If there is such a thing as an interior design gene, Michele Gratch may have inherited it. Both her interior designer mother and aunt instilled in her a love of fabrics, furniture and wallpaper at an early age. Michele began her career by helping friends and family with their own spaces but now the Atlanta-based interior designer and owner of MBG Interiors has a wealth of clients — from young professionals to empty nesters. Today we’re excited to introduce you to Michele, our Interior Designer Crush!
What would you consider your design style and how does color — particularly turquoise — play into your look?
My personal style is extremely eclectic and I am most definitely drawn to and known for using color and pattern in my designs. I love turquoise — I mean, what’s not to love?! It is easily one of the happiest colors around and it works beautifully with most of the colors on the color wheel. It’s hard to go wrong with it.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, especially since we’ve become such an uber visual society. I love Instagram and am always perusing design magazines. I enjoy hearing other designers speak, since I’m often inspired by other people’s experiences. Nature inspires me tremendously — just look around … color and texture abound! I can’t tell you how many tree trunks I’ve studied and thought that that would make an amazing fabric or wall covering!
How do you begin a collaboration with a client?
Before my initial consult with a new client, I ask them to send me an inspiration folder from either Pinterest or Houzz. These pictures should speak to them in some way — whether it be color palette, style, a specific piece of furniture, etc., which helps me get an idea of their design aesthetic. When I meet with them for the first time, I ask a lot of questions about how they live currently and how they WANT to live.
Where are some of your favorite sources for design items in Atlanta?
I feel like I live at ADAC and several trade-only places like AmericasMart Atlanta and Spiffy Stuff. My go-to resource for lighting is either Currey & Company or Circa Lighting. I love to shop Peridot for last-minute items and Boxwoods if I need greenery. If I’m looking for artwork, I always head to Huff Harrington or Ferrari Fine Art. I also frequent HomeGoods — they can be a good resource for mirrors and accessories in a pinch. For vintage and one-of-a-kind finds, I like Peachtree Battle Antiques & Interiors and Scott Antique Market.
Share with us one of your decorating secrets.
Your room can be completely empty but if you have a nice, quality rug and custom window treatments, it will feel finished. A rug always connects a space and gives it warmth and window treatments soften the look and feel of any room.
Who are your industry mentors and why?
I think Nina Campbell is brilliant — her designs are classic but with a global influence. I love everything that Mary McDonald does; she is the master of layering, scale and proportion. I also admire Celerie Kemble and the ladies of Massucco Warner Miller for their use of color and pattern.
How does Atlanta’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?
Southerners love to entertain and their homes are a reflection of that. I love the way Atlantans have this innate ability to know how to mix in their grandmother’s china, whether their style is traditional, transitional or even contemporary. This adds depth, character and a sense of history to any design.
What’s the biggest mistake homeowners make?
Buying furniture that is too big or small for their space. A huge sectional that completely overwhelms a room or a small club chair that’s lost in a large, open-concept room. Scale and proportion is difficult — and measuring is key. Sometimes, things work on paper and still don’t work as you imagined in the space. That’s when an experienced designer knows how to still make it work but in a completely different and even more interesting way.
Thank you to Michele Gratch for sharing what inspires her when designing a space. And a huge thank you to Jake Laughlin Photography for these fabulous images.
Find even more inspiration for interior design, home decor and more. Click here to browse our “Home & Decor” section. And make sure you follow us on Instagram for the best of life in the South.