1) Who are you and where are you located?
I am Martina Servos, interior architect and founder of Lemon Grass Interior Architecture. We are located in the TriState close to Montclair and 30 min outside of New York City.
2) What sets you apart?
I was educated in Germany, where the program is called “Interior Architecture”. The name is pretty self-explanatory. The first two years we were trained parallel with future architects. Afterwards we focused on the interior. As a result I think with two heads, optimizing the functionality and layout while having an aesthetic direction/vision from the start. When I design a master suite, for e.g. right away the plumbing goes where the vanity will end up. It’s a one-stop-shopping, single-point contact. My clients save time and money!
3) What is your favorite room to design and in which style?
I love designing kitchens and bathrooms as well as bedrooms. We specialize in clever space planning. Kitchens and baths require both, functional spaces and great aesthetics. I enjoy the challenge. I am also very passionate about bedrooms, which are all about comfort. Bedrooms are our most personal, intimate rooms and should be tailored to our very needs. Here is where we really recharge our batteries!
It is part of my professional philosophy that I design every space exclusively for my client. I optimize my client’s style. Therefore we realize traditional as well as modern spaces. Lemon Grass’ signature style is clean and not cluttered. We create light, airy and elegant spaces.
I feel well presented by what a magazine editor once wrote:
“Lemon Grass blends sleek European design with the warmth of traditional American décor”.
4) Do you provide online services in addition to offline services?
No, I strongly believe that a space needs to be understood in its 3-dimenional expression. Being in a space I see, feel and understand light, flow and views – to name just a few of the key elements that make a space.
5) What design trends are hot right now?
Especially my female clients are intrigued with the colors that pop up in the current fashion. It’s fun to incorporate these in accessories, like pillows, throws etc. Besides that, design does not evolve like fashion; it does not really come up with a new trend twice a year. Design is an expression of “Zeitgeist”.
Also, I am a firm believer in hanging on to certain items we collect throughout our lives and we love! When my client is attached to the chair he inherited from his parents, or a couple just loves the table, it being the first item ever they bought together, then we transform those pieces and integrate them into the new concept.
6) Tell us about your career. How has it unfolded?
I was intrigued with creating and decorating spaces from an early age on. My father’s firm specialized in hospitality design and I started helping out while I was still in school, loving the chance to see some of my ideas become reality. After graduating from school I studied in Duesseldorf, graduating as an Engineer of Interior Architecture. For more than 10 years I had my own practice in Germany before I moved to the States 10 years ago. I gained experience of the American market while working with established designers before taking on my own projects in the metropolitan area. Lemon Grass was founded in 2006 and I really enjoy watching it grow!
7) What has been the key to your success?
My passion and sensitivity as well as our high level of service.
I have been working in this field for 30 years and still love what I do. It makes me immensely happy and is very fulfilling seeing my clients’ reaction when the project is completed. I get a kick out of reading their feed backs and am proud to receive their referrals.
My clients feel understood, because they feel I really have their comfort at heart.
I grew up in an unstable family setting and my room became my refuge.
As soon as possible I vanished into my space, my own world, listened to music and recharged my batteries. My clients express the same need. They too want a space to come home to after a tough day, where their needs are met and a beautiful décor reflects their style. My vast experience leaves me with no doubt: our home is an extension of ourselves! A beautiful, nurturing home adds to our confidence and our pride. It supports our growth.
I am living proof of this maxim.
8) What are the most common decorating mistakes made by homeowners?
Most laymen start out without a concept. It is like getting in your car and go wherever the road may take you. As a professional I work the other way ‘round: I first establish what outcome my clients desire. What’s the space’s purpose? What atmosphere do you want to find? Compared to the destination it is easy to recognize what decision is a step in the right direction and what will misdirect you.
Besides that, a professional’s most important tool is her trained imagination. Homeowners only look at the item and don’t imagine it in its future context.
A lot of money is wasted by trial-and-error purchases. Hiring an interior designer is the first step to save money, time and frustration.
9) What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Possibly that I am the one German who neither likes potatoes nor beer.
10) Where can we find you online?
Martina Servos has been designing homes, office spaces, retail locations and photo shots for more than 20 years. She got her start in her native Germany after studying interior architecture under some of Europe’s most influential designers at the renowned FH Duesseldorf. While there, Servos also studied carpentry, furniture design, freehand and life drawings as well as technical drafting and design methodology and the basics of architecture. In 1987, Servos graduated at the top of her class with the title of Engineer of Interior Architecture.
In 2003, Servos left her successful business in Germany to move to the States where she has been spreading her European flair through the suburbs of Northern Jersey as well as New York City.
Servos launched her own design business Lemon Grass in 2006. As one of her first jobs she was chosen for the prestigious job of decorating the stately Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York City’s Mayor for a special fund raising event hosted by Mayor Bloomberg.
What makes Lemon Grass Unique…
Lemon Grass blends sleek European design with the warmth of traditional American décor. “We do what it takes to create the perfect living environment for our clients. To achieve this, we develop a close partnership that combines our expertise with your style and input. Truest and a good communication are very important to us. Therefore our initial meeting is complimentary to make sure you are just as comfortable with us as we are with you.” Though decorating is Servos’ passion, function is a priority. “Our first step is to identify the needs and habits of you, the client, to create a living environment that’s not only wonderful to look at but also a comfortable place to live. The ultimate goal is to design rooms that reflect you and your sense of style. Whether that means starting from scratch or incorporating that sofa you just can’t seem to let go of.”