Interior Designer Gemma Parker Is Thankful for All Projects, from Luxury Lake Houses to Children’s Nurseries

Gemma Parker knows that interior design has the ability to change the way a homeowner lives and is proud to bring her design expertise and customized furnishing services to clients.

The Thanksgiving season is meant to be a time for reflection; a time when everyone can sit back and be thankful for the year that has passed. In the wonderful world of interior design, clients are often extremely thankful for renovations, remodels and revamps, but designers can be just as appreciative.

Gemma Parker-McKeon is the founder and principal of Gemma Parker Design, LLC, an award-winning interior design firm specializing in residential commissions, as well as custom products and furnishings. Throughout her career, Gemma has focused on prioritizing a collaborative relationship with clients to deliver projects that reflect their personalities and their lifestyles.
“Since I was 11 years old, I knew that I wanted to be an interior designer,” said Parker. “We moved all over the world when I was younger, and I learned a great deal about color, curating and editing from watching my mother design each new home. From early on, I was very thankful for the beauty of our homes, which were always tailored, classic and timeless. Now, I strive for timelessness in all of our interiors.”
Throughout her career, Parker has collaborated with clients both nationally and internationally, and her work has been featured in numerous magazines and books, including Luxe Interiors and Design, Architectural Digest, Modern Luxury Interiors and more.
One of Parker’s favorite recent projects was the redesign of a lake house in Harbor Springs, Michigan. “There was a total refresh and revamp of the 13,000-square-foot interior, including all seven bedrooms,” she said. “The beautiful property sits right on Lake Michigan and features an incredible panoramic view of the water.”
Parker’s goal was to make the interior elegant yet informal and straightforward. “We wanted the space to be luminous, serene and relaxing in a way that captured the spirit of lake living in an understated way,” she said. “We always focus on the views when we are designing homes and it was important for us to forge a close connection between the interior and the surrounding exterior landscape.”
Parker and her design team focused on a refined use of materials along with a sophisticated color palette, bringing in the sights from the outside to play on the depth of color and added variety throughout the house.
“While I am proud of every single room, I would say I am most thankful for having designed my children's nursery,” she said. “Since we don't believe in designing rooms that need to be changed every few years, our designs focus on classic, sophisticated and timeless themes. In the case of the nursery, our first child's gender was a surprise before he was born so we focused on a gender-neutral space that included muted colors with a wide array of textures and depths to create a soothing space with dimension and warmth.”
Parker has a degree in psychology and makes sure to prioritize the psychological aspects of interior design as well. For the nursery, Parker focused on creating a calming place where the kids could rest their heads and dream, saving the bold and stimulating colors for play spaces and other areas tailored to high-energy use.
“I always recommend starting with a classic base and adding an unexpected twist such as a large graphic element or a striped ceiling,” said Parker. “With the nursery, I wanted to make it unique and playful in a way that would grow with the child. I added a large map tapestry to create a graphic element that was large in scale and easy to grow with. It is important to remember that when designing a nursery, you are not only designing a space for the baby but for the parents who will spend a lot of time in the room as well.”
The collaborative environment that the interior design world cultivates is what Parker loves the most. “By collaborating with clients on the creative, business and management side of the process, interior designers are able to build long-lasting and appreciative relationships with their clients,” she said. “The impact that we can have on a client’s daily life and the transformation that a new space can provide is so rewarding. I am always honored that our clients trust us enough to let us into their homes.”
According to Parker, the Michigan lake house and nursery are prime examples of why the interior design world provides so much to be thankful for. “I feel so appreciative to have a business where I have the luxury of doing two things that I love and am passionate about—being a mom and helping people feel happier in their homes,” she said.