luxury using a combination of solid woods and beautiful fabrics, soft skins, rich metal finishes, striking lighting, and other materials. To open up the kitchen and dining space, one wall was removed. The other was to open up the office and screening area to the living room. To make the home more personal, I used deep colors and displayed art from the client’s collection.

What is your favorite part of the home?
Looking into the living area from the office pocket door, I noticed the bright colors and the nurturing colors.

That dining room lighting feature is so unique. Is it custom-made?
I designed the piece and had it made by me. It was made by a local weaver.

What was the concept behind the wide banquette seating?
The apartment is located on the second floor in a West Village luxury building. It’s surrounded by beautiful trees and people walking to and from the parks and cafes. My client enjoys having his coffee outside and seeing the world around him, just like in Paris. We made it more comfortable for him. A custom cushioned daybed was created with a pullout table at the side for him to have his coffee. The daybed has a space underneath for books, while the nearby millwork houses magazines.

The primary bedroom has a luxury hotel vibe. How did that happen?
I wanted to create a Parisian feel in my apartment. My client owns a beautiful oak bed that he loves and was the perfect anchor for the rest. Because the ceiling is structurally and architecturally complex, we kept the walls clean and did not add any molding. The walls were decorated in warm, rich tones. For a seamless look, the floating bookcases and floating nightstands were made from the same wood. The warm tones were continued with bright orange accents on the Vladimir Kagan Contour chaise-lounge and Gamba wool rug by Jan Kath. For a more intimate touch, the lamps are all in black.

The number of built-ins in the space is amazing. These built-ins are either original or design choices.
All items were made to order. My client is a collector so every art piece, object and memorabilia must have
A dedicated space. We created the millwork and adjusted the walls to accommodate the art pieces.

Do you have a couple of go-to paint colors you find yourself using over and over?
To create the boutique hotel atmosphere my client wanted, I used many warm tones in this space. However, White Dove by Benjamin Moore is my favorite. The classic, softly-shaded white is my favorite. It’s both light and bright. I like to use moodier shades such as Dior Gray from Benjamin Moore.

What is your biggest design pet peeve?
Monochromatic and all-beige interiors are not my style. It is depressing to me that there is so little personality and no life. Nature is the inspiration for life, and there are many textures and colors out there!

Do you have any advice for someone who is struggling to get a space to come together?
You should only include what you love in your home. You should not be unsure about a piece. Your intuition will guide you.

What is your dream project?
As I can please both children and adults, I love designing for families. Family homes are my favorite project. My dream project is to design a boutique hotel with many spaces that create a home away form home for many people.

You’ve lived in several of the top cities in the world. Which one resonates most with you?
I’m a New Yorker. I met my husband in New York. Despite the fact that we are from different islands, our families also come from the same town and live on the same street. Who would have thought? Both of our children were born in Brooklyn. New York was where I switched careers to become a designer. You will find a city that embraces you and challenges you to make your dreams come true.

How do you handle setbacks?
Although setbacks can be frustrating, there are always solutions and it is often only a matter time before things turn around. You can overcome any challenges with kindness. People will listen if you are calm and will offer their help if you remain calm. Once you’ve built these relationships, it will be for the long-term, regardless of whether they are contractors, millworkers or artisans or clients. This business is built on people.

For more info, visit marieburgosdesign.com

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