5 Under 40 Winner Marissa Santos
September 7, 2023
Introducing Marissa Santos one of New England Home‘s “5 Under 40” winners for 2023.
Text by Paula M. Bodah
Like so many New Englanders, Massachusetts native Marissa Santos left the area for a while, only to discover there really is no place like home. She went to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, planning on a career in fashion. The remarkable historic buildings in that southern city so enchanted her, she decided to shift gears and focus on architectural and interior design. As much as she loved Savannah, she says, “I missed New England, so I came back and enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.”
When Boston designers and UMass alums Jim Gauthier and Susan Stacy came to guest lecture and said they planned to hire an intern, Santos applied. Her major qualification? “I could swing a hammer,” she says. “My dad is a contractor, so I grew up working alongside him.”
After she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in architecture and design, she joined the firm full time, and stayed for more than thirteen years.
While she loved her long association with Gauthier–Stacy, becoming a mother of two led to Santos’s decision to open her own firm, Marissa Santos Design, in 2021, working from her Holliston, Massachusetts, home.
To her delight, her business quickly took off as happy clients passed her name on to their friends. “I’ve outgrown my cute little home office,” she says. She anticipates bringing on staff in the next year or so, and plans are in the works to build a carriage house that will serve as her new home office.
Meanwhile, she’s earning a reputation for classic, timeless design that reflects her clients’ personalities. “I want every project to look effortless,” she says. “You don’t necessarily know why you love it, but you know it feels good.”
The “5 Under 40” celebration is on September 14, 2022, at the Landry & Arcari showroom in Boston. The party and auction are open to the public. Join us by purchasing your tickets here.