When you come across timeless, effortless design, you know that there are brains behind the beauty of a space. And when we were introduced to Michelle over a simple tag on Instagram, that’s exactly what we found. The trendy touches mixed with modern, homey pieces is refreshing and tasteful. The neutrals flow from room to room, making us want to move right in! We couldn’t want to chat with her about her day to day, and what gives her inspiration to style so well.
Tell us about yourself!
Hi! My name is Michelle but my friends called me Michy. I’m a hybrid of homebody and wanderluster, a plant lover, and a believer in experiences over things. I recently moved back to Washington, DC after a four month stay in San Francisco for my husband’s job. Here in the District, I freelance as an interior stylist and dabble in home staging/property management.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m a natural early bird. I wake up without an alarm around 6 am every day. Since I’m a relatively new freelancer, I really take advantage of the freedom and flexibility I now have to work when and how I want. This could mean my computer is fired up at 7 am because I’m excited to get started on a new client project or working late into the evening (even on a weekend). My morning ritual is making a matcha latte while enjoying a few quiet moments. Playlists and podcasts keep me company all day as I work. I try to find time at some point to move my body with a little exercise and hopefully, enjoy a simple but delicious dinner at home with my husband.
How did you get into styling?
After graduating with a BA in fashion, I fell into visual merchandising and display. I spent 4 years with some large, corporate retailers and then made a major career move to a boutique e-commerce agency. The company managed websites for fashion brands and so my styling experience evolved from mannequins to live models and from window installations to creative direction for photo shoots/look books. While I was with that company, my husband and I bought, renovated and added on to a single family home over the course of a year. Post renovation life, I really felt drawn to leave my job and start freelance work. My first opportunities were property management and residential interior styling for some locals. Since then, I’ve been able to find clients through IG, Thumbtack, or word of mouth.
What’s your favorite part about interior design?
Helping clients define their aesthetic and create spaces that reflect their lifestyle is very rewarding. Each project is so different so it is impossible to get bored.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Mother Nature is my greatest and constant source of inspiration. Whenever I’m in a creative slump, I have to get outdoors.
If there was one piece in your home that you could have, what would it be?
I’m patiently waiting to flea find or craigslist score some vintage leather pieces. Preferably a sofa worn to perfection or some Danish safari chairs. I pray to the Craigslist gods daily!
For someone who has renovated a home, what are your best 3 tips?
Know what you’re capable of DIY’ing (if anything) and what to hire out. Try to fight the urge to furnish immediately upon completion or you may end up regretting some of your purchases. Think ahead and choose materials because you love them rather than succumbing to current trends.
You like to travel! Tell us a few places you’ve recently been to.
My husband and I recently drove cross country twice for our temporary move. We took two very different routes each time and both trips were over the course of nine days. Some of my favorite stops were White Sands National Monument in NM, Yosemite (especially the high country), and Zion and Moab National Parks in Utah. I’m a proud annual US National Park card holder. In just a couple days, we’re off to spend 17 days in Europe with friends and family. The excitement is real!
Do you find that traveling inspires your decorating and styling?
Yes, I would say so. New places and experiences are endlessly inspiring. The heightened sense of awareness and curiosity that happens when I’m in a new place fully resets and refreshes my creative energy. Colors, shapes, architecture – all those details stay collected in photographic visual memory. I’m also guilty of finding and bringing home random thrifted or foraged items. It drives my husband nuts and many of them don’t always fit with our current design but I have a little collection growing for future projects.
Do you have any favorite interiors trend?
Currently, in the midst of a love affair with vintage Turkish hemp rugs. They’re unassumingly cool, casual and organic looking. Especially the ones with fringed ends.
To see more from Michelle, follow her on Instagram, @MichelleSolobay.