Together, Art Ellsworth and Marvin Wilkinson created one of the most chic design showrooms in Scottsdale. Here, they share how John Brooks began and what’s in store this season.
Marvin Wilkinson (on left) and Art Ellsworth of John Brooks. PHOTO BY CARL SCHULTZ
Since their blind date in 1987, Art Ellsworth and Marvin Wilkinson have been inseparable. Not only did they begin a beautiful life together as a couple, but they were an interior design match made in heaven, opening their first John Brooks showroom in Denver in 1993 and then in Scottsdale in 1999. Now, they have satellite showrooms in Aspen, Salt Lake City and, most recently, Bozeman, Mont. When we asked this design duo how they continue to succeed together, Ellsworth replied, “Love, passion and respect. Love what you do; do what you love! And allow each other to grow when needed.”
In the partnership, “Art brings the business side,” says Wilkinson. “However, he has a natural ability for design, which he continues to develop.” As for Wilkinson, Ellsworth says, “Marvin is the constant salesman and leader, something you don’t learn in design school. His yang is his natural business skills.” But both agree that their greatest passion is the collaboration with the artisans, manufacturers and clients. And, what they are most looking forward to this season at the Scottsdale Design District showrooms is connecting all that creativity together in person again.
Right now in Scottsdale, buyers are more creative and looking at “less clutter for the traditional interior, and more layers, more color and more pattern for the contemporary interior,” says Wilkinson. “There is more attention to the unusual, such as art, historical objects and found objects.” When choosing art, Ellsworth and Wilkinson credit their friends Keith McCoy and Ralph Webb, who not only opened many doors for them in the vendor world, but also helped train their eye for collecting. “We are the stewards of the unusual,” says Ellsworth. “We are responsible for preserving art and found objects for future generations.”
From furniture to wallcoverings with lines from Holly Hunt, Liaigre, Phillip Jeffries, Rose Tarlow and Vladimir Kagan, to name a few, this luxury experience all under one roof is more than extraordinary for home decor inspo. When guests walk through the showroom, both Ellsworth and Wilkinson enjoy showing new materials and pairings of materials. “We love showing all the new fabrics and wallcoverings,” says Wilkinson, “and objects made by Mother Nature.” johnbrooksinc.com