‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
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‘Mary McDonald Interiors': An L.A. designer’s latest looks

‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
By Alexandria Abramian Mott

Los Angeles designer Mary McDonald just released a book highlighting some of her most dramatic work. “Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style” (Rizzoli) aims to deliver over-the-top inspiration and goes against the publishing trend of pared-down decor for small spaces. This is all about big statements: huge homes, miles of fabric and exuberant color. Pictured here: the work of artist Jefferson Miles punctuating a “simple” sunroom. (Jean Randazzo)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
McDonald’s West Hollywood office epitomizes her penchant for high drama. After turning the walls pale blue and white, McDonald had Miles hand-paint Chinese branches. On top of that, she put a collection of black-and-white fashion photographs, including pages cut out of old Vogue magazines. On the right, she created an unusual bulletin board by gluing painted cork sections within the closet-door frames. She then trimmed each panel with black grosgrain ribbon. (Melanie Acevedo)
“Mary McDonald Interiors”
In the master bedroom of a house in West Hollywood, McDonald kept the colors to deep gray and white, saying that she was going for something “soothing, feminine and very Christian Dior.” She took out a wall of closets with sliding doors and replaced them with a fireplace, and then added chair rails and moldings. On the coffee table, she assembled her grandmother’s crystal vases. “Individually the vases are sort of ‘grandma,’ but together they are compellingly contemporary and sort of ‘glamma,’ ” she says. The bed canopy was made by attaching draperies and valances from the ceiling, creating the illusion of a four-poster frame. (Melanie Acevedo)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
Same space, different look: When McDonald turned that master bedroom into guest quarters, she swapped out all of the gray for navy blue. Gone is the soft and soothing atmosphere, and in its place is a high-contrast, graphic-patterned space. She had the ottoman/coffee table made with antique metal cast legs that she took from a “worn-out coffee table I had bought at auction because the legs were so fantastic.” The painting above the fireplace is by Mia Moretti and is almost the same shade of pink as the pillows. (Miguel Flores-Vianna)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
McDonald used a piece of Hollywood history in her dressing room. The mirrored table was from the Buster Keaton estate in Beverly Hills. After she helped to remodel the historic property, its owners gave her the table as a gift. McDonald had the piece refurbished but kept its original hardware. She stuffed feathers at the top of an antique mirror to camouflage the fact that some of its ornamentation was crumbling. According to McDonald, the modern zigzag wallpaper plays off against the antiques to keep the room “from being too old-ladyish.” (Melanie Acevedo)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
McDonald, pictured here in her Beverly Hills house, worked as a milliner in her 20s. She still collects new and vintage fashion. The vintage Bergdorf Goodman gown she wears has an original label that says it was made for a baroness. (Tom Casey)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
In another of McDonald’s former homes, this one a sprawling Beverly Hills estate, the entryway makes a big statement. McDonald bleached the wood paneling on the walls because “it was just too macabre for my everyday life,” and kept the limestone arches. The cream-and-ebony patterned floor, she says, was inspired by an English estate. She kept the sprawling room under-furnished to better emphasize the floor. (Miguel Flores-Vianna)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
Total excess? McDonald went all out with leopard print in the library of her West Hollywood house. The furniture, curtains and walls are all done in the same leopard print, which makes the space “more comforting than zany,” McDonald says. She accented the room with striped shades, pillows and chairs, and she kept the color scheme to black, white and gold. “I didn’t invent the head-to-toe animal-print room,” the designer says in her book, “but I think I’ve made the concept my own without making it look like a bordello by giving it a girly, French feel.” (Melanie Acevedo)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
For a client in Hancock Park, McDonald went all-out with stripes in the back patio. She started with fabric for the cushions and drapes. Then she had the walls painted in the stripe pattern, an over-the-top detail that she says adds a sense of dazzle. McDonald even repeated the drapery’s valence pattern on the walls for consistency. (Tim Street Porter)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
McDonald’s take on chinoiserie -- “a good-humored adventure.” (Jean Randazzo)
‘Mary McDonald Interiors’
A Beverly Hills foyer’s elegant, hand-painted wallpaper climbs the walls above the stairs. The modern counterpoint below: a stark, black-and-white graphic painted by hand on the wood-plank floor.

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