Interior Designer John Phifer Marrs Sees Collecting as Décor
John Phifer Marrs learned the joy of having beautiful things from his grandmother and turned that passion into a career in interior design and, more recently, writing.
Rather than writing what Marrs calls “another coffee table book on decorating,” he chose to take this distinctive part of designing and share stories and expertise of collections that he has worked with in his home as well as those of clients in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow.
His first book, Interiors for Collectors, is an inspirational guide for displaying collections exquisitely.
“Design to me is figuring out how the client wanted to live and elevating their living situation; making it the most attractive it could be and seeing through their eyes and not just mine,” Marrs said.
Keeping this in mind, Marrs likes to notice when clients have collections that they did not even realize they had. He calls them forced collections – ones that so happened to appear over time, whether as gifts or passed down through generations.
The whole thing is how you live with your collections. That’s what I’m fascinated with.
When a client has multiple items that could make up a collection, gathering them and displaying them in a beautiful arrangement is his specialty.
But aesthetics aren’t the only considerations. Many clients’ collections include valuable art, books, or historical documents that need to be preserved and protected in the proper casing, framing, and lighting.
What’s Marrs’ favorite personal collection? Picking just one was difficult, he said.
The whole thing is how you live with your collections. That’s what I’m fascinated with.John Phifer Marrs
A collection can vary on your season of life and way of living, Marrs said. “What you collect when you’re 20 might not be what you collect when you’re 50.”
What used to be in his ranch-style home – a collection of tole trays – are now replaced with a grouping of beautiful art in his high-rise home.
“The whole thing is how you live with your collections. That’s what I’m fascinated with,” he said. “But if you want to incorporate a collection into your home, I think that is a special request and a special situation.”