A woman’s corner of the world filled with fusion flair reflects her international travels.
Interior designer Marion Hartwich works from the comfort of her home studio, but her vision extends far beyond those four walls. Her décor style is a rich tapestry that has been woven from a life lived in Europe and both coasts of the United States. She calls it “fusion”—not to be confused with eclectic. Marion’s fusion flair is much more deliberate than a hodgepodge of disparate pieces. It manages to be warm and sophisticated, simple yet worldly. She blends different elements of the distinct cultures into a harmonious mix that never fails to delight the eye.
Marion, who says she isn’t the “floor-plan-designer kind,” applies her fusion flair philosophies to her own home as well as those of her clients, most of whom live near her Costa Mesa, California, studio. “If you have pretty things, you should put them out and enjoy them, not tuck them away in a closet,” she says. “It will make you happy to look at them.” Antiques and vintage pieces are foremost among the pretty things she displays in her home. “I’m a hunter and a gatherer,” she says. “It’s so much more fulfilling than going into a shop and buying something mass-produced or reproduced. I like the stories that come with vintage pieces. I’m giving them a second life.” Marion respects the workmanship and patina of old things. “I love their shape and simplicity—especially the creamy, antique-white color of the French style,” she says.
Her fondness for fusion flair and French aesthetic is seen both inside and outside her tract-turned-cottage home. Her kitchen and master bath are dressed in the familiar black-and-white French color palette—which she likes to contrast with red fabrics for a pop of color—and her garden table is set with French bistro fare, such as baguettes, fresh figs, edible flowers (they add a peppery taste when sprinkled over cheese, she says) and, of course, cheese set on a platter of grape leaves. “I always use real grape leaves because they make the food taste better,” she explains. “They have curly tendrils that are sculptural, and I use them in my flower arrangements as well.”
In her kitchen, Marion’s fusion flair has resulted in an interesting mix of black-and-white accessories displayed on shelves. Among the serving pieces sits a Staffordshire terrier figurine to whom Marion has conjured up an unusual pedigree. “Staffordshire dogs are normally sold in pairs, but this one was missing his mate in the store,” she says. “I felt bad for it, so I bought it so he has a home.”
Much like the birds she enjoys watching from her windows, Marion has feathered her nest into a comfortable home where she can nourish her body and soul while letting her spirit take flight as she sets course for her next design adventure, sure to be full of the fusion flair we love.
By Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography by Bret Gum
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel