A kaleidoscopic range of furniture, décor, and wall paint has enlivened this rental abode.
Inside Graphic Designer Jessica Marak’s Colorful Los Angeles Home
A kaleidoscopic range of furniture, décor, and wall paint has enlivened this rental abode.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour graphic designer Jessica Marak’s playful yet sophisticated home in Los Angeles.
For the last 10 years, Jessica Marak has been working as a graphic designer in New York and Los Angeles. Coming from a family of artists meant pursuing a creative career felt natural to her. “I always thought I would go down more of a fine arts path, but my dad steered me toward graphic design,” she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
After questioning the decision because she had never used a computer to create art before, she realised this line of work allowed her to try new things and incorporate her eclectic skillset into her work. "I stuck with it and started to bring my love of drawing and photography into my graphic design work," she explains. "I wouldn't be the creative person I am today without the countless hours of sitting in front of a computer screen.”
She balances her time as a designer with being a photographer, sharing colorful photos and videos of her home, personal projects, and life in LA. "Ever since I started putting my creative talents out into the world more consistently through my photography and content creation, I have had so many amazing opportunities to work with brands that I truly admire." Her portfolio of work includes projects with the likes of Refinery29, Google, and SoulCycle.
Introducing lots of color into a home can be a tricky undertaking but as a graphic designer, Jess is no stranger to pairing hues perfectly. A kaleidoscopic range of modern furniture, décor, and wall colors brings life and youthful energy to her home which she shares with her husband. "When I'm buying furniture or picking out paint colors I'm in Photoshop," she shares.
From the vibrant blue dining chairs to the peach-toned office nook, each space boasts a unique aesthetic. "We ended up with a lot of quirky shapes, rounded corners, and squiggles, but mixed in natural woods, marbles, and sophisticated colors to balance out the playfulness." It's a design-led home but it feels anything but pretentious.
In the primary bedroom, moody blue walls and green velvet curtains are perfectly uplifted by Lilac linen, an orange '70s-style mushroom lamp, and French doors which flood the space with natural light.
We spoke to Jessica about her life as a designer and the thought process behind how she's styled her home.
Hi Jessica! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I have worked as a graphic designer for the past 10 years and along the way have picked up a variety of creative skills and hobbies, one of which is photography. In my spare time, I moonlight as a content creator sharing colourful photos and videos of my home, personal projects, and life in LA.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I come from a family of artists, so it felt natural for me to go down the creative path. My dad is a graphic designer at Hallmark and my grandparents were both painters. As a kid, I always thrived in art class, but never really found my niche. I enjoyed the challenge of trying many different styles and mediums. As a graphic designer, I am always trying new things and get to incorporate my eclectic skillset into my work. One day I might be art directing furniture or props for a live event stage set and the next day I'm designing the logo and branding for a cannabis delivery service.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I always thought I would go down more of a fine arts path, but my dad steered me toward graphic design. On my first day of Viscom class, the teacher announced to the room, "If you don't like sitting in front of a computer screen all day this is not the career for you." I immediately started second-guessing my decision because I had never used a computer to create art before. I stuck with it and started to bring my love of drawing and photography into my graphic design work. I wouldn't be the creative person I am today without the countless hours of sitting in front of a computer screen.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I always start on the computer, which is why I'm so grateful I chose the graphic design path. I can't create without it! When I'm buying furniture or picking out paint colours I'm in Photoshop. When I'm starting a branding project I'm in Illustrator. When I'm creating social content I'm in Premiere or Lightroom.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your business?
Consistency. Back in 2015, I challenged myself to post one thing I found beautiful or interesting every day on Instagram. I would take street photos of a mint green water hose twisted in a swirl on the sidewalk or a pair of pink ballet slippers frozen in a block of ice. I enjoyed it so much that I never stopped posting and to this day I still post almost every day. This daily practice has led to photography projects and brand collabs that fuel me creatively in ways that my day job as a graphic designer doesn’t.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your business?
I had to learn early on to be patient. When I first graduated and moved to New York, I was so ready for my big break, but I didn't have the skills or experience to take on big projects. Now, that I have gotten over the pressure of every project having to be "the one" I enjoy the work so much more.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
Ever since I started putting my creative talents out into the world more consistently through my photography and content creation, I have had so many amazing opportunities to work with brands that I truly admire. I feel like the possibilities are endless and I'm excited about the new ideas and projects I have in the works.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Don't let the current company you are working for define your portfolio or your career trajectory. Just start making cool stuff and the right brands and companies will find you. It's honestly that simple. Oh, and don’t forget to post about it!
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
My husband and I moved to LA about a year and a half ago.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
I fell in love with the arched doorways, casement windows, and dark wood floors. We moved from a 400-square-foot apartment in NY, so we were mostly just thrilled to have extra space for all of our creative hobbies.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
It's a rental, but we went ahead and swapped out almost all of the light fixtures and painted a few rooms to add a personal touch.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I created a mood board of course based on a few themes including ‘60s modernism, Spanish warmth, and playfulness. Garrett and I love to have fun, so we wanted our home to be a reflection of that. We ended up with a lot of quirky shapes, rounded corners, and squiggles, but mixed in natural woods, marbles, and sophisticated colors to balance out the playfulness.
What are your favorite pieces in the home?
One of my favorite pieces is the post-modern stucco shelf in the dining room where I display my collection of colorful vintage glasses. It was one of the first pieces we brought into the space and it fits perfectly. After living in such a small space in NY, it's such a luxury to have space to display my collection.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
We commissioned one of our friends who is an incredible painter to create a custom piece to hang above our fireplace. He is painting on a circular canvas and in a very geometric, modern style. I'm very excited about it.
Which is your favorite room in the house?
My office/guest room is where I spend most of my time. I haven't had a designated creative space in so many years, so it feels so good to have a place where I can work on projects and make a mess and then close the door behind me.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
My top tip for a well-styled home is fresh flowers. They add a pop of color, but also give a whole new life and energy to the space. I love going to the flower market in Downtown LA and buying really unique, out-there flowers. My favourites are push-pin proteas.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
I am branding a candle company right now that happens to be named Marak, which is my last name. It was a total coincidence how we found each other, so when the project popped up I knew I had to do it. I mean, how often do you see your name on a candle?