By Claire Harlin
After 25 years of success at its Del Mar location, Polo Bay Interiors opened its doors July 27 at 344 S. Cedros, Suite B, making the Cedros Design District home to a major force in the interior design industry — Mary Kellejian.
As owner of Polo Bay, Kellejian adds her flair to homes not only in the community but nationwide, and she was recently elected president of the San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
The honor is something the community should be proud of, and it is in line with what the Cedros Design District offers, said husband and Deputy Mayor Joe Kellejian, who has served five four-year terms on the Solana Beach City Council.
“We’re proud that she not only represents San Diego County but our fine city, and she has a knack of being able to work with people,” he said. “She has actually become part of the family in the homes of the people she works with. She’s able to find out what their needs are and articulate them in a way that enhances their lives.”
Mary said it wasn’t easy leaving her former location at 3790 Via De La Valle because she had gained such a loyal clientele there. But after a quarter of a century (and a long lease), she saw it as a good time to transition.
“I didn’t think I would end up on Cedros. I was thinking ‘There’s a lot going on here. Do they need another designer?’” she said. “But the timing was just right. It’s a smaller store than what I’m used to. But in this economy, that’s OK.”
Polo Bay Interiors designs and remodels rooms from the ground up, facilitating every step of the planning and construction. Kitchens and bathrooms are common, but Mary says she specializes in anything clients need to make their homes more comfortable — “Our homes are everything to us,” she said.
“I don’t just sell people things. It’s quite a project when you are in their home and I guide them through the whole process,” she said. “I do a lot of hand-holding.”
As ASID president, Mary said she is not only planning leadership and educational events, but she is also advocating to government officials that interior design should be a licensed field, just like other contractors in the construction industry. The group has hired a lobbyist and other states are passing similar measures, she said.
“There is so much to interior design besides makes things pretty,” Mary said. “[Licensing] would protect everyone, and help us stand behind what we do.”
Mary’s tireless efforts have been an inspiration in the life of her daughter, Kelli Barrett, who has followed in her mother’s footsteps and also become an interior designer.
“At home we are always talking shop,” said Joe. “We are always watching Home and Garden TV.”