Interview :: Interior Designer Michelle Workman

Interview with Interior Designer Michelle Workman - Simplified Bee

Michelle Workman is one of Hollywood’s most sought after interior designers and has transformed homes of  Jennifer Lopez, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. Workman and her sophisticated interiors have been featured in such publications as Veranda, Traditional Home and InStyle, as well as on HGTV, Martha Stewart and Oprah. After years of designing for the Hollywood elite, she is packing up her family and heading south to Chattanooga, Tennessee. (sounds crazy right?) I’m super curious as to how this fast paced LA designer will transition to a slower paced southern city. I can’t imagine she will miss the massive traffic jams in SoCal!  We can find out too because Workman’s new web show, Glamour Goes South, documents the move and airs exclusively on The Design Network, serving as the cornerstone of the burgeoning network.

Jennifer Lopez's Kitchen // Veranda // designer Michelle Workman
Simplified Bee: When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?
Michelle Workman: I really knew it much later in life than one would expect. I was in my late(ish) twenties. I had already done design in my early twenties, but had quit in frustration, and then one day I sort of realized it was my true talent. I enjoyed it so much that I began to wonder why I was trying to do anything else.
purple living room - Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: How would you describe your personal style and did it change once you had kids?
MW: I would describe my personal style as eclectic-quirky-elegance, and no, it has not changed since having kids. I really believe that if you bring kids up in a beautiful environment they will respect that environment. There are accidents on occasion, but nothing of meaning or great expense has ever been ruined.
stylish built-in bookshelf - Michelle Workmans Interiors
SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
MW: That’s pretty easy – Anthony Barratta.

formal dining room - Michelle Workman Interiors

SB: Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?
MW: No, I am open to whatever palette most defines the client’s outlook on life. I equate colors with emotion, and personality, so the colors in each of my designs are chosen in direct correlation with what I think most expresses the client.

yellow chinoiserie entry - Michelle Workman Interiors

SB: Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?
MW: That’s tough, because any trend if done well, and in appropriate reserve, can last and last. It’s when a trend is over used, and done in a low quality or shoddy fashion, that it starts to become passé.  
yellow chinoiserie wallpaper - Entry by Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?
MW: Always splurge on bigger furniture items – sofas, case goods, etc. Occasional pieces, accessories, and lighting can be less expensive and therefore easier to change out, and create a whole new look easily. I do believe that you should re-upholster and update all soft goods every ten years.
banana leaf wallpaper bedroom - Michelle Workman Design
SB: You have embraced social media and write a blog in addition to being on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Do you prefer one over the other? What is your advice to other interior designers who are timid about trying social media marketing outlets?
MW: I most prefer Pinterest and Instagram (@InteriorIcon). Both are visual, and I am a visual person. I do a fair amount on twitter (@InteriorIcon), but that’s because I’ve been doing it for so long now, but I do really try to engage with the people I follow, and also always try to answer questions from anyone that @mentions me, whether I follow them or not. I just feel that is common courtesy. My advice to other designers is this: whatever you put out there, for everyone to see, make it real, make it from you, and make it heartfelt. I don’t always follow that rule, but I really try to for the most part. There are those days when I just can’t be bothered and those are the tweets or posts that get absolutely no response. 
green+white lacquer sectretary desk - Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…
MW: personality!
Jennifer Lopez's bedroom // Veranda // Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: What’s next for Michelle Workman Interiors?
MW: Good golly! Lots going on right now. A series of eBooks (12 total) on color, the first of which is about Pink which will be released April 25th. A new web series – Glamour Goes South – the first and second episodes went live recently. I am moving my family to Tennessee this summer, along with much travel for publicity. And, oh yeah, a huge project in Oregon! It’s been a crazy (but good) start to the year.


And I’m excited to see Michelle’s next projects (sure to be amazing) and learn how her move to Tennessee goes!
Thank you Michelle for your time and support of Simplified Bee over the years!



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4 Responses to Interview :: Interior Designer Michelle Workman

  1. Sonya King May 24, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Hi! I was just introduced to the world of Michelle Workman. Love you and all your ideas!!
    Could you tell me what is the brand and name of the grey paint color on the kitchen cabinets on this post??? Thanks in advance!

  2. Elizabeth // The Now May 23, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Love her advice on where to splurge vs save! Those octagonal built in shelves are INSANE! love. Thanks for the post. xo

  3. Christina | Little Victorian May 22, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Love the quote on decorating with kids! I don’t have any, but I do believe it’s important to teach them respect for environments, and that has to begin in the home, right?

    I’ve heard so many people with kids say “they don’t understand that a room is decorated anyway” so they leave their room practically empty and white. Kids are so much smarter and responsive to their environment than we give them credit for!

    Sorry, I feel strongly on the subject if you couldn’t tell… 😉

    • admin May 23, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Agreed! Thanks for your comment Christina! xo cristin