I have not done a segment in my “In The Spotlight” series for a long time. But rest assured, there are still many talented people I have a strong desire to share – because of the good vibes, creativity and talent they ooze – with you!
Let me introduce you to the talented, LA based interior designer, Michelle Niday. We first met through my store when she purchased not one but two of my blankets. We started to talk about design and she shared some pictures of her home with me (I showed you a tiny glimpse some time back). Our cyber connection evolved into fun phone chats and had Michelle lived any closer I would have been regularly banging on her front door. I like this girl (she is warm, fun and clever) and I like her approach to design!
Her beautiful home is featured in the current fall/winter issue of Country French (I picked up my copy at Barnes & Noble). And what a home she shares with her partner, Corey Young (a mega talented general contractor)! They live in a fabulous loft that was once part of a 1920’s toy factory.
(Pay attention to those fantastic windows!).
My Scandinavian blanket looking good on Michelle’s pretty chaise!
I have have been wanting to share our design conversations with you for quite a while. The following are the questions I bombarded her with along with her graceful responses.
Enjoy — you might just walk away with a few design tricks!
Q: How do you describe your personal design style?
MN: I try to harmonize and to juxtapose timeless contemporary with timeworn antiques. I enjoy working with neutral colors, organic textures and graphic patterns to achieve an exciting space.
Monika: OK, STOP right there! I have a very serious crush on that table in front of Michelle’s lovely French sofa. She tells me that it is a very old cheese table from France and that it has a lovely patina and the most perfect scale. She knows how envious I am…
Q: What design elements do you never grow tired off?
MN: Vintage European (Italian/French) plaster sculptures of the human body (feet, hands torso, all good!), stripes, chandeliers, textural rugs like Jute or Seagrass, giant clam shells, vintage charcoal sketches of the human body, architectural fragments/objects (wood, metal), Belgian linen and Vellum books!
Q: What 5 things can anybody do to quickly beautify a room?
1. PAINT: You can simply paint the 4 walls in an exciting dark or pure white color or try the absence of all color, black (BM Black Suede looks terrific if done in a flat finish) or do an interesting treatment ie: paint stripes, horizontally or vertically, or paint a graphic pattern. You could even try painting a floor!
2. REMOVING: If your room has particularly pretty flooring or windows/moldings, try removing curtains or rugs and letting the attractive moldings and floor become the focal points.
3. EDIT: Remove everything from your room. And I mean everything (even wall hangings)! Slowly reintroduce pieces back in to the scheme, trying things in different places until you get a more pleasing look.
4. FLOAT: Try pulling a major piece away from a wall ( sofa, even a bed) go one step further and try angling this piece (again, much easier when room is empty!).
5. REPEAT: Try grouping your favorite collections or paintings. Usually the collected pieces become much more impactful and interesting when placed together.
Q: What in your opinion is an absolute no-no when designing a room?
(I love Michelle’s answers where she mixes dont’s with do’s!)
MN: No THEME rooms allowed please!
– Do not use poly-fill in pillows. Instead use at least 90/10 down preferably 75/25 (super soft and squishy!)
– Do not hang curtains that are too short or hung too low! In my opinion, curtains should be hung as high as possible over the window and the length should just break on the floor much like a man’s pant cuff breaks on his shoes! Interlining a drape well allows even inexpensive drape fabric to look like a million bucks! Trust me even a muslin fabric will look really fab!
– Do not use lots of little upholstered pieces. Instead use less, but use pieces that have a grander scale!
– Do not create a room that is just a pretty face, it must actually function for you!
– Do not create a “period” room. Instead MIX pieces artfully using your favorite eras and styles to create a room with personality and timelessness!
– Do not be timid, do not be afraid to make a mistake. Imperfection often makes a perfect room!
Michelle, please share one personal design trick with us!
MN: I always infuse a room with at least one or two objects/furniture that have a natural patina versus a manufactured patina as in “You can fool some of the people all of the time…….but you can not fool all of the people all of the time…” It is certainly fine to use some pieces which have man made patina but I believe the human eye picks this up either unconsciously or consciously whether or not the entire room is filled with reproductions!
(This is Michelle’s wonderful and personal kitchen!).
Now was that interesting or what, folks! I learned a lot and I hope you did too! Thank you Michelle for sharing your thoughts on design with us. You are one talented and inspirational gal. I look forward to seeing more of your work (and I look forward to many more fun chats!).
Michelle is one busy lady renovating and decorating many clients homes (incl. several celebrities’ homes such as the lovely Ali Landry’s). She is also finds time to be in charge of set designs for TV shows. Hop over here if you want to learn more about her work. And you can always follow Michelle on Pinterest — here.
Hugs to everyone and always Thank You for tuning in!
Images: No. 1 via Splendid Willow, no. 2 private via Michelle Niday, no. 3-10 via Country French (scanned from fall/winter issue 2012).