Overflowing with page after page of stunning interiors featuring his signature “all-American” blue-and-white palette, designer Mark D. Sikes’ new book More Beautiful could not come at a better time. In an exclusive excerpt featuring his own home in the Hollywood Hills, Sikes shares why beauty at home is more essential than ever.
While some people may think that worshipping beauty is superficial, it’s really anything but: beauty fortifies our spirits. Think of the beauty found in nature; there is something very pure and spiritual about it. What’s prettier than seeing limitless blue skies as a backdrop to lush trees flourishing along a rushing brook? It’s an exquisite sensory overload that doesn’t cost anything, and yet it can restore you. The same goes at home. When you celebrate the little things more often and surround yourself with what you truly adore, you’ll find that your whole world becomes infinitely more beautiful.
Our own 1920s house is Mediterranean in style, with Hollywood Regency details and a traditional layout and footprint. The doors and windows sit open to the gardens, which are lined with boxwoods and a 20-foot-high ficus hedge. Inside, rooms are stocked with things we’ve loved for ages: fashion and design magazines that I have stashed since 1998, an 1800s English tilt-top table, and a nineteenth-century chinoiserie armoire that was one of the first things my partner Michael and I ever purchased together.
I found muses for our place in the homes of a few key tastemakers, like the ever-refined Bunny Mellon, whose 4,000-acre Virginia estate was the epitome of enchanted, thanks to her lifelong passion for gardening. Then there’s Hubert de Givenchy’s Le Clos Fiorentina in Cap Ferrat, France, which was brimming with wicker, loads of slipcovers, and blue-and-white rooms. I’m also inspired by the effortless Caribbean vibe at Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s and Oscar de la Renta’s seafront homes in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic.
A home should evolve as your life changes, and your life will change. Michael and I are both different people than we were 10 years ago in terms of what we want out of the house, the rooms we use, and how we use them. The goal is always to live in every room, and now we actually do. We never used to use the dining room—then we redid it and now we do yoga there. Like a person, a house should adapt and grow, becoming more itself with age. You don’t have to completely start over with a renovation; it’s OK to modify and adjust and rearrange as the years roll on.
And remember, above all, that the definition of beautiful is subjective. It doesn’t matter what style of home you have, or even what you have. Surround yourself with what you’re passionate about and appreciate. True joy comes from following your dreams and finding inspiration around you. If you feel like your home is comfortable and inviting, reflects who you are, and makes you happy, it is beautiful. In fact, because it is yours, it’s more beautiful.
I firmly believe that beauty can save the world. It may seem silly with all the negativity in the news cycle, but more beauty—and with it, more love—might be what helps us prevail. That’s one reason why making our homes beautiful is so essential. The place you return to for rest and relaxation should be your sanctuary, filled with things you love and enjoy.
Adapted from More Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes