PANTONE Color of the Year 2015- Marsala

Some thoughts, and maybe some venting today….

PANTONE just announced Marsala as it’s new Color of the Year for 2015. Now hear me out, I LOVE COLOR. I am completely color obsessed to a fault. I could literally eat color with a spoon! But the Marsala take over in my inbox and social media feeds left my head spinning this morning, and let’s just say, it was not what I’d call a “good buzz”.


Marsala- Pantone Color of the Year 2015

I’m sure there will be rave reviews in the beauty and fashion world which sets the major color trends, and that’s fine and dandy. Coated skinny jeans? Yep. Anything in suede? Great. Lip gloss? Sure, why not? But for interiors? Well, I have to keep it real and to me, this color is just…. well… heinous. It’s a bit dull and falls short of sophisticated in comparison to the vibrant color selections from Pantone seen in previous years. Actually, to me, Marsala fell somewhere between the burgundy brown lipsticks from Revlon’s yesteryears circa 1990 and vintage mauve hued Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Mauve, muted, brown, blah… aka, dated, done and uninspired.  I truly don’t feel that this color adds any value that a rich brown or garnet couldn’t do in its place.

Anyone remember Revlon’s “Toast of New York?” When she was all the rage, I was just getting into my awkward teenage years, and therefore discovering how (or how not) to apply make up, so I was all about this color, complete with even darker lined lips thanks to Drew Barrymore and her display of this shade, daisies and black ribboned chokers. This era was grunge, goth and apparently… marsala.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Toast of New York


Anyone remember these vintage VS babes? Ha! And yes, that wall color looked just like Victoria’s Secret retail stores in the 80’s and 90’s too. Remember it? Marsala was the old “Love Pink”, they just didn’t know it. Don’t even ask me who they’re calling or if I think that phone works…. but yes, they just might be on the other end of that 1-900 number… ya never know.


So now that I’m older and wiser I’m not afraid to go against this color trend. I really wouldn’t mind if this color blew away as quickly as it came in with all the 90’s resurfaced fads that go along with it. It seriously boggles my mind and makes me start thinking about how and why Pantone selected this color because it certainly wasn’t because it was favorable for interior design! Ok, rant over.

Here are the color palettes Pantone recommends with their new hue. Maybe it’s me, but I’m just not feeling it.








So then, how can you make Marsala work in a color scheme? Since I have to work with design challenges all the time, here is my version on a color palette including this hue. I think grounding Marsala with primaries like bold orange and deep blue round it out in a way that is not as dull and flat.

elds-pantone-2015-marsala-color-paletteWhat are your thoughts? Would you decorate your home in Marsala? Or is it best left on your lips and hips? Let me know!




A Golden Era

Hello all. I have taken a small blogging break following the Pasadena Home and Kitchen Tour, and to also reflect on the recent passing of someone dear to me- my grandmother. She lived a beautiful 96 years and I deeply treasure all the time we were able to spend together. As I started reflecting back, I realized how much she impacted my life in so many ways. For starters, my home, as I’ve stated on many occasions is a mid-century modern ranch, and so is hers. I think my love affair with this style was directly influenced by fond childhood memories and many blissful days spent throughout the seasons at her home. So today’s post is a tribute in loving memory of my grandmother, Mary-Anne Golden.


