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Thank You Note: Michael S. Smith

Hi! Today I am starting another new semi-regular feature on the blog - a love letter of sorts. In these "Thank You Note" posts I am going to highlight a designer who's work I greatly admire. For the first one I am going to sing the praises of Michael S. Smith.

Although I had seen some examples of his work in shelter magazines I did not really delve deep into the designs of Michael S. Smith until I purchased his book, Houses, in 2008. This was his second book, I do not have his first, Elements of Style which was released in 2005 (it is out of print, although I plan to get it from a re-seller).

Before purchasing Houses I had only purchased design books that specifically mentioned what I considered to be my "go to" style in the description - a lot of blue and white accents, bold fabrics, antique furniture and more of the "Connecticut vibe" that I grew up with mixed in with a few eclectic, unexpected pieces. I want to thank Michael S. Smith for broadening my aesthetic and illustrating the importance of small details and multi-layered interiors. Studying the beautiful interiors in Houses and dissecting the images made me realize that having the main aspects of the room (like furniture, rug, paint color) was not nearly enough. Those are the bones and they need to be good indeed, beauty lies in the details though. Houses elevated my love of mixing periods and styles. I aspire to create interiors with Michael S. Smith's complexities and beauty.

Michael S. Smith's interiors are all stand alone projects. I cannot tell by looking at the homes he designs that they are "signature Michael S. Smith" by the use of the same main elements as a base for every project. To me his signature style is that all of his designs are uniquely beautiful and they are all homes that look like they have been lived in for years - as though pieces have been added over time and the rooms/homes have evolved to perfection. This ability to curate and layer a home from moving in on day one is a remarkable talent - evidenced by the fact that this book is thirteen years old and all of the interiors still look current. Thank you Michael S. Smith for sharing your talents, I am a huge fan.

Although I could post every single image, I have tried to curate a sample of the expanse of Michael S. Smith's talent with the following images from Houses to drool over.

First, the cover of the book, starting with a gorgeous bang!

This bedroom is featured in the introduction section of the book and right away I am drawn in by the artwork and the lighting and then the more you look, the more you see in this stunning room.

This is the front facade of Michael S. Smith's house at the time Houses was published. Talk about house envy! Every bit of this exterior is beautiful.

photo by John Ellis

The next several pictures are from the interior of Michael S. Smith's house pictured above. I love the styling and the artwork on the mantel.

photo by Lisa Romerein

This kitchen is gorgeous. I especially love the vaulted ceiling and the range hood; and the wood floors and the view into the breakfast room are amazing too.

There is so much about this sunroom to love. My favorite small detail is the silver sconce above the sofa's end table.

photo by Lisa Romerein

Moving on to some other homes in the book. This 1930s home is art deco perfection.

photo by Grey Crawford

The artwork, paneled walls and ceiling, linens, and fabrics in this bedroom - yes please to all!

photo by Lisa Romerein

Each and every layer in this bedroom is phenomenal. I especially love the color of the ceiling.

photo by Simon Upton

This is "making an entrance"! Every detail down to the door bell is uber-attractive.

photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

The artwork, furniture, accessories, sconce and rug in this hallway combine to make a perfect mix.

photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

This hallway has beautiful sightlines, I love sightlines!

photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

The mix of antiques and newer furniture in this room is gorgeous.

photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

This is a close up of the shelves in the room above - so pretty.

photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

I love the antique chest in this modern kitchen, it is unexpected to have "regular furniture" in the kitchen and this looks fantastic.

photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

In 2015 Michael S. Smith released another book, aptly titled The Curated House. This book is a continuation of Michael S. Smith's excellence.

This first picture is from Michael S. Smith's house at the time the book was published. I am not sure if he still lives in it. When I first saw it I was drawn to the armless sofas, they are so attractive. When I read about the room I was surprised to read that the sofas are from CB2. That has always stuck with me - do not limit your sourcing/shopping options!

photo by Francois Halard

I love artwork that is unique and not traditional framed artwork, like the pieces in the next two pictures. These opened my eyes to how many possibilities for unique artwork there really are.

photo by Bjorn Wallander for Architectural Digest

photo by Bjorn Wallander for Architectural Digest

Everything about this next picture is inspiring to me - the scale of the ceiling fixture and the way it mirrors the shape of the table below; the artwork over the fireplace; the rug; the styling of the table; and the sightline into the next room are all exquisite.

photo by Oberto Gili for Architectural Digest

I have always loved a library/dining room and this one is a beauty.

photo by Roger Davies for Architectural Digest

This next one is a perfect vignette. I love everything about it.

photo by Roger Davies for Architectural Digest

The curtain rod and its hardware really illustrates how important every detail is.

photo by Scott Frances for architectural digest

This room is another lesson in how to mix and layer. I love the way the curtains, seating, artwork, dining table and candelabra all work together.

photo by Scott Frances for Architectural Digest

Michael S. Smith designed the residence in the White House for the Obama family and released this book about that process in 2020. It is sitting in my Circle Room right now. I have started reading it and it is a fantastic mix of the history of the White House and present day. I am planning to start another semi regular feature on the blog called "Book Report" where I will talk about design books as I read them - this one just might be the first in that series!

I hope you enjoyed these beautiful designs as much as I have and continue to. I will be back tomorrow to spread some more design love. See you then.

Thank you for stopping by today,





Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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