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Lark House Interior Styling

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At Home: The Longs

Making A House A Home

Story by Natalie Caudle | Photos by Jonna Dodge

Like so many little girls, Marissa Avila spent her childhood playing in a make-believe world: primping, dressing, and designing the intricate details of her dolls. As fairytales faded, Marissa settled into adulthood working with her father in the insurance industry. Her days became more rhythmic and predictable, but the spark of design that had once captured her curiosity was always a close companion.

Time marched on; Marissa married and became a mother to three, yet her heart continued to beat for beautiful things. In quiet moments, she would thumb through old issues of Domino magazine admiring vintage styles and learning the intricacies of design. It wasn’t until 2021 that her dream of helping others find beauty and purpose in their spaces became a reality—Lark House Interior Styling began.

With a guiding spirit, Marissa leaves the reins of home design in the hands of the client. At the center of each project is the reflection of the homeowner. “It’s a house; it has to be functional and beautiful,” remarks Marissa. “Your house should tell your own story. No two houses should look alike.” Her vision expands beyond a specific design or color palette. Each project is unique to the heartbeat of the home.

Taking a house from an outdated and stale style can feel overwhelming to the average person. As a homegrown Valley girl, Marissa realizes that the decor options in town can seem limited. But she looks beyond the current trends and searches for vintage treasures to add a little personality.

After moving to a newly-built house, Marissa faced the challenge of threading her own voice into the tapestry of their home. Instead of filling the space with trendy knickknacks, she chose specific pieces that held sentimental value. She remarks, “One of my favorite décor pieces is my husband’s grandpa’s army picture—it’s part of my husband’s story. It’s not a style, it’s functional.” Throughout her home are other pieces that have a dual purpose of meaning and beauty: a vintage tin butterfly box adds interest to her shelf while a cherished black and white finger painting by her son is framed in his bedroom. “I will never get rid of it. It’s so meaningful to me. It reflects my story.”

Inspired by interior designer Amber Lewis, Marissa gravitates to styles that include bright, airy spaces, calming colors, natural light, and grounding pieces with vintage elements like books or framed art. Lewis’ talent for mixing patterns encourages Marissa to think outside of the box. Many of Marissa’s designs reflect the story of the home in texture and color while featuring found items specific to the culture of the Valley.

Throughout the day Marissa wears many hats as wife, mom, true-crime fan, and designer. Each morning, she dedicates time to caring for her home and managing Lark House Interior Styling. Despite the many spinning plates, she finds her greatest joy in treasure hunting. Oftentimes, she can be found at local antique stores, thrift shops, or even HomeGoods. “Finding those one-of-a-kind items that have history and a story makes me feel like I won the lottery,” she beams.

When needing a little help with a fresh look, clients can book the two-hour Bite Size Design consultation through Marissa’s website, larkhouse.co. Being tasked with an unfamiliar project can be daunting for some, but she aims to simplify the process. “Very few people can furnish a house at once, but people can work towards their final goal. We have a chat, pull together options, and make a design board,” she explains. “My purpose is to come alongside, see the project, and hear what they want. It’s my job to get them from point A to point B in their home. I help them explore and decide what represents their family.”

Marissa brings a unique vision and talent to the world of design. Her expertise and keen eye effortlessly freshen up any space while bringing in warmth through personal pieces that portray a family’s heart. And really, at the end of the day, it’s not the house that matters, it’s the stories that make the house a home.