My Gram was hardly a bird of a feather- she was as bold and proud as the peacocks she raised in her chicken coop.  She was firmly grounded in her beliefs and was never afraid to state her mind. She believed in the importance of family togetherness and her home became the hub of our family as we gathered there for many Sunday dinners, summer pool parties, Christmases and Thanksgivings. She was one of a kind. She was our pen pal. She bent our parents rules, letting us stay up late watching horror films, burn incense in her living room, invade her checkbook as we wrote pretend checks to ourselves for one million dollars and enjoy small sips from her liquor cabinet… that was the Italian in her! She loved culture, cuisine and travel. She delighted in hosting parties, scaring the bejesus out of us kids in games of hide and seek, introducing us to classic films (and narrating each act in our confused little ears), taking us everywhere from the beach to the ballet and teaching us how to do everything from set a dinner table to making Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake. Yes, we were underage, and she let us go for it! She gave us structure and latitude all at the same time. She taught us the importance of hard work. Sure at the time, it seemed like slave labor, I mean, what 10 year old wants to sweep the pool deck? But we were always rewarded with a special treat for our efforts. She loved family time around her large wood burning fireplace, doting on her granddaughters with fancy gifts we couldn’t possibly appreciate until years later like jewelry, french perfume and supple leather handbags. She loved to read, cook, garden and indulge in everything from fine champagne to a hot jacuzzi in her indoor spa. The little things were always big things, and she never overlooked the qualities that made up a good life.

So in her honor, here is a glimpse of the home my grandparents built many years ago, when the neighborhood was nothing but orange groves. Since there were also no streets, they made one and named it Via El Dorado, which means Golden Way. In spirit of a life long legacy, here is a part of my family’s history from a beloved place that will remain in my heart forever.

This is the unassuming entry to the house. To the right of the front door, there is an enclosed courtyard with a koi pond. The fish never stood a chance against my Grandma’s cats!


Large glass sliding doors let in an abundance of light, while the low beamed ceilings add warmth in a very distinct mid century modern style. I can practically hear echoes of girly giggles from happier times jumping off the diving board into the insanely deep pool.


Here is a small window collection of pieces collected from my grandparents’ travels, and below, my grandfather’s study.


They had quite an impressive collection of books, so much so that most rooms in the home have built-ins to accommodate their collection. Years ago, it was professionally catalogued. Do you see the labels? You better believe they are dewey decimaled!


Here is a glimpse of some of my favorite fixtures from around the house. I never thought faucets and knobs could be sentimental, but because they are so unique and impossible to find or replace, they have captured my heart with reminders of yesterday.

These natural stone fish-shaped cabinet pulls are one of my favorites from the master bath. The bathroom is very feminine, with salmon pink terrazzo floors and pink quartz walls. A very groovy travel back in time, full of quality finishes. Perhaps that’s why I love going bold with color!



These blue crystal faucets were a Christmas gift long ago from my dad and uncle to my grandparents that are featured in one of the guest bathrooms. Aren’t they delightful?

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I love the simple elegance of this lighting fixture that always helped set the mood for many family dinners as we dined beneath it.DSC_3351_edited-1

What a groovy little time capsule is this orange hood and the flower shaped heat conductors on the electric stove! And don’t get me started on the gold speckled backsplash. Dare to be different!


And last but not least, a little hippy high tech! Because, if you’re hip enough to have a home with an indoor hot tub and sauna, you must must must have an intercom and surround sound system to go with.


While my heart aches to see the end of a Golden era, the memories made and the time spent with family in this place were just that- Golden. And in honor of those sacred Golden moments, I leave you with a dazzling sunset from the backyard that gazes upon the San Bernardino mountains.

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Gram, we will miss you and keep you forever in our hearts.







Newport Beach Condo on the Market

So, here is some serious scoop that deserves some dishing…I just found out yesterday that one of my very first interior design projects is officially on the market. The high-rise condo on Lido Island in Newport Beach that I gutted and remodeled for one of my very first clients will be going to a new, and hopefully loving, appreciative owner.

Seeing the real estate listing is a little bittersweet for me. As a designer, I poured blood, sweat, and tears into that project. The full remodel took roughly 2 years. I did all of the cad drawings, obtained permits from the city of Newport Beach, planned, planned, and did more planning to make that 2000 square feet the most elegant, efficient, and luxurious space.

Every aspect of this home, right down to the smallest details was executed with the utmost care. For instance, the layout sizes and dimensions of the tile and grout lines were carefully calculated prior to installation so that the wall tiles throughout could be installed without the tile having any cuts.  CRAZY right? This kind of painstaking detail is almost unheard of these days. The contractors that I worked with on that job were truly the BEST artisans and craftsmen, and I look forward to working with them again. It is truly one of a kind, and I know my clients have thoroughly enjoyed it there. I’m thrilled!

