Michelle Benjamin

Interior Designer

Michelle is Mayker’s lead designer, and her client’s guiding light when it comes to the design process. For Michelle, interior design is more than creating an aesthetically pleasing space; it’s about helping individuals uncover their specific needs — and what home truly means to them. In her spare time, Michelle makes a point to slow things down: cooking a scratch meal, painting to spark creativity, and lounging beachside with a book.

Q&A with Michelle

  • Casual comfort, all day long.

  • In nature, a good documentary, or a city with character.

  • Mid-century modern with an organic twist. I love a space that hugs you, tells a story and is a breath of fresh air.

  • I would never complain about the beach. I'd say somewhere off the Italian coast or near the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Away from the office desk? In the backyard baking in the sun or in the kitchen whipping up something delicious.

  • Anything that tells a story and that humans can connect with. When spaces feel stiff and or steril, or unrelatable, I think that they will expectedly come to some sort of extinction.

  • Material? I don't care for one off answers that put me in a box, but, if I had to choose... I wouldn't want to live in a world without a wood & stone combo, okay and soft textures like cotton. I love when rough materials meet soft textures to strike a balance, similarly to how old and new materials collide.

    Color Palette? Neutral bases with desaturated hues to contrast. I don't care for bright neon colors, and thanