How did you get started as a designer?
Oddly I never went to design school. I have a degree in business, but my love for design has been burning inside me since birth - or at least as far back as I can remember. When I was on maternity leave with my daughter, I started a design blog and did four rooms for family and friends. I posted progress updates and before-and-after pictures and from there, people who weren’t family and friends started asking me to do work for them. By the time I was pregnant with my son, I was working two full-time jobs and took the leap to not return to my corporate job after my maternity leave was up to pursue my design business full-time!
How would you describe your personal style?
Clean, crisp, fun, colourful, all the texture and trim I can get my paws on, and all of the pillows all of the time… YES PLEASE!
How has your style evolved since growing your team at Michelle Berwick Design?
My team reigns me in and grounds me. I can be a bit of a pie-in-the-sky dreamer and the mix of my style and direction and their own individual styles really just works.
What makes you gravitate towards Urban Barn products when you’re styling a room?
Urban Barn just keeps getting cooler and cooler. You are clearly paying attention to what’s coming to the forefront of design, and your recent collaborations with notable designers are exactly what people want to see. Urban Barn is classic, cool and a go-to for a lot of our sourcing needs.
What are your favourite kinds of products to shop for at Urban Barn?
Everything from the Aly Velji collection. Y’all nailed it on that one.
What’s the recipe for creating that “Right at Home” feeling in a living space?
The comfiest sofa you can get your hands on, pillows, drapery, wall art that makes you happy every time you look at it, a great sturdy neutral rug, and just the right amount of styling. You want your accessories to finish off the space not overpower it.
What trends are you seeing in design for cottages and cabins?
I find folks will have more fun at the cottage, both in life and design. With a cottage typically being a second home, clients think, “Sure I’ll do a colourful kitchen, I don’t look at it every day.” They tend to let us play with colour, textures and wallpaper even more than in their everyday home.
How do you go about balancing style and function in a commercial space?
Any client that has hired me for a commercial project has wanted their office not to feel stuffy or traditional. They wanted to create an environment that feels welcoming and comfortable so that employees are likely to stay longer at work and be more productive. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Flex spaces, communal eating, gaming areas, and open workspaces with pods or mini meeting rooms are where things are headed on the office front.
Is there a design quote you live by?
“I’d rather fall in love with a design element and love it for 10 years than make a choice because it’s safe and feel lukewarm about it for 15 years.”
What inspires you lately?
I’m loving the transition into much warmer tones, all the woods, natural stone, trim and textured surfaces.