Let’s rewind the clock and see how this transformation happened…


This place was a not so groovy 70’s abode frozen in time. It featured a sunken living room, floor to ceiling mirrors and glossy white floor tiles. The floors were so slick, they would have been the perfect slip and slide for adventurers seeking a neck break… I’m not even kidding. “Slippery floors, what a novel idea,” said no one, ever.


Fabulous views out all of the windows to the harbor made this place worth the investment. Cha-ching.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-living-1emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-living

Behind that wall was a very, very dated kitchen. We took out the wall and opened that room right up. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-dining

The theater lighting on the ceiling says it all. Cue the circus music….emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-kitchen

I do have to admit that the disco child in me digs this groovy wallpaper a little bit. Not so much the rest of the bath.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-powder

Nothing says luxury like wall-to-wall carpeting that pours into your master bath which comes complete with a sauna, but no shower…. nada. Which leaves me wondering that the homeowners must have liked to sweat and not rinse?? Ok I digress…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bedroomemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bedroom-viewemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bath

There she is, the beloved sauna! I love a good shvitz as much as the next girl, but not in place of a shower. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bath-saunaemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-2 emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-1

And the guest bedroom and bath. Nothin’ too special goin’ on here, except the view! Bay and boats for days. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-bath

PS, is the wallpaper sea urchins or deranged chrysanthemums? I dunno, but it’s as good as gone!


This is my favorite part (what, you thought I was going to say “watching the paint dry”?). This is the reward that you can literally SEE and TOUCH after all that painstaking work! Check it.

The entry, complete with a swanked out bar is perfect for entertaining. Those are actual amethyst gems twinkling on these incredible pendants by Fuse Lighting. The pictures can’t possibly do them justice.  And the chiseled limestone feature wall is absolutely stunning in person.


The new living room. No more sunken life-threatening hole here. I loved designing the entertainment cabinet. One of my favorite ways to do cabinets, bars, and bookcases – the doors slide outwards to cover the bookshelves perfectly and reveal the inside space.


Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Holly Hunt furnishings?!? Tailored, refined, chic, elegant, with the most striking lines and structure. Drool…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-living


Fabulous Tracery rug by Kelly Wearstler via The Rug Company, one of my fave go-to rug sources.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenSemi-precious concetto countertops by Caesarstone are INCREDIBLE. Total splurge, but hey, they don’t stain!


Exotic sapele wood floors compliment the wenge throughout…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-powder-glass-wallsemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-powder-room

Gorgeous glass and limestone tile on all the walls. Faucet is by THG, one of my absolute FAVE plumbing fixture companies. THG is jewelry for your bath. You can’t go wrong.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-door-hardware

Stainless steel contemporary door hardware. Mmmm.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bedroomemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bedroom

Velvet, mohair, silk in the master bedroom. Need I say more? Total luxury.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bathroom

This is one of my favorite two bathrooms I have ever done. It’s not huge but it’s perfect. The calcatta floor was cut from slabs that were each chosen individually. And the best part – the shower has no curb so the bathroom looks even bigger. No wait, the best part is that there IS a shower! At long last!emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanity

Crystals dress up the bath…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanityemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanity And let’s not leave out my other favorite plumbing fixture company – Dornbracht. Love, love, love. The epitome of the ultra-modern faucet.


The elegant master closet…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-guest

And finally, the cozy guest bedroom.

I hope you dug this little look-back as much as I did. And the coolest part is that you can now enjoy it yourself for the asking price of …

What? You thought I was gonna give it away? Hardly! But you can see for yourself at Take a looksy!


Emily Makers & Tastemakers Unite!

