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Lonny Loves: Michelle Smith

The New York-based designer talks screened porches, landscape architects as decorators, and her love of velvet.

Genevieve Garruppo / Lonny
Genevieve Garruppo / Lonny

Name: Michelle Smith
Occupation: Interior Designer, Studio MRS
Resides in: New York City
Best known for: Coining the decorating term "granny chic"; creating covetable interiors with a mix of antique bones and modern accents; a fresh way with neutrals and washed-out pastels. 

1. Antique or modern?

2. City or country?

3. Which colors do you use most?
Camel and flesh. 

4. What are your favorite materials or textures?
Flat paint. Velvet.

Genevieve Garruppo / Lonny
Genevieve Garruppo / Lonny

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word or phrase?

6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
Not currently. Renovating our new place, so I’m currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor and using a dog crate as my dressing table.  

7. Does a room need a view?
No. A great pair of sheer curtains can filter something not so pretty.

8. Who are your favorite designers or architects?
Landscape architect John Howard, a genius with the outside, but I’d have him do my interior architecture too if he was up for it. As far as interior design, always Daniel Romualdez and Rose Uniacke.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Lonny, duh!  I think Veranda is getting better and better.  And I love to see what my clients and the girls in my office are Pinning.

Courtesy Studio MRS
Courtesy Studio MRS

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Good bones, comfort, and randomness. Not decorator’y.  

11. What are some forbidden design words in your house?
“Accent” and “pop of.” No “accent walls”. No “pop of color.” No thank you.

12. Which design rule do you love to break?
I think I heard once that every room needs something red, but any time I see a room with a red side table or a red pillow, I think "Wouldn’t this look better if that table were bone, or if that pillow were trashed?"

Courtesy Studio MRS
Courtesy Studio MRS

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
I can’t wait to see what my favorite room in our new house is going to be. It’s a toss up right now between the dining room and the future screened porch. Could end up being the pantry. 

14. What is your most treasured possession?
My dog Ingy. I didn’t even know I was a dog person until we got her two months ago.

15. What do you wish you could do without?
Television. I must always have it on when I’m at home.

Genevieve Garruppo / Lonny
Genevieve Garruppo / Lonny

16. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Cy Twombly.

17. On what movie sets would you like to live and why?
Father of the Bride. It’s that cozy white house thing, always makes me feel so warm and fuzzy.

18. To which city or country would you move for the design?

19. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A solitary chair upholstered in a flesh colored silk velvet.