Q & A with Mally Skok

December 3, 2014

By Paula M. Bodah

Mally Skok makes it all look so easy, whether she’s dressing up a client’s home or designing her own distinctive fabrics and wallcoverings. Here she gives us a bit of insider scoop on what inspired the design of Chris and Randy Battat’s suburban-Boston house, featured in our November-December issue.

What’s the common denominator that lets the variety of patterns and textures work so beautifully in the dining room?

I am a very fabric-driven interior designer (no surprise there!) So right at the beginning of a job, I like to do a big sweep through the Boston Design Center with my client, with no particular plan in mind. Together we pull a huge pile of fabrics and general ideas; I urge my client not to worry too much about where it is for, just whether is really jumps out at them. During this process I am guiding, but also watching my clients’ reactions very closely!

I then like to take the bags home with me, and put the fabrics into some kind of order. I find that if my clients really trust me, and their own inner voice, more often than not, a theme will produce itself. I find that most people have an inner palette that just needs to be extracted from them.

In the case of the Battat’s dining room, my clients really loved the colors and painterly effect of the curtain fabric. I knew I needed something sumptuous and quite luxurious for the Klismos chairs, so the silk from Schumacher did the job of picking out the colors of the curtain fabric in an unexpected way. Then I made the end chair fabric really comfortable and almost casual, a good juxtaposition for the delicate side chair fabric. I hate a room to be too precious!

The grasscloth walls was an obvious choice, grasscloth has had such a spectacular comeback recently. It gives the walls a real punch of intense color while straddling the divide between luxury and relaxed perfectly.

Last came the wool sisal carpet. A patterned carpet would have been too much, a sisal would have been too little, so I went for the wool sisal—it signals a sisal rug, while being a little more luxurious, and I always love it when manufacturers play around with different materials in unexpected ways.

Mally Skok Dining Room

Photography by Michael J. Lee

What inspired the choice of turquoise as a color thread through the house?

As I go through all my clients choices (guided choices) this is where I start putting together the loose ‘road map’ for the scheme for the project. Sometimes it is a really lovely color that seems to thread itself though the project. In the Battat’s case it was the gorgeous Turkish-type turquoise. It’s not always a color. It could be a theme, like very organic and earthy. I like the client to drive the initial way forward.

Mally Skok Bathroom


Are freestanding tubs in the bath more than a passing trend? What makes them a good choice?

I do think freestanding tubs are a bit of a trend. We used it for the bathroom because we ended up with a large piece of real estate on top of the kitchen (due to the addition). Both my clients are devotees of the steam shower we installed, but the tub fills the window space so elegantly. Who knows, one day they might come in freezing from snow shoeing and give it a whirl?

Mally Skok Master Bathroom

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