Like any designer with eye candy ADD, I’m a glutton for gorgeous product. I will go to the ends of the earth, virtually speaking anyway, to find the perfect pieces for my personal home and my clients’ homes (thank you internet gods for making this possible!). When it comes to selecting the right decor, it can often come from several sources and take a lot of time and research to scout the best in class. Fortunately, that’s when came into my life and made it so much easier to not only showcase some of my favorite makers of quality goods, but to also allow you to personally shop from my curated boutique! I am a big fan of hand crafted goods. For one, it supports small business, and makers are quite literally, the fabric of our country and our world. Secondly, when you purchase directly from an artist, it immediately gives you a sense of personal connection. The shopping experience is elevated to a different relationship that transcends buyer and seller. You are interacting with the individual who spent careful time preparing and creating a piece for you to enjoy for a lifetime. End of story… and yes, that is the best part; there is a story behind the purchase which makes it that much more sentimental! Ironically, the timing couldn’t have been more fitting, since I just spent the weekend at Renegade Craft Fair- LA, which is essentially an event based version of much of the items you will find on There was so much to see and explore, I literally got lost in rows of fabulous prints, hand made jewelry, beauty products and textiles. Aside from the oppressive heat, it was divine! If you’re fortunate enough to live in a major metro where these fairs are offered one weekend annually, you are lucky enough. For the rest of the 51 weeks a year, is a fabulous way to find these kinds of items from the comfort of your home computer. So let’s take a moment to look at some of the beautifully crafted pieces from the makers that define style, set trends and make, well…. great!

hot pink brush stroke set of 4 cocktail coasters a sensible habit

Hot Pink Cocktail Coasters 

circle and pop navy chasing paper

Navy Circle Pop Wallpaper

gold inverse mini air plant pods sea & asters

Gold Air Plant Pots

triangle series 1 jane denton

Hand Stitched Triangle Art

animals mealtime set bobo ceramics

 Animal Mealtime Set

renee nixon watercolor giclee

Watercolor Giclee

fireflies original acrylic painting diana willard

Original Acrylic Painting

Go ahead, give them some love! Are you digging what I’m dishing? Please visit my boutique to see more of the delicious pieces I’m craving.  For more of my Renegade Craft Fair faves, please check out my Makers & Shakers Pinterest board. You deserve a big slice of style!



Our Home: Design to Demo

Here is the next Design Dish installment about our home and how I took it from design, to demo to dreamy! If you missed the before pictures, check out my earlier post, Our Home & the Pasadena Home Tour.

After we closed escrow I immediately started designing the floor plan and the layout of the space. I knew that we were keeping the footprint of the house the same, as well as the roof, the stucco exterior, the foundation, and of course, the gorgeous oak tree. Everything else was old, ugly, non-functioning, etc and it had to go!

Here’s the existing floorplan that I started with…

C:UsersEmily LaMarqueDesktopEmily LaMarque Design StudioELD

And here is how the layout changed…

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We removed the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room to create a large family style dining area and great room space. We also knocked out the wall closing in the entry way so that the living room feels open and bright. The den was eliminated and from the that space, we created a powder room (perfect for guests), laundry room (previously in the kitchen), and a master walk-in closet (because you can never have enough closet space, right?!?).

The master and guest bathroom square footage stayed the same, but interior walls were eliminated and the spaces were maximized. The bedrooms didn’t change size, but the front door did! Instead of a standard 36in entry door, we made it 42in wide with a large sidelight to add light and views of the trees.

And the yard? Leveled. Completely gone. All except our tree. The yard literally became a blank slate.

Everything else was a fresh start – new plumbing, electrical, HVAC, you name it. Can I tell you how much I love demo on a project? It is so exciting to have the promise of something gorgeous just waiting in store for you…that is, after a whole bunch of blood, sweat, & tears.

Enjoy the progress pics!

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Hello 2 by 4’s! Goodbye dingy stone fireplace!

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So long linoleum!

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Wait for it because you may never hear it again… YES to the MESS!

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This is the kind of CAT I like to see in my yard!

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A fresh start for this ol’ house. I’ll be sharing more progress in the week’s ahead. Stay with me as I overthink everything from fixtures to fretwork!