Coffee With: Mackenzie Collier of Mackenzie Collier Interiors

Mackenzie Collier

Mackenzie Collier

As soon as you read, “Not your mother-in-law’s interior designer,” you know you’ll get along with Mackenzie Collier.

Mackenzie’s fresh designs look great and support your lifestyle, with clients throughout Phoenix metro and beyond. We chatted about nature, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and function-first design.

Q&A with Mackenzie Collier

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Mackenzie Collier: Before going to design school, I earned my degree in child and family psychology from Michigan State (I can’t imagine working as a designer without it!). I later studied Interior Design at Harrington College of Design in downtown Chicago. When I came out west, at the time, there just weren’t many design assistant jobs in Phoenix, so I ended up posting on Craigslist to try to get some freelance work. Thanks to some good referrals, the freelancing snowballed into a business pretty quickly, and now we’ve been in business 8 years and have a team of 8.

C: How would you describe your style?
MC: My style is light, airy, and collected from around the world. I love travel and adventure, and the items in my home are all meaningful reminders of the places I have been. My color palette is inspired by Arizona’s incredible nature.

Midcentury kitchen with a modern twist
Design by Mackenzie Collier Interiors

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
MC: I get almost all of my best ideas and inspiration while I’m out on hikes or adventuring abroad. I come to life when I’m pushing my limits and living outside my comfort zone.

C: Favorite room in the house?
MC: My favorite room is my living room. It gets the most beautiful light in the evening as the sun sets. I have my comfy leather sofa, a console record player, our guitars, and some beautiful bamboo armchairs. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
MC: I don’t believe in subscribing to established design styles. I definitely pull from them, but I encourage each of my clients to allow me to really get to know what inspires and excites them in other aspects of their life (travel, music, fashion, etc.) so that we can translate that into a design style that is all their own.

To give our pilot a welcoming arrival, we cozied up the entry with natural elements and textures, midcentury style, and a Pan Am themed world map.
Design by Mackenzie Collier Interiors

C: Recent project that inspired you?
MC: I loved working on an Eichler home in Castro Valley, CA. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with architecture that was so thoughtful and integrated with its natural setting before. It was so much fun!

C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
MC: I will always love jade green and turquoise. My grandmother gave me a turquoise ring when I was 8 to wear to help me tell my left from right, and I loved that ring. The green just reminds me of my home (northern Michigan), and it instantly transports me. I love any color palettes and textures that can be found in nature.

C: What is “good design” to you?
MC: Good design is design that functions first and looks amazing second. Design should always reflect the person who lives in it, not whatever trends are active. Good design is timeless and expresses the human spirit.

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it? 
MC: This is probably a strange answer, but in the early ‘70s Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded a music video to “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” and I just love the vibe of space they’re playing in. It looks like the inside of a garage or a cabin – the open truss system and wood walls are painted white. I love the vintage early ‘70s furniture, and I think the space suits the song perfectly. It’s casual, natural, and full of life.

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
MC: Feed the people. I’m Italian, so all gatherings revolve around food above all else. I also try to take advantage of the amazing weather in Phoenix and try to make all gatherings flow inside and out.

C: Best advice for DIYers?
MC: Don’t worry about trying to fit into someone else’s style- create your own. That said, be sure to find some inspiration and figure out what you like. Identify the top 5 most consistent elements of your style and then stick to them as you design so that it feels cohesive.

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
MC: Don’t be afraid to tell them what you need. We aren’t here to judge; we WANT you to express yourself and let us know what you love and hate. Also, let us know what you want to spend and what you want to feel in your space. We’re here to help you make your dreams a reality!

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
MC: I’m excited to see bold color making a comeback. I love the white wall just as much as any other interior designer, but I am excited to see some more expressive palettes coming back into the mainstream! I’m seeing a lot of jewel tones that remind me of the early ‘90s (which is totally consistent with fashion right now). I think it’s wise to bring in the trendy color palettes in the inexpensive accents like accessories and throw pillows, but to stick to more timeless and minimal lines in your more expensive pieces (avoid the curvy upholstered pieces that are trending right now).

C: How do you take your coffee?
MC: BLACK and made from fancy organic east African beans.

Three rooms designed by Mackenzie Collier Interiors
Design by Mackenzie Collier Interiors

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