Interior Designer Mikel Welch is not one to sit still. Hosting his Quibi show Murder House Flip, decorating stunning homes for clients, and designing green rooms for celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and former First Lady Michelle Obama keep him on the move. A few months ago, however, Mikel, just like most of us, had to switch up his routine and work from home.
Mikel says this time at home has given him a newfound appreciation for the calming qualities of one space in particular: his living room. It features lush textiles, a giant barn door and other rustic touches reminiscent of Sag Harbor, NY, his favorite vacation destination. Whether enjoying his morning cup of coffee on the sofa or wrapping up the day binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, the living room helps Mikel feel like he is being swept away—if just for a few relaxing moments.
Like Mikel, the relationship many of our favorite designers have with their homes has been changing. For some, corners of their spaces previously untouched are now being broken in. While for others, rooms that spark joy seem more vital than ever. No matter their story, each one reminds us of the power of home to heal, keep us safe, and bring us solace. Keep reading for more.
The Healing Power Of Color
LA Designer Meeshie Snyder has a newfound appreciation for her formal dining room setup and its bold use of color. “Our dining room and table have not only become an area for me to spread out and work from home, (but) we also use it as the main area to start and end our days over coffee, tea, or a glass of wine. The art and color in this space is an instant mood booster,” she says.
Reintroducing: The Kitchen
Lawyer and collector Daniel Mathis lives in downtown Oklahoma City, OK, so the area’s best restaurants are at his fingertips. Before sheltering in place, he took full advantage. “I haven’t historically used my kitchen (top left) to its fullest,” he says. “During [quarantine], I’ve explored all the gadgets I have but haven’t really ever used. I even ordered some new cookware recently since I’m using the kitchen more.”
Jove Meyer, who designs “parties and places for those who dare to be different,” is sheltering at his Fire Island, NY vacation home and using his kitchen more than ever as well. The space (top right) wasn’t designed to be a full-time residence, so he is really breaking it in.
Let The Sun In
The sunroom at the front of designer Nicole Cole’s Philadelphia, PA house sits amongst a mature maple and flowering dogwood tree. “We are so grateful for this space,” she says, adding that being able to watch the birds, keep an eye on the garden and wave to neighbors has been absolutely vital to keeping her family’s minds at ease.
Sofa, Take Me Away
Australian artist Prudence Caroline tells us she has newfound gratitude for how versatile her sofa is. “It’s my office, homeschooling space, lunch spot and place to unwind at the end of the day,” she says.
A Meaningful Wave
LeAnne Lavender, a designer who creates accessible homes, has a newfound appreciation for the giant windows in her living room. When she began working from home, she purposefully positioned her desk and chair so she faced them. Now, LeAnne can wave to people as they pass by and get the bit of human connection those who work from home so often long for.
One Space, Many Uses
Nina Barnieh-Blair, the principal and creative director of NinaBDesign, is more grateful than ever for this corner of her NYC home. Its abundance of storage has helped her home stay clutter-free which has, in turn, kept her mind at ease while sheltering in place with her husband and two children. The area offers more than just a place to hide stuff away, though. It acts as a library, a spot for working out and even a dancefloor when five o’clock rolls around. Its multiple uses make it the hardest-working spot in her home.
Escaping To The Backyard
When the harsh Texas sun goes down, the founder of Austin-based furniture studio Seer Studio Scott Martin and his family head to their backyard (top left) to enjoy a cold beer, glass of wine and “a little escapism.” Their arbor features a fire pit Scott designed himself.
Dabito, founder and creative director of Old Brand New, also has a newfound love for his backyard (top right): “We grill and eat outdoors almost every night. It’s been our little oasis during this wild time.”
Valérie Louis is the founder and creative director of Yaël & Valérie, a Haitian brand of fabrics, wallpaper, and home accessories inspired by Caribbean culture. Lately, she is spending more time than ever on her balcony and using that time to reflect. As she takes in the vista, she is reminded that we are all in this together. “We’re apart, but we are bound to celebrate life in all its little details: the sip of a drink, the song of nature, and the silence of our soul. We are united…one connection cherishing this universal pause,” she says.
Article and Photo originally posted by Food52 last June 17, 2020 and written by Garrett Fleming.