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.
“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.
Most of the home’s flooring is terrazzo tile, so I liked covering that hard surface with a plush rug to add a layer of luxe comfort.”
“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.”
“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.”
“For me, the rug in a room is always more important than the flooring, especially in bedrooms and living areas. The rug should be the dominant visual piece and should always extend beyond the footprint of the perimeter of your furnishings. I generally try to fill the room with the rug.”
I used Annie Selke rugs throughout the Mesa Modern house and one thing I love is their durability. I know that’s not a sexy word, but, in busy homes, you know, there’s traffic! The quality and softness of Annie’s rugs is magnificent, and the way she balances beauty and utilitarian capabilities is really quite amazing.”
“Accessories are a big part of my life – in fashion and in interiors. Pillows and throws add interest to a bedroom the same way a scarf can be the finishing touch to an outfit. And I always approach a room’s lighting as its ‘jewelry.’
I also like to mix patterns, like you do with clothing, and have found that different textures – like the fringed pillows, pom-pom throw, and shag rug in the sunset room – actually read as patterns in a subtle, interesting way. It’s really all about balance and a good juxtaposition.”
“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.”
“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.”
To see all the products Michelle Boudreau selected for Mesa Modern, click here.
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