Podcast, Episode 18: designer Mark D. Sikes

California interior designer Mark D. Sikes joins the Ballard Designs How to Decorate podcast

This week we have a very special guest all the way from California, interior designer Mark D. Sikes. Mark is a veritable renaissance man with a furniture line, fabric collection, rug collection, book, fashion line, and of course his interior design business. He shares the story of how his Los Angeles home landed on the cover of House Beautiful, his love of fashion and experience working in fashion, how he approaches a new space, and how to get that effortless California style in your home.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn’s trial involves the yearly dilemma of pollen versus outdoor furniture.
  • Karen gives us tips for pruning hydrangeas.
  • My London travel momento is both my trial and my triumph.
  • Karen’s guest bedroom saga continues. This week, she’s talking about paint.
  • Mark shares the process of designing his furniture collection and where his inspiration comes from
  • How his degree in finance helps his interior design business
  • We press him on how he started his MDS Stripes fashion line
  • Mark loves a stripe — so much that he started a striped clothing line — so he schools us on mixing stripes together
  • Why no room should ever look perfect
  • His one design rule is that a space looks like it’s been created over time
  • We talk about California style and how we can bring a little of it into our homes
  • He shares the inspiration and plan for the Coastal Living Idea House that he’s designing in Newport, Rhode Island
  • We talk about his living room in the Southern Living Idea House which was all neutral
  • Of course we have to ask him his decorating pet peeves
  • Mark shares the incredible story of how his house landed on the cover of House Beautiful
  • His decorating advice for anyone looking to start out in the design industry

Karen's guest bedroom saga with her new paint job


Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss and episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    June 18, 2017

    In addition to being an amazingly talented superstar designer, Mark Sikes seems like a humble, kind person with the sensitivity of a true artist. I am even more impressed with him after hearing him speak than I was from seeing his incredible work. Can’t offer the same praise to the interviewers who did not meet him with a sense of rapport. At times they even seemed condescending in their approach to him, doing nothing to really draw him out but he did a great job expressing himself anyway. Mark D. Sikes is truly one of best American designers working today and I do appreciate that Ballard Designs has provided this forum.

  2. Reply


    June 13, 2017

    I really enjoyed this interview! Not only is Mark Sikes amazingly talented in creating timeless interiors but incredibly humble. I find that so refreshing in the design world. The haughty attitudes of many designers is a turn off for those that are looking to find some direction for their homes. I was excited when you ladies asked him what his decorating pet peeve was but also gritted my teeth hoping that he didn’t cross that line that so many do. His dislike for furniture sets and such came across clearly without crossing that line into causing those listening to feel his view is superior and that they should feel bad for making such a mistake. I think he just may be my favorite interior designer now.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      June 14, 2017

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this interview. Mark is a talented designer and as you could hear a humble and delightful person. We loved getting to sit down with him.
      And thank you so much for listening!

  3. Reply


    May 24, 2017

    Yes, it counts as a travel memento because when you look at it, it will remind you of your trip. When you think about how much you saved because of your resourcefulness, it will rekindle your pride! In my book, that’s a two for one.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      May 24, 2017

      Great, glad you approve 🙂 I totally agree, I do think of our trip rather than how I got it home. Thank you so much for listening!

  4. Reply

    Mercedes Beene

    May 23, 2017

    I remember that 2012 House Beautiful cover featuring Mark Sikes. I remember it so well because I saved the cover and the article for my inspiration file. Indeed, it has served as a touchstone for my whole house decorating scheme over the years. Its been fun following Mark Sikes’ progression and evolution in decor. His work remains as fresh, elegant and accessible as ever.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      May 24, 2017

      I couldn’t agree more. I remember pouring over that issue over and over again because I loved his house so much. I hope you have his book because if you liked seeing his house, you would die over his book. Just more beautiful spaces than you know what to do with!
      Thank you so much for listening to the podcast.

  5. Reply


    May 23, 2017

    OMG so excited! I loooove him and his insta feed! I’ve been trying to find his Beautiful book but it’s out of stock everywhere I’ve looked. #blueandwhiteforever. Can’t wait to listen on my way to work. 🙂

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      May 24, 2017

      So glad you are a fan of Mark. I hope you enjoy listening to this episode! I ordered mine on Amazon. It did take longer to come in, but hopefully they still have it!