Lately, I’ve been spending a good amount of time in Los Angeles for “work purposes”. And when I say “work purposes”, of course I mean to have lunch with big-shot designer and producer friends, then drive around aimlessly looking at Hollywood Hills mansions. Well, aside from these grueling tasks, I’ve become familiar with a designer who has kinda-sorta taken the Hollywood design scene by storm, Michelle Workman.
When I first discovered Michelle’s work, it was in the pages of Veranda for a full spread on her design of Jennifer Lopez’s home. My jaw hit the floor. Not from over-the-topness or mind-blowing high energy color. More for her understated, elegant take on Hollywood glamour. If you’ve ever thought about going Hollywood in your own home but were apprehensive of it being too, well, much, I suggest you check out Michelle’s work. Also, if you like Jennifer Lopez, I suggest you check out Michelle’s work. Now, take a look-see.
Michelle Workman is a California-based interior designer known for successfully blending glamorous Hollywood style with understated traditional elegance. She is also good at walking fast. Earlier this year, we traversed a seven-city-block power walk from Starbucks to the Design Star offices. She got coffee, I got hot apple cider. And when I say hot apple cider, I mean a donut.
In this project for Jennifer Lopez, Michelle masterfully layered different shades of gray to create a soft, serene environment that borders on being colorless. This layering idea is an excellent alternative to more expected neutrals such as cream or taupe. So the next time your significant other shoots down using hot pink or turquoise in the living room, pull out your power back up: charcoal and dove gray.
Elegant materials and finishes are often seen in Michelle’s spaces. In this dining room also done for Jennifer Lopez, Workman incorporated many touches of light and airy feminine elegance: the modern(ish) crystal chandelier, a metallic relief damask wallpaper, pure white draperies and upholstery in ballet slipper pink tones. For anyone considering going pink in their home, keep in mind that pinks with lots of gray undertones are a great way to sneak in color without a space becoming a bubble gum factory or a nail salon. An excellent pink paint color for understated elegance is Primrose Petals from Benjamin Moore.
Here Michelle softened a more industrial-style space with a soft gray print on a pair of club chairs and light colored floors. Juxtaposing contrasting styles can work beautifully if you get the balance right. For example, a super elegant space interrupted by a wall of graffiti would be great, but it can also come across as random and kinda afterthought-ish. To avoid the un-good randomness, always sneak in a few small accents of each style, like with accessories or art. You know what else is random? Me using a semicolon right here; see, I did it.
Traditional style can seem boring to design lovers who favor the unexpected. To do traditional right, take a few cues from Michelle. In this sunroom, she chose traditional elements just about everywhere, but they’re all packed with texture. This is also an excellent alternative for those scared of color. Just like my grandmother used to say, “If you can’t pack a room with color, fill ‘er up with texture.” Nah, I lied. My grandmother never said that. But she did yell at cats and throw cotton balls at my sister simply for the sake of trying to irritate her.
Iconic Hollywood elements make it into Michelle’s spaces but in a well-balanced manner. In this bedroom, she’s packed vibrant greens into an otherwise all white color scheme. Kelly and emerald green are both tones used often in classic, old Hollywood interiors, both on-screen and off. One of the most iconic wallpapers out there known for evoking Hollywood style is the Martinique Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper that sports large-scale bananas leaves. Guess who once went to a dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel with big-shot designers and was 25 minutes late? What, don’t look at me? It was the taxi driver’s fault.
Okay, now that I’ve introduced y’all to Michelle Workman, anyone else got any fab designers we should look into who are known for touches of Hollywood glam?
Tell me in the comments below.