As the story goes for so many entrepreneurs, interior designer Mally Skok launched her business out of a spare bedroom. After she and her husband, David, traded a life in London for a fresh start in the Boston suburbs in 1995, she decided to turn her design hobby into a career, reimagining homes from her makeshift office. Marked by bright colors, bold patterns, and décor from South Africa (her native country), Skok’s style clashed with the more conservative design schemes in Boston. Yet she refused to change her aesthetic. “It wasn’t an easy move to the U.S., [but] I started finding my way,” says the principal of Lincoln-based Mally Skok Design.
Skok continued to grow her portfolio, but her business would expand further than she expected. During a trip to India in 2009, her sister Julia suggested that Skok launch her own line of fabrics as they browsed through locally made textiles at a market. “I told her, ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’” Skok says. But the seed was planted: When she returned home, Skok began dreaming up patterns inspired by her travels. Now, 10 years later, her collection consists of more than 150 fabrics and wallpapers. “I’m 65 and just hitting my stride. I suppose everyone is on a different trajectory,” she says. “I’ve found my design confidence.”
Ahead, Skok shares a few things, near and far, that she loves.
[He is] my design hero. When I lived in London, I used to drool outside the window of his tiny corner shop. He’s the master of mixing priceless antiques and textiles with the everyday.
The color palette of the whitewashed buildings [on this Greek island] against the Aegean blue sky makes my heart sing. I also love the palette of the ancient fishing boats bobbing in the port and layers upon layers of simple paint colors—red and yellow, and the most perfect blue.
The flora is unique to the coastal regions of the Eastern and Western Capes. They are often the most beautiful, delicate flowers that you encounter while hiking in South Africa. They fill my heart with joy.
Patrick Dougherty “Stick Works”
I adore the world that Patrick has created out of sticks and twigs. [His pieces] transport us to another universe. I could stare at his creations for hours, and [want] to visit as many as I can find.
These days, hipster hotels are always trying to outdo one another. I love old-school hotels—the feeling of a quiet lobby, giant mahogany concierge desks, and people quietly reading the newspaper. The whole hushed atmosphere is something we seldom encounter anymore.
What I’m Reading
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I enjoy books that have nature intertwined in their themes. Plus, it has a female heroine. I always like a good lady hero!
What I’m Watching
My kids laugh at me because I watch endless installments of Midsomer Murders on my iPad to put me to sleep at night. The plot lines are so totally unlikely, but I love the settings, the pretentious interiors in the posh houses, and the adorable English country towns and the cozy pubs.
What I’m Drinking
South African wine. My favorite is Secateurs by AA Badenhorst Family Wines. Chenin blanc is not a popular cultivar here in the states, but I like the clean and green [taste], low sugar, and high acidity of that type of wine. I like wine that gets you in the jaw!
What I’m Eating
Our area has really upped its game in the past couple of years. We rotate between Saltbox Kitchen (best lunches), Woods Hill Table (best grilled broccoli), and 80 Thoreau (a date-night spot).
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