Modern, eclectic design is the signature look of Michelle Gerson Interiors, whose namesake founder pulls inspiration from her background in fashion design. Luxurious furnishings designed for the eye and built for comfort, coupled with deco and mid-century elements, are the keys of Michelle’s aesthetic. With an extensive network of resources as diverse as her clientele, she has designed high-end homes in New York City, the Hamptons, New Jersey, Westchester, Connecticut, Palm Beach, Miami, Nantucket, Boston, Chicago and London.
Capture Michelle’s sleek, contemporary design sense with her personally selected pieces from Sotheby’s Home.
How did you discover your passion for design?
As a child, my family moved many times; each time, my mother tried to distract us by allowing us to partake in designing our own rooms. Both my older and younger sisters would end up letting me choose what would go in their rooms. When I was grounded or sent to my room as punishment as a child, I would always spend my time moving the furniture around. I really do feel like it was an innate response and something I was born to do.
What is your favorite decorative object at home?
My favorite decorative object in my home is my late father’s collection of vintage and antique ship clocks. Not only do I love the way they look, but they also offer a certain level of comfort to me. They have sentimental value, and I can’t see living without them ever.
Is design an art or a science?
Design is both an art and a science. In order to be an effective designer, you must first have an artistic ability, but without the business acumen to follow through and be very organized, the art will never take place. Most successful designers have the capability or the structure within their companies to allow them to be artistic and organized.
Do you have any go-to color or pattern combinations?
Black and white, or a version of white (i.e., off-white), are commonly found in my design stories. I find that these two colors act as a great way to tie a home together and show fluidity. Black and white (technically not colors) are a great backdrop to add in other colors.
When do you consider a completed project a success?
I consider a completed project a success when the punch list is finished and the client cries tears of happiness.
Share your biggest design secret.
My biggest design secret is all in the way I develop my relationship with the client. It’s so important for your clients to have complete trust in you. I always make sure my clients know that I have their backs and am looking out for their best interest. Once your clients trust in your taste and ability to create and bring their vision to light with respect to their guidelines, you have an open road to do your job.
What is the most common design mistake you see?
The most common mistake I see is scale being wrong. When the scale is off, the whole project looks off.
How do you balance style, comfort and functionality?
The best way to balance style, comfort and functionality is to layer. I truly believe that in order to design a successful space, priorities need to be comfort and function. I then layer in the style with accessories, wall coverings and woodgrains. All these elements warm up and soften a space.
Is there a specific item you typically use as a starting point? (ex: rug, artwork, statement piece, furniture)
I do not typically start with the same item in each room to design a space, but I do start with one item. The first item we pick tends to be the sounding board for what is next and dictates the direction a room will go.
What do you think about Sotheby’s Home?
I really like the shop pages where you can buy things available immediately, and it’s also a great way to sell things.