Kitchen and Bath Showrooms Los Angeles County

To Live & Design in L.A.

Design firm CutlerSchulze shares their L.A. Story.

Mark Cutler and Nichole Schulze

Having collaborated together for over a decade, well-known Los Angeles-based designers Mark Cutler and Nichole Schulze have news to share—they’ve united.

Now, with their separate businesses formally coming together as ‘CutlerSchulze’, they continue to bond over their synergetic approach, love for details, and shared belief that interior design exists as a form of portraiture—meaning the work should reflect the client, who they are and what they value. The duo’s commitment to design to each client’s needs rather than create a conventional “CutlerSchulze look”, is what as a firm sets them apart. Their ‘client-first’ approach is paying off, leading them to design projects all over the globe.

Luxurious entryway with stone walls, black and white checked floor, large black-framed windows, glass chandelier and a wooden table with stools.
Hidden Hills Entry

Meet Mark Cutler and Nichole Schulze

Cutler’s portfolio includes design work for Vanna White, Steve Carrell, Bill Phillips, Jennifer Lopez, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Tom Skeritt, alongside luxury locations like Cipriani Hotels and Regent Hotels. Cutler was listed in the Robb Report’s “Top 40” firms in the country and was the former resident interior designer on A&E TV’s “Makeover Mamas.”

Nichole Schulze is a New England native, and completed her Art History degree at William Smith college in N.Y. before attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to obtain her degree in Interior Design. Her L.A. career started at Annette English + Associates, where she worked on a variety of projects, but spent the most time on a ground-up 30,000+ sq-ft house in Beverly Park North. 

Nichole was at Annette English when she crossed paths with Mark—an eight-year partnership commenced leading up to the recent formation of CutlerSchulze.

Colorful mid-century dining room with a large corner bench sofa, a white round table, a red light fixture and abstract wall painting.
Altadena Mid Century Kitchen with Banquette

Design On Tap Sits Down With CutlerSchulze

We sat down with CutlerSchulze to discover their creative process, what makes their partnership work, and what it takes to break into the L.A. design scene. 

Antique French bathroom with a white freestanding bathtub, gold and glass chandelier, blue and white striped drapes, and crystal knob.
Balboa Island

Design On Tap: What’s new with CutlerSchulze? 

Nichole Schulze: CutlerSchulze is a new partnership so almost everything is new with us. We continue to work with previous clients but are also focused on bringing on new ones. Of course now there’s an organic combination of design philosophies and work experience as Mark and I have officially joined forces.

DoT: How has joining forces changed dynamics and the way you approach your work?

Mark Cutler: Working alongside someone who brings new ideas to the table and another angle of looking at things has changed the dynamic, for the better. She's a woman, I'm a man, she’s an American from the East Coast, I’m from Australia—we’re two different people, looking at the world in different ways, which ultimately affects the way we design and how we relate to clients.

NS: Mark comes from an architecture background and worked at an architecture firm for many years before transitioning to interior design, and I come from a strictly interior design art history background. He had worked in Australia, I had worked on the East Coast—I think our backgrounds meld together and our individual strengths become even stronger.

White freestanding bathtub with an exposed tub filler, next to a gray stool, in a bright bathroom overlooking trees.
Atherton Bath

DoT: What defines the partnership, and makes it powerful? 

MC: Having that ability to allocate work and listen to each other has been fantastic, and the quality of the work has improved.

NS: Yeah, and even in cases when you're convinced that your idea or direction is absolutely the way to go…you have a partner who may come up with a different idea or perspective—it's nice to have both of our ideas come together and elevate the outcome. 

MC: The plus side is I didn't know how many times I could be wrong.

NS: Because I'm usually right!

Contemporary dining room with a gold chandelier and beige patterned chairs.
Atherton Dining Room

DoT: Who decided on CutlerSchulze and not SchulzeCutler?

MC & NS: (in unison) Alphabetical order—and it sounded better. 

CutlerSchulze interior design firm logo
CutlerSchulze Logo

MC: In fact, if you look at the logo very carefully, the U in Schulze is actually the typeface of Cutler and vice versa, so it's really supposed to indicate the time together.

DoT: Now that there’s a formal partnership, how would you describe your united philosophy when it comes to approaching your work?

MC: I think we both share the philosophy that interior design is a form of portraiture, and for us that means creating homes that look like the people who live there. It's about our ability to get inside the heads of our clients, see what's there, and then take that idea and bring it to a three-dimensional execution. We really want people to walk into a CutlerSchulze home and say to the homeowner “this looks just like you.” 

Bright white bathroom overlooking trees with floor-to-ceiling windows, light wood cabinets, double white sinks with silver faucets, two rectangular mirrors and glass sconces.
Atherton Bath

DoT: Any upcoming projects that you’re excited about and want to share?

MC: We're just starting work on a family-owned boutique hotel in Solvang. The hotel is an heirloom, and the younger members of the family are taking it over so it's an opportunity to tell a story about this family, this community, and this hotel in a way that makes sense and helps use the past to define the future.

Large bedroom with five abstract pastel artworks, fireplace with a landscape wallpaper, large gray area rug, king size bed with a purple headboard, and a purple lounge chair.
Atherton Primary Bedroom

"Get to know the people in your showrooms, attend every industry event from LCDQ to Westweek, and you will quickly get the lay of the land." - Mark Cutler

DoT: As L.A. transplants you’ve both managed to flourish and grow roots here—when you decided on a design career here in Los Angeles, did you encounter roadblocks?

MC: I have worked in many places around the world, Australia, NYC, London and Paris, but L.A. was by far the most open and accessible of all of those. There is a very strong and robust design community here that is willing to share and mentor not just young talent but new arrivals. I would have to say there were very few roadblocks and if you are looking to start or relocate for a career in interior design, there are few communities that are as engaged and welcoming as this one.

NS: I’m not sure I felt any roadblocks when I came to L.A. per se, other than not really having a firm grasp on the city and the design resources. I will say this, anyone that I met with a connection to the design industry went out of their way to help me meet people they thought could be helpful or provide insight. I was always happily surprised about how open and helpful people in L.A. are.

Beyond that, I think there is a slightly different mindset coming from a NYC design experience to L.A.. In NY, even for high-end residential projects, one has to be so mindful of space and the design needs to fit together tightly like a jigsaw puzzle. In L.A. there is more space to play around with, which gives a little more opportunity to experiment or look at different design concepts. It took me a second to adjust my frame of reference.

MC: The L.A. design community is interesting, other professions don't spend nearly as much time swimming in the same pool together. For instance, you don't really see a lot of lawyers hanging out with other lawyers. However, for us designers here in L.A. there's a strong sense of community and willingness to share and support one another. So many times it's like, “my wallpaper guy just broke his leg, I need a wallpaper guy a.s.a.p.”. I have a list of 25 different designers I could call and say “hey do you have a wallpaper guy” and I know that they would immediately do what they could to jump in and help—that community-centric mentality feels unique to Los Angeles. 

DoT:  ‘Making it’ in L.A. is no small feat—what advice would you give interior designers who want to break into this market?

MC: Reach out and attend industry events. One of the unique things about L.A. is how strong and social the network of designers and showrooms are. So if I were starting out, get to know the people in your showrooms, attend every industry event from LCDQ to Westweek, and you will quickly get the lay of the land. In addition to that, building a client base can be a bit more challenging but like anything else, constant and consistent work will ultimately pay off. So get out and meet people in the communities where you think your ideal client is, everything from PTA to yoga class is an opportunity to make connections. Lastly, social media is another way to build a following of people who understand your philosophy and want to vibe with it.

NS: I would say talk to just about anyone about your design goals, you would be surprised who has connections in the design world, and would be willing to give you a reference. And frankly, don’t be afraid to reach out to design firms that you are interested in working with, it’s a pretty open community in L.A., and more often than not, designers are looking to support new talent or established designers. Look at what design events are taking place and try to attend where you can. Swing by showrooms and get to know who works there, the more you are out and about, the better.

Neutral kitchen with a large stainless steel range hood, a soft wood island with marble countertop, brown barstools, and glass pendant lamp.Outdoor swimming pool and lounge area surrounded by trees and foliage.
Atherton Kitchen
Atherton Outdoor Pool
Neutral kitchen with a large stainless steel range hood, a soft wood island with marble countertop, brown barstools, and glass pendant lamp.
Atherton Kitchen
Outdoor swimming pool and lounge area surrounded by trees and foliage.
Atherton Outdoor Pool

DoT: On a final note, knowing that our audiences are L.A. designers, architects, builders, design enthusiasts, and homeowners—is there anything you would like to share?

MC: There are a lot of things we are very proud of. One of them is looking at our Google reviews and clients’ comments on our website, and seeing the words ‘accessibility, approachability and affability’ being widely used. This is the essence of our partnership, what we think sets us apart from other designers, and we couldn't be more proud. The second thing we'd like to mention is that some designers filter clients. We don't. Some designers push their ideas onto their clients. We don't. We worked hard to make sure clients feel welcome, heard and seen, and this is where we, as a brand, believe we stand out.

DoT: Okay, so can you list ten things you love about Snyder Diamond?

MC & NS: (long pause) Sure!

DoT: Just kidding, totally kidding. And there was a pretty long pause there, I noticed. 

MC: No, there was a long pause because, how do we list all the things? 

DoT: Right, like how much time do we have? 

MC: It’s like picking your favorite child.

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