Ann Marie DeMars
Ann Marie loves the warmth and charm of Charleston, and applies those same qualities to her work with clients, melding their personal style with good design techniques. The result is a beautiful look and feel unique to each project. Ann Marie’s fire is lit by the opportunity to listen intently to her clients and tailor their combined vision to the client’s individual needs. Believing strongly that form follows function, she links architects, builders and remodelers to create a space that works aesthetically and practically “If I find a sofa that is beautiful but not comfortable, it’s not the right sofa,” she says.
Ann Marie has worked with one client on three homes, each with a different purpose. The beach house required one approach, the family home another. The homeowners sought a casual elegant approach to the house in the North Carolina mountains, so Ann Marie found luxurious draperies, finely appointed furniture and antiques and accessories that worked as an integrated unit. The clients were delighted and have hired her to design the interior of a fourth house. Ann Marie, originally from Chicago, began her professional life as an accountant, but found her true calling while working for a custom home builder. She returned to school to earn a degree in interior design, then moved to Charlotte and eventually landed at Southeastern Galleries here in Charleston 12 years ago, drawn by the classical furnishings found there.
The combination of two, disparate perspectives – the mathematical and the aesthetic – gives Ann Marie an ability to blend styles and turn anyone’s vision into a beautiful space while keeping budget in mind. While Ann Marie designs with her clients’ sensibilities in mind, the traditional is her personal feel-good place. Her classic, single-family home she & her husband built on John’s Island, featured an interior she designed, reflected the vocabulary of antiquity, while showing off the surrounding natural beauty from a wrap-around porch. Sunsets viewed from the DeMars’ porch were a daily event.
When Ann Marie walks into a house, she can’t help redesigning it in her mind’s eye. She’ll move kitchen cabinets, alter window treatments, change out flooring choices, switch paint colors and so on. (Don’t worry, she keeps those thoughts to herself.) She enjoys walking into the clients’ homes after they have moved in, so she can see her design put into action. That’s the real test of good design.
Ann Marie and her husband have two other passions – sunshine and water. The sunshine is their three-year-old grandson, who lives in Mount Pleasant with one of their sons. The water serves as a palette for their 42-foot sailboat, on which they cruised 12 years ago, from the Chesapeake down the Intracoastal Waterway to Charleston, then to Florida and then on to the Bahamas for a winter of scuba diving, snorkeling and many adventures.
Living in the confines of a boat challenges the use of practical space. When she “downsized” to a smaller home, she combined function with beauty, thus being able to help clients achieve the same feel.