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May 2007


MEET THE DESIGNER

Michael Whaley
by Alexa Stevenson

FOR A CLASSICALLY TRAINED DESIGNER, LUXURIOUS INTERIORS ARE SECOND NATURE

[Image]

How would you describe your design sensibility? Glamorous, elegant, luxurious, classic. What is luxury to you? Silk velvet, because it is incredibly soft and plush to the touch—the "fur coat" of fabric. What's your design philosophy? I think everything we have should be beautiful, and that our homes should be harmonious and integrated. For me, design is not about being current or trendy. I prefer to create design that is classic, comfortable, inviting and enduring. Albert Hadley has said that great design is a reflection of a passionate and cultivated taste. I believe it's the job of the designer to provide the knowledge that allows the client to enjoy the benefits of that cultivated taste. Who has had a profound impact on your work? Thomas Jefferson. He was an architect, designer, gardener, diplomat, thinker. Describe your home: It is a 1930 classic white clapboard Colonial set back from the road by a wide, open field and stone walls in North Stamford. The house is shaded by the canopy of an enormous, 300-year-old tulip tree, and is adjacent to a nature preserve on two sides. It has the classic bones and bucolic privacy we wanted while still being close enough to New York for my work. [Image] What are your favorite colors? At this moment, chocolate, lime green and aqua. I always cringe when I see: Double welts as trimming on chairs! Don't these "decorators" know that gimp was invented for that purpose? Double welts mean you don't know what you're doing! If you're looking for a "clean" look, there are other options, but I won't tell you what they are—go get some training from a professional if you don't already know. Which item of furniture in your house would you never part with? A black lacquer Regency spoon-back chair, covered in—what else?—tiger silk velvet. I strongly believe: A great designer is more than just a talented person with good taste; he is an artist. He brings a knowledge of design principles, new ideas, interesting and unusual sources, and the ability to bring unity to an array of complex challenges. It's the job of the designer to take a project above and beyond a client's imagining and also to create a house that reflects the client, so that they can be comfortable, proud and delighted.

ENJOY GREAT DESIGN

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