Marybeth Wise, the Greenwich-based designer behind 547 Lake Avenue, was recipient of a 2014 Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Innovation in Design Award in the Kitchen category. We chatted with Wise about her work and upstart firm, MB Interiors.
HL: Congratulations on your award! Can you tell us a bit about your background as a designer?
MB: I was working in finance, but I just loved design – it was my passion. So I decided to go back to school at the New York School of Interior Design, and from there started helping friends, then friends of friends, and next thing I knew, I was doing it full-time.
HL: The classic story. What was the timeline for all of this?
MB: Two years. And I started MB Interiors just this past year. A little longer for school, since I was interrupted by starting and raising our family.
HL: What inspired you in designing this home? What was your vision?
MB: My husband and I took a trip to Paris and stayed at this hotel, Hotel Particular, which had this beautiful interior courtyard. We went out to have drinks and I just remembered this great light, which felt so warm. I felt, “I’d like to have that be part of life at our home.” And I wanted to give the home a “wow” factor: outside, you have the typical Connecticut brick Georgian, and then you come in to this contemporary interior. You either love it or think, “Oh my god, what happened?”
HL: The dichotomy is truly amazing. What kind of reactions have you gotten?
MB: People are kind of floored by it when they walk in—they’re so surprised, and find it refreshing because, while it looks like it from the street, it’s so not Greenwich.
HL: Tell us some of your favorite features – besides the courtyard!
MB: It really is! I designed the floorplan for family life: it’s conducive to simultaneous entertaining for children and adults. The grown-ups can be upstairs and you wouldn’t even know the kids are downstairs. It’s very inviting and multifaceted; there’s something for everybody.
HL: What jobs are currently keeping you busy?
MB: Right now I’m working on a house in Rye; it’s a total top-to-bottom remodel. I’ve swayed the owner to open her mind to differ lighting designs and patterns. And I’m always looking for new projects!
MB Interiors / Greenwich, CT / 914.420.4845