The Crowd: Decorative Arts Society Celebrates Los Angeles-Based Designer


The setting was ultra-chic.

The dining room at the chic Newport Beach Country Club had been transformed into a sophisticated lounge with a classic theme of blue and white oriental porcelain.

Each of the round dining room tables was adorned with individual porcelain vases featuring white-on-white summer flowers of hydrangeas, roses, tigernuts and lilies.

Appropriate crystal, cutlery and porcelain supported the summer theme. It was in recognition of the guest of honor, Mark D. Sikes, a Los Angeles-based designer who came at the invitation of the Decorative Arts Society (DARTS).

It was the end of the organization’s annual ‘conference season’ luncheon, and Sikes, who has gained an international reputation as a renowned designer over the past decade, came to Newport with his partner. Michel griffin, to share their story of glory. It’s quite a story.

Sikes and Griffin met while working for Pottery Barn.

Each man has devoted twenty years to this organization, with Sikes occupying a senior design position within the company.

Then, ten years ago, it was time to go. The couple first settled in San Francisco, then moved to Los Angeles where they bought a house in the Hollywood Hills.

Sikes went to work decorating the house, from top to bottom, his lifelong passion. The son of the preacher from the Great South, raised and influenced by a fashion-conscious mother who, as Sikes put it, “Dressed way too expensive for a preacher’s wife.”

“I was the kid who always knew all the design trends, celebrities, fashions and tastes of the day and I was the consummate observer of every detail in every home, every fashion – everything to do with design, ”Sikes said. .

Oddly enough, Sikes claims he never wanted to be an interior designer. It just happened, and it happened due to the creation of their Hollywood Hills home that he created for himself and Griffin.

The neighbors noticed it, then they spoke. Soon people asked for a visit. Then they asked Sikes to design for them.

Sikes and Griffin would open a design business and the business would thrive over time.

Today, in addition to a full roster of architectural design commissions, the duo launched a women’s ready-to-wear line managed by Griffin.

Major customer orders from celebrities, including writer and director Nancy Meyer would put Sikes on the design radar.

He shared a story with audiences at DARTS about how the director met him and ultimately hired him to make his daughter’s new home.

“Before opening our design firm, I was doing showcases for a design house on La Cienega Boulevard,” Sikes said. “I was actually there in that one window placing matching objects and fabrics when I noticed two women had stopped to look. I went out to say hello.

“One of them asked me for my opinion on the fabric, which I gave her and it turned out that it was the fabric of choice that she and her daughter had just selected for the new home of. the girl. It was the start of a long association and friendship with Nancy.

Sikes’ full story came to life for the lunch crowd with help from renowned Orange County interior design and architecture publisher Susan mcfadden from California Homes magazine.

McFadden interviewed Sikes on behalf of DARTS as the crowd listened intently to every detail as the decorator shared clips from his bestselling home decor book titled “Beautiful.”

The beautiful book was presented to all participants in a blue and white striped canvas tote. Another detail, another touch of class.

Chaired by the amazing duo of Anne-Dennis and Marie-Anna Jeppe, the lunch drew some of the best and brightest in Newport’s social scene.

Sandra Ayres, Linda phillips, Maureen Madigan, president of DARTS, Cathi Bledsoe, Bonnie mcclellan, Carolyn Garrett, and Madeline Hayward were among the glitter.

Main supporters of DARTS Hyla bertea, Julia Argyros, Barbara glabman, Laraine Eggleston, Shelley rigg and Kim donahue were also front and center.

Hosted by Madigan and Dennis with a little help from the Community Leader Hyla bertea, a very special announcement was presented to the crowd.

Bertea took the microphone and offered a little story.

“I went to see Julia Argyros to thank her for her incredible and generous donation of $ 200,000 to DARTS,” said Bertea. “Julia was surprised and said, ‘I didn’t donate $ 200,000. I was stunned. How could I make such a mistake?

“I donated $ 250,000! Julia replied, ”Bertea said.

The crowd went wild.

Argyros was honorary president of the event, making a very important contribution. Funds donated by Argyros and others, including proceeds from DARTS dues and fees collected from the annual Designer Lecture Series, are distributed annually to local nonprofits.

2017-2018 organizations supported by DARTS funds include the American Red Cross, Breast Cancer Solutions, CASA Youth Shelter, and Caterina’s Club, among others.

Founded in 1995, DARTS invites community-conscious women and men to support the organization by participating in its annual series of five conferences featuring designers, architects, historians, landscapers, artists and writers from renowned in all areas of the arts of design and decoration.

This support in turn funds deserving non-profit organizations in the Orange County community.

Design divas spotted in the lunch crowd were the chic ones Barbara bowie of the Grand Canyon, Lisa Argyros, Ronnie allumbaugh, Toni Berlinger, Judy Brady, France Campbell, Janet Curci, Elana Donovan, Brenda Eastman, Marion hartwich, Marion palley, Judy slutzky, Ardèle Saint-Georges, Nancy wynne and event sponsor Stuart winston from Lugano Diamonds, Newport Beach.

To learn more about DARTS, visit

BW COOK is the publisher of Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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