As a child growing up between Dallas and Oklahoma, Michelle Boudreau always looked forward to traveling with her grandmother to visit friends in Palm Springs, California. “There were so many lovely cocktail parties, people were wearing such vibrant colors and extravagant jewelry,” Boudreau says. “I was enamored of the fun, intrigue, and glamour of the lifestyle there.”
Those trips not only influenced her design aesthetic, but also informed her taste in fashion, music, and architecture. No surprise, then, that Boudreau carries that fabulous mix into her work as an interior designer. “I’ve always taken a piece of that eccentricity of Palm Springs with me,” she says. “It’s drawn me back, and now I am living here part-time.” Here, she shares her recipe for creating the bold and brilliant interiors of Mesa Modern, her most recent project and a featured design house during Palm Springs’s legendary Modernism Week, which is dedicated to the education and preservation of sustainable modern living.
Pull your color from the landscape.
“The Mesa Modern House, which sits at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains, has tremendous views from sunrise to sunset, and the colors outside are really quite magical. The base stone of the mountains is black, so in the living room, I started with a sleek, modern black and then layered in other beautiful earthy colors, through the ochre sofa and ivory Moroccan-style rug.
Style and display your everyday luxuries.
“Giving each bathroom its own unique towels – like robin’s egg blue in the guest bath– gives the spaces a more custom look. In the master bathroom, I chose a lovely glass-front cabinet to highlight all Annie Selke’s luxury towels and spa products, and chose three different shades to create an ombre effect.”
Wallpaper = art on a massive scale.
“In the master bedroom, the wallpaper really is the art. It’s a beautiful, colorful, fluid watercolor with blues and purples and greens and blacks all mixed in. To balance out that movement, I chose graphic black and white pillows and bedding and a graphic textured rug to create an interesting juxtaposition.”
With rugs, bigger is better - and more elegant.
Fabulous rooms are like fabulous outfits.
Textiles soften modern architecture.
“Because this house has quite a modernist edge, I used textiles to soften the lines a bit. I think the extra comfort and softness of using outdoor rugs and pillows really pulls the rooms together– inside and out. The outdoor living rooms I designed aren’t loud and colorful. Instead, they use different textures to tell a strong story.”
Start with an item you love and build around it.
“When I’m decorating a room, I always try to start with something personal, something unique to the client or a design element that’s site-specific. I’ll choose one item, whether it’s a material I love, or a wallpaper, or lighting, and I’ll build on that to create a story. I think the mistake most people make is taking a cookie-cutter approach. Throwing the rules out helps create a more interesting space.”
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