Q+A with Maria Isles | All Things Design in Newport Beach, California

Maria & Max Isles + Izzy, Photo captured at Isles Interiors by the talented @lanedittoe

We love Maria’s style, the way she connects so easily with others, and her sense of adventure. We are thrilled to set our communal table at her gorgeous + well-curated atelier in Newport Beach on Saturday 2/29/20. Although our lark communal dinner has sold out, we invite you to come along with this brief dive “below-the-surface” into her beautiful world of design.

Q. Where are you from–and where do you live currently?

A. I grew up in Pasadena and currently live in Laguna Beach. I have also lived in Santa Barbara and abroad in Singapore.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Definitely Art!

Q. What was your most favorite occupation?

A. Obviously Interior Design.

Q. When did you realize you had a knack for Interior Design?

A. When I was about 4 or 5 years old. My dad had a construction company and I used to go in his warehouse and make doll houses for my weeble wobbles out of scrapes of wood, metal and glass. I was also obsessed with my moms Architectural Digest from a very young age. 

Q. What is your favorite and/or most ideal project?

A. My ideal project would be a new build in Montecito, a modern version of a Spanish Colonial. That would be my dream house. Clean and timeless with lots of wood, dark metal and Spanish decorative tile, my absolute love. My favorite project is my own ongoing house. We live in an adorable tiny 1936 cottage in Laguna Beach. It is the quintessential beach cottage. 

Q. You go on “buying trips” what are some of your favorite places? 

A. My favorite place to go on buying trips is of course England where my husband Max is from. I love the old country antiques that we find there. They are timeless and the craftsmanship is amazing. 

Q. What was your first trip like?  Did someone take you–or did you venture out on you own? 

  1. We always find time when we go back to England to venture out and source. Its so inspiring over there, whether we are in London at some cool old shop or in the countryside at a car boot sale. I have always just ventured out on my own. I have had tips from locals but its fun to wander and discover. 

Q. Any regrets on an object you might have passed up?

A. I just passed up an antique Oushak runner a few weeks ago, and now its gone, it was the perfect size, color and price! But my worst regret is an antique Gustavian dresser that I found at an estate sale up by Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. I purchased it but sold it in my shop. I think about it all the time and how I should not have sold it!!!  

Q. We love that you like to host/entertain is this something you’ve always done? 

A. I think I started to entertain about 16 years ago when we bought our little cottage. We have an amazing front yard with 22 fruit and nut trees. Its small but its perfect for having intimate dinner parties or summer lunches in the garden. Its pretty magical. 

Q. What is your most memorable meal?

A. I don’t know if I could say what is my most memorable meal, but I love food and my husband Max and I are vegetarian so when I find amazing vegetarian restaurants or meals I really remember them. 

Recently we went to Double Zero in Venice and I had the most amazing vegan spaghetti bolognaise or as my husband calls it spag bol. It was made with mushrooms and walnuts and so incredibly delicious. I found a similar recipe, its take a long time to make it but soooo worth it! 

Q. We feel food, conversation x design go quite well together, do you have any thoughts on this intersection? 

A. Good food and design are both so creative and appeal to your senses. So of course they both individually and combined make great conservation! It’s the perfect mixture. 

Q.. Do you have a favorite quote?

A. “Gratitude creates abundance’.

Q. Who Inspires you?

Q. Some of my favorite designers are:

Amber InteriorsShe just rocks it

Nickey KehoeThe perfect duo

Lauren LiessLove her timeless sensibility

Kendall ConradHer fashion sense

Q. How do you envision your future of Isles Interiors–what direction do you most want to go? 

A. For Isles Interiors we envision continuing with our full scale interior design studio. Expanding on our new builds and full remodels. We are also in the process of designing a new line of furniture by Max, 5 or 6 signature pieces, that we can’t live without! I would love to open a studio in Santa Barbara and eventually London. 

Create. Collaborate. Elevate. Come on a lark with us!

Thursday, March 26, 2020 at Hello Kestan in Irvine, CA {details TBA soon}!

Q+A with Summer Meek | Doing All Things With Love in Laguna Beach, California

Charlie & Summer Meet at The Soul Project in Laguna Beach

We were fortunate to meet Summer Meek at The Soul Project which is her gorgeous retail + event space in Laguna Beach. It’s warm and inviting and comfortable. We attended her The New Girls Network gathering and were surrounded by supportive female entrepreneurs who had gathered to share their stories. Now, we’d like to share Summer’s story:

Q. Since you are a native, what are your favorite childhood memories of Laguna Beach? 

A. Some of my favorite memories are of course long days spent at the beach, exploring the tide pools, hiking the hills. And my parents were both early Sawdust Festival artists and I have a lot of memories of time spent there. I think that’s where I caught my entrepreneurial spirit. Even then I had enterprising endeavors going on.

Q. We love how you ventured out to create + celebrate spaces that feel like home. Was this something you had always wanted to do?

A.  I have always believed in the energy of space. It’s challenging to explain and sounds woo woo to talk about but it is my super power. I love creating experiences I am passionate about it and add love to everything I do.

Q. You’re cottage-esque space is so warm and inviting, do you know the history behind it? Any interesting stories?

A.  My understanding is in the early days of Laguna Beach artists would come and build their cottage, live in the back, create during the week and then open the doors on the weekend for tourists. Before I moved in, The Knitting Store habituated the space. But during one Art Walk a woman came and shared that she once lived in the back and had her art gallery in the front it–was probably 25 years prior to me opening. She brought me pictures it was so fun.

Q. You began your business through creating graphic Tees for artists (and still do), but you are also constantly growing, evolving and exploring. What is it that drives / pulls you? Any advice for others?

A. When I opened I really wanted to create a community space and have people come have an experience, it’s interesting because that was five years ago and now experience is trending. I just saw it as an organic way to cultivate a community of like minded individuals. I am a curious person and I love to learn and I am always seeking new information and love learning about people and love to incorporate that into what we’re doing at the store whether that’s through product or new experimental offerings. Sometimes I meet these really an amazing people that I really want to work with because were aligned. Like when I met you.

Q. Your latest adventure, The New Girls Network has brought some exciting and energizing opportunities to your community. Where do you want (hope) it to lead?

A. We just celebrated a year since we started meeting, we meet the third Thursday of the month at The Soul Project, it’s a free networking event but it’s really more than that, it’s a place for woman entrepreneurs to gather in a supportive environment. There’s not posturing, you don’t have to be a certain kind of person and wear a certain outfit. You can show up as your authentic self. I don’t know where it will go and I don’t currently have plans to make it anything other than what it is. I have watched woman connect, make business happen, grow into an idea and bring it to life.

Q. It is fitting that The Soul Project is located in the revitalized “Hip District ” of Laguna Beach. Are there any behind the scene changes you are inspired by?

A. We have come together as a neighborhood and are really trying to breathe life into this part of town. We have some really amazing g retailers and new stores opening. I feell we are becoming the new Abbot Kinney.

Q. Thank you for opening your doors to lark! We can’t wait to dine in your “landscapers” garden, under the stars–have you always been a foodie?

A. I have been a foodie most of my life. I remember one day asking to be driven to the store so I could buy all the ingredients to make a chocolate cake from scratch. My mom asked how I knew to make it and I didn’t know, but I was inspired to try.

Q.  What is your most memorable dining experience?

A. There are so many it’s hard to pick just one. But the most recent one that comes to mind is a farm to table dinner put on by my friend and farmer at Blue Bird Canyon Farms in Laguna Beach. He works with a woman named Chef Jen Alvarez. It was the most beautiful setting, and the most delicious sustainable food. I could still describe every morsel I ate that night. There was also a very memorable drive up to a castle in Italy with a view to die for and a dinner that was some of the most delicious food.

Q. If you could dine with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

A. Julia Child because she loved food, was cooky and zany, loved cocktails and didn’t seem to uptight. I had the pleasure of dining next to her not too long before she passed, that was most definitely one of my favorite star sightings.

Q, It’s an interesting and exciting time for female entrepreneurs – who are your current hero’s?

 A. Oprah Winfrey still impresses me on a regular basis and it’s inspiring how she has stayed true to her message and hasn’t seemed to sell out.  Gorjana Reidel is a local CEO that I have watched evolve her business and it’s really impressive.

Q+A with Tera Stephens Owner of TReSs Apothecary | Rocking the Vibe in Newport Beach, California

Because it’s always about the people you meet along the way! Meet the inspirational Tera Stephens, Founder of TReSs Apothecary in Lido Marina Village, who has graciously open the doors to her vibrant-yet minimalist-shop to lark! Pull up a chair, we invite you to come along through our fun questions & answer session!

Tera Stephens, Founder of TReSs Apothecary

Q. Where do you call home?

A. I’ve lived in Huntington Beach for my whole life!!

Q. When did you decide to open your own business? What factors came into play?  

A. I opened TReSs after working as a stylist for 17 years.  For the last few years I had this growing feeling that my clients deserved and would appreciate a greater attention to detail that was missing in most salons and that led me to opening my own!

Q. Was the minimalist vibe what you had in mind OR did this come about organically?  

A. I have a very busy brain so keeping my space minimal is key to keeping my anxiety low!  I started a Pinterest board that I shared with my architect and we worked together in creating the vibe of the space.

Q. We noticed the fireplaces in the shop…do you know the history of the space? Was it once someone’s home?

A. Lido Marina Village was built in the 40’s and were originally custom homes.  In the late 60’s or early 70’s they began to convert to retail, office and restaurant.  We were the first lease signed under the new development of LMV and were lucky to keep our fireplace.  I believe we have the only working, original fireplaces in the Village!

Q. The vibe in the shop is so positive, do you a work style/management philosophy?

A. ABSOLUTELY!!!  I believe in treating our team like family and that has created a culture of mutual respect and care for each other.  The benefit of our culture is that our clients feel the good vibes and that makes them love to hang out with us!  It’s all good for business!

Q. We know your taste + love for beauty and style is expansive, have you always played in this arena?

A. I have loved beautiful things since I was a little girl!  Some of my favorite possessions were handmade original garments from my grandmas and aunts who sewed and crocheted!

Q. What is your favorite food experience?  

A. I’ll never forget my husband and I celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary at the French Laundry.  It was a bit of a stretch financially at the time but something I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember.  It felt a bit old and stuffy for us at first, we were babies, but our server found our rhythm and every dish was spectacular.  Our dinner lasted over 5 hours!!!

Q. What is your favorite question to ask someone?

A. What was the best thing that happened to you today?  My kids know I will ask them every single day!!!

Q. What does Summer Solstice mean to you?  

A. Summer has always meant freedom for me and the Solstice, being the longest day of the year, is the kick off to my favorite season!

 Q. Who or what currently inspires you?  

A. My team at the salon inspire me; they are fun, talented, fresh, innovative, smart and adorable.  They make me want to work hard for them!

TReSs Apothecary at Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach

What to know and see more? Join us Friday 6/21/19 to welcome the first day of summer with cocktails + mingling leading up to a delicious chef crafted four course meal & wine pairing…all while partaking in the rediscovered art of conversation, tickets and details available on our landing page: www.larkartisanmarket.com

On a Super Hip lark at Costa Cabana w/RCTNGL in East Side Costa Mesa, California

Friday, January 25, 2019. Lark #44 Where Fashion Culture meets Food Culture, the photos say it all. We had the most amazing time on a lark at the super hip fashion house of Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa enjoying the tropical vibe, food, drinks + {the lost art of} conversation.

Here we collaborated “hand in hand” with the talented and passionate chefs of L.A.’s rctngl {the shape of a table} who shared their version of “Asia meets L.A.” delicious Kamayan experience; where we all enjoyed eating with our hands!

We are grateful to all the beautiful people who gathered to make this a memorable & magical evening. Special thanks to Chef Andrew Marco+ Chef Ralph Hsiao of @rctngl, Lauren Flores of @costacabana, @stylingbyjo, @lunareeceramics, @frenchbuckets, @housebeer, @theurbanspring, @maysonhauck, Daniel Perlof and our forever curious + adventurous guests!

Menu crafted by @rctngl:

INATOG/corn, calamansi butter, palapa, red onion, cilantro

BROKOLI/broccolini, pinakurat aioli, fermented fresno, palapa

INIHAW NA BABOY/pork jowl, banana ketchup marinade, garlic

PINRITONG MAYA MAYA/red snapper, soy, lemongrass, garlic, ginger

INIHAW NA HIPON/shrimp, crab fat, lemongrass

ADOBONG PAKPAK/chicken wings, sorry, vin, garlic

LUMPIA SHANGHAI/eggroll, pork, carrot, onion, peas

LECHE FLAN/creme caramel, raspberry, Japanese shiso, caramel shards

+ + + + +

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us! Next up, 2/22/19 at Coast Modern in Seal Beach with the talented + self-taught Chef Kyle Powers.

Gin & Pom Cocktail with Marigold compliments of rctngl
INATOG/corn, calamansi butter, palapa, red onion, cilantro
PINRITONG MAYA MAYA/red snapper, soy, lemongrass, garlic, ginger
ADOBONG PAKPAK/chicken wings, sorry, vin, garlic
On a super fun lark with @rctngl at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa!
LUMPIA SHANGHAI/eggroll, pork, carrot, onion, peas
On a super fun lark with @rctngl at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa!
On a super fun lark with @rctngl at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa!
On a super fun lark with @rctngl at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa!
PINRITONG MAYA MAYA/red snapper, soy, lemongrass, garlic, ginger + House Beer!
Ladies who lark!
LECHE FLAN/creme caramel, raspberry, Japanese shiso, caramel shards
On a super fun lark with @rctngl at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa!

Photo credit to our favorite foodie + conversationalist MBMaher.com

On a lark with VoyageLA! | Los Angeles, California

November 13, 2018

Many thanks to the VoyagerLA for reaching out to us and sharing our story!

Here is a link to the article:

http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-lisa-gutierrez-martinez-lark-huntington-beach/

We hope to see you on a lark soon! xo~l

Lisa Martinez on a lark at The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa