Mini MARvelous Me

Hello my MARtians, this week I’m excited to announce my first guest blogger: my intern, Elizabeth Kane, who is also President and founder of CharityChicks US:

If there is one role model who has made lifestyle his business and who embodies kindness at his core it is Mar Jennings. Whether he is shooting a national television segment, reorganizing a space on a budget or just running to a local antique store in Westport, Mar’s enthusiasm for life and ability to make his clients happy is evident by the warm reception he receives all over town. I have had the privilege of being a “Mini MAR” intern this past week, and am leaving to my first semester of graduate school at The Corcoran College of Art & Design with a million fresh ideas, new perspective, and feeling completely empowered.

On my first day I was greeted by a rough bark from the princess of house, Violet Von Schnorkenheimer, but by day eight we are besties and working buddies. Mar greeted me decked out in a butter cream polo and turquoise pants (with Hermes belt). Mar immediately incorporated me into his world. He gave me the tour, explained his core principles of design, and then we were off!

We were on a hunt for items that would fit into a national segment on Better TV that would focus on nautical tablescapes. It was fascinating to see how he pulled things so purposefully (“pull” is industry shorthand for “pull together”), and without hesitation, such random items as mismatched glasses, a beach towel (which he used as a tablecloth), and live fish! (The fish were used in a centerpiece! Lucky fishies, they now live at Rosebrook Gardens.) Capturing the unexpected and bringing unique aspects to living well – these are definitely strong suits of Mar’s. Life should be fun, and he taught me how to take ordinary, everyday objects and create a whimsical yet elegant tablescape. His five techniques: settling on a theme, create layers, mix and match, be resourceful and “÷centerpiece, centerpiece, centerpiece’. The segment I worked on with Mar aired today, and can also be viewed on the Better Show website. On break I also met actors Mark Deklin (star of Devious Maids) and Beth Grant (Hollywood sensation and actress on The Mindy Project)!

Later in the week I worked with Mar on a room makeover, including the shopping for and installation of items. The room, a “÷great room’, was a super space but the client felt it was a little lackluster and needed some love. I could see the core Casual Luxury principles of design from LIFE ON MAR’S come to life in every sense, from re-purposing items, bringing in light, staying with natural earth elements and tones, and more. After seeing the transformation by just applying a few of Mar’s design principles I cannot imagine anyone not benefiting from having his books in their home.

Mar really helped me get out of my element, gave me a garden to write in and allowed me realize that I should never tone myself down to appease others, or try to fit in with people that do not have my same vision. Today is my last day, and I am a changed person – I am now obsessed with building terrariums, have a need for rattan baskets in every room, look forward to mixing and matching mirrors, using peony centerpieces whenever possible, and ending every project well-done with a glass of rosÌ© and a spa appointment. Oh, and although my boyfriend is not so keen on dogs, I’m going to work on having Violet visit us in Washington, D.C.!

I think there is a “Mini Mar” in all of us, and his LIFE ON MAR’S philosophies can help even those of us who live on Earth attain Casual Luxury every day.