Michel Boyd of Smith Boyd Interiors says that, “If you’re not doing great work, then what’s there to talk about? Your work is to make clients happy, not for rewards or recognition.”
Well according to Kimberly Ward of PinkEggShell.com, a blogger and leading authority on African-American Interior Designers, Michel Boyd is worth talking about. So much so, that she included Boyd among her blog’s list of Top 20 African-American Interior Designers.
Not bad for the 30-something, Louisiana-born designer who is as much at home on the streets of Atlanta as he is in Rome.
I caught up with Michel Boyd recently to talk about his new found fame, his “badass” clientele and why he thinks talk show host, Wendy Williams, is a “sectional” kind of girl.
RC: When doing my research about you, I kept getting your name, Michel Boyd mixed up with another interior designer, Michael Boyd. Do people routinely get you two mixed up?
MB: Yes! That is why my company name is Smith Boyd Interiors and not Michel Boyd. It is homage to my mother’s maiden name [Smith] and my father’s last name [Boyd]. But, Yes! I hear that all the time! (LOL)
RC: You’re fairly new to the interior design game. What makes your approach to design different from most of your contemporaries?
MB: Hmm…I don’t believe in packaged solutions or cookie cutter designs where you know immediately this is my work over and over again wherever you see it. Inspiration comes from the client as much as does from fashion and travel.
RC: How much of a role does your Louisiana heritage play in your design aesthetic?
MB: The only thing is practicality. As much as I want to make it beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, I want it to be functional first. And I believe that humble beginnings and the humble upbringing that I have allow me to not lose sight of what is functional versus what is fashionable.
RC: You’re not afraid to use color. I noticed your use of orange and turquoise in the rooms you designed.
MB: There are some signatures that I love and orange is one of them. As a matter of fact, Orange is my favorite color. And I like it in leather like a saddle kind of color. A lot of people shy away from it because it’s definite. It’s one of those things that you just can’t switch really easily when your mood changes. That color is a little more daring and most clients aren’t. So, I will use it whenever I think we need to push the envelope.
RC: You’ve said, “Bedrooms are like wardrobes.” How important is fashion to interior design?
MB: I think one influences the other very much. You can see the trends; whether it is color palates that will trickle down from fashion into interior design. Whether it bedding or what’s popular in fashion or paint colors, I think that people are attracted to the same things. I build rooms like wardrobes because I attribute it to how my clients live. That’s the key to being a good interior designer.
RC: One of your celebrity clients includes the newest Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Marlo Hampton. What was it like working with her?
MB: (LOL) Marlo was not a cast member when we met. Marlo’s personality is unbelievable. She’s not afraid of the cameras. (LOL) She pushes me because she has seen so many things. She travels a great deal and she doesn’t want solutions like most people do. Plus, she’s a single person. So, she really only has herself to consider and not a family and does not have to be as practical as everyone else.
RC: Is she one of your “badass” clients
MB: (LOL) She is the epitome of my badass clients.
RC: What do you see as the next big trend in interior design?
MB: I think right now, everybody is drawn towards luxury. And what that means is kind of relative from person to person. The biggest trend in design is accessibility. It happens in fashion first and now it’s happening in furniture. Even the biggest designers are now at Target. You can find Missoni at Target. That’s crazy!
RC: I’m going to name a few celebrities and have you tell me how you would design for each one. OK?
MB: OK (LOL)
RC: Janelle Monae
MB: You mean Black and White? (LOL) I had the opportunity to meet her and she is gorgeous. And her personality is just as beautiful. She’s really becoming a fashion icon. And that is a huge thing to say and do only wearing black and white all the time. However, she is really creative about it. She has such a strong and consistent point of view in how she presents herself. So I would be prepared for more classic pieces like a Chesterfield tufted sofa, in a modern fabric. Everything would have to be done in a really chic way. But definitely the classics, I think she’s that girl.
RC: Wendy Williams
MB: (LOL) What is funny is that she is tougher. She is a Jersey girl and Jersey is all excess! And I pride myself in being well edited. But Wendy lives in excess. There would definitely be some animal prints. Definitely be some pink! And that’s the Wendy personality we get on television. But I’m sure as she says all the time, that she is a mom first, wife second, so there would have to be some practicality infused in there somewhere. At the end of the day, she might be a “sectional” kind of girl with leopard throw pillows. (LOL)
RC: Rihanna! And I see her as one of your “badass” clients. (LOL)
MB: Yes! Rihanna is Marlow on acid! (LOL) She would be a lot of fun and really, really edgy! Rihanna is that girl that is all about fashion inspired furniture. What’s comfortable and practical is really secondary. And I think I would be in the “what’s new and hot list” furniture section when shopping for Rihanna. Cool and sexy!
RC: So many words have been used to describe your style; lush, elegant, and well tailored! How would you define the Michel Boyd style?
MB: It’s kind of difficult to answer that question modestly. I think for me, I would describe my style as well edited. I think that every photograph that you’ve seen has been taken four times for every one that has been released. Most designers are creative people who live in their head. When you release it, it becomes so vulnerable. So, I edit a lot.
Check out Michel Boyd of Smith Boyd Interiors during the
Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine: High Style-High Rise
Home Tour at the Residence at W Atlanta-Downtown. March 8-April 1.
More information is available at www.highstyletour.com