20 questions with Michelle Mawby
Having previously lived and practiced in Amsterdam, London, California and Canada's west coast before making Toronto her home, Michelle draws on her extensive travels and continuing studies in design, history and architecture to craft highly personalized spaces with functionality in mind, ensuring livable elegance down to the smallest detail.
1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?
Michelle Mawby Kelly Wearstler - Love her designs, style and wardrobe.
2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?
MM Serendipity. I am often inspired by the most unrelated things.
3 Favourite restaurant?
MM I love Sotto Sotto in Toronto, Rim Rock Cafe in Whistler, Three Forks in Austin, TX, and my mum's kitchen in Richmond, B.C.
4 What's your favourite room to decorate?
MM The powder room. You can have so much fun in a small space. I love designing powder rooms a little over the top and always glamorous.
5 What's your current paint colour obsession?
MM Shiny black or navy. I had a beautiful black bathroom in my first house and am planning to paint the dining room in my current house black with white moulding. I'm also working on a navy library for a client that is going to be stunning and have just completed an amazing black and navy living room and dining room for another client.
This glamorous powder room draws on a clean palette of cool marble and porcelain, with the unexpected touch of a classic mirror frame reinvented in clear resin. 6 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
MM I would play Mozart's finale "Bassa Selim lebe lange!" from the Abduction from the Seraglio. It's so upbeat and always makes me happy when I listen to it. Plus I'd make a hell of an entrance!
7 What's the one store you could spend hours browsing?
MM Harvey Nichols for fashion and the Conran Shop for design in London. I love the carefully curated clothing collections and the amazing accessories at Harvey Nichols and the sleek selections both wildly unattainable and cheap and cheerful at the Conran Shop.
8 London, Paris or New York?
MM London (I lived in South Kensington for 2 years), with frequent trips to Saint-Germain-Des-Prés in Paris.
9 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
MM A beachfront villa on Grand Cayman and maybe a private jet to get me there.
10 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?
MM The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by Canadian Frank Gehry. The form and material is so innovative and beautiful. Michelle's own dining room layers elegant colours and textures with architectural accents for a luxurious space. 11 Favourite movie?
MM The Right Stuff. It's a great movie, and even better novel.
12 What's your favourite movie interior?
MM Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?
MM Like my wardrobe, with accessories! New art work, decorative pieces, pillows and a rug. Invest in the big pieces and fill in the trends with fun, less expensive pieces.
14 Best coffee table book?
MM Frank Lloyd Wright in Pop-up, Iain Thomson.
15 What's your favourite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
MM In my jammies snuggled in high thread count sheets in bed.
16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
A client's treasured collection of rustic antiques were given new life as artwork, refreshing contemporary architectural lines and simple colours in this elegant foyer.
MM I like to entertain those around me while being entertained.
17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?
MM Re-space planning the home for modern living. My favourite renovation is to create a cohesive living area with an open concept living-family room/ kitchen and to get rid of the archaic formal living room at the front of the house that people use twice a year.
18 What is your favourite space that you've designed?
MM My own century house, although it's still a work in progress.
19 What's the biggest design faux pas?
MM Theme rooms and putting every decorative item you own on display at once.
20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?
MM At some time or another all three ... depending on my mood!
Inspired by a dramatic Louis Vuitton runway dress, Michelle paired luxurious black with navy creating an intimate feeling for this sitting room.