Mark Molthan discusses his philosophy of design and how he finds the inspiration to create unique living spaces.
The one question everyone seems to ask when they see a beautiful space is, “how did they do it?” Few designers follow a standard formula for beauty—they curate a space, selecting from the latest fashions, often playing with multiple eras and schools of design. The challenge of this approach begins with pinpointing the desired mood for the space and recognizing how different elements will allow that mood to pervade the home.
“There’s no correct way to being the design process,” says Mark Molthan. For years, Mark has worked with clients to create dream homes across Dallas. “It’s a tall order,” Mark explains. “People come in and they might not know exactly what they want. They have an idea but people rarely have an exact name for it.”
Instead of pinpointing a label for the desired look, Mark encourages homeowners to focus on images—one image to be precise. “When you’re looking through books, or Pinterest, or Houzz, it’s good to keep track of pictures that show details that you like. But when you find your mood image—a single image with a feeling that just captivates you—that’s when things really get started.”
You may run across a perfect mood image in the most unexpected of places—and the image may have little (or nothing) to do with architecture or interior design. “It isn’t just about replicating specific architectural elements,” Mark says. “It’s about setting a mood, creating a space with a certain charisma. Sometimes in design, when you’re really inspired by a mood, you just know it when you see it. That’s why you can never stop looking.” He recalls a recent Platinum Series project that began with a single Versace ad. “Our client brought in this ad; it was a picture of a guy in a tuxedo standing outside of a chateau. You could sort of see the entry way but you had no idea what the rest of the house looked like. That one picture was the key to 9,000 square feet.”
Going from a single image to an entire home may seem like a daunting task, but that’s where Mark and his team come in. Not only do they live and breathe design, but they also stay up-to-date on the absolute latest styles. That gives them the visual vocabulary to fill in the very wide gap between a concept and the finished home.
A nearly 30,000 square foot estate that Mark completed in 2011 is a prime example of the informed yet unorthodox approach that Platinum Series takes with each project. The home pulls from French estate architecture and design, but it’s far from being a replica of famous chateaus. By seamlessly blending old-world style with ultra-contemporary elements, Mark’s team and designer Ashley Astelford created a home with the comfortable, family-friendly elegance that the owners dreamed of. The entire estate is filled with an air of unpretentious refinement.
Like many people, Mark keeps stacks of books and magazines in his office. But they aren’t your typical office embellishments. They contain pictures that have become the cornerstone of some of Mark’s most beloved projects—including his own home. Others consist of elements that put Platinum Series ahead of the curve. “There is a photo in one of these books that I keep going back to,” Mark shares. “Two years ago, it inspired me to begin focusing on steel windows. Now, walls of floor-to-ceiling steel windows have become one of the hallmarks of our homes.”
Ultimately, Mark doesn’t place much importance on originality. “I don’t think there’s ever been an original idea. Ever. Inspiration is just taking the culmination of things that have stuck with you and bringing them together. If you put yourself into the design, if you hone in on what excites you—that’s what will make a home unique.”
Check out the Platinum Series blog to get the scoop on how Platinum Series and interior designer, Ashley Astleford developed the style of a 30,000 square foot estate.