Michael S. Smith is one of the most well-known and respected talents in the industry today. His clientele includes top tastemakers, A-list celebrities, captains of industry, and a sitting President. In 2008, he was tasked with a dream project: redecorating the residential spaces in the White House. Then, in 2010, President Obama appointed Smith to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. That same year, Smith debuted his elegant redesign of the Oval Office. We chatted with the award-winning designer on his influences, inspirations, and the secret to his timeless interiors.


While Smith is known for a traditional signature style, his spaces have a modern feel that comes through the addition of unexpected elements. “Like an antique piece in the middle of a modern loft. It adds a little bit of whimsy and quirk, and looks personal,” he says. However, Smith emphasizes the importance of practicality in a room, not solely focusing on the visual aspects. “If you want to hide the TV in the living room, terrific, if you want to show the TV, great, but listen to how the room needs to be used,” he says. “Think about being practical and sensible and what works for you, not what you want for some abstract reason.” 


As for specifics for achieving this effortlessly elegant look, Smith stresses thinking of a room’s balance and composition. Whether you’re mixing together pieces that are from different design periods, styles, or prices, he also encourages designers to approach decor with confidence: “Love it and believe in it, and it will work.”

Michael just released his fifth, and most personal book, The Curated House, tracing the origins and influences of his design philosophy in depth and presenting several new projects. This book follows the changes within Michael’s recent work and life. “Did I think I would be living in the American Embassy in Madrid? No. It’s like the rings on a tree; things have changed, and that evolution is what is recorded in the homes I have designed. The work is ever and ever more complex.” You can receive a complimentary copy of his book with any purchase from his showroom, Jasper, while supplies last.


Our favorite consigned pieces from Michael S. Smith:

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First row: Jasper Custom Dalton Chair, Jasper Slatted Ship’s Table

Second row: Jasper Voltaire Table, Jasper Laurent Leather Sofa

See more new arrivals from the Jasper showroom >>

About the Designer

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Michael S. Smith is one of the most respected and recognized design talents in the industry today. Smith’s style is a blend of European classicism and American modernism. His design firm, Michael S. Smith Inc., was launched in 1990. He has been named three times to “The AD 100” in Architectural Digest, and is the recipient of the Pacific Design Center’s WESTWEEK “Stars of Design.” In 2010, Michael was appointed by President Obama to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. He now lives in Madrid, Spain with his partner, United States Ambassador to Spain, James Costos.

See more of Michael’s work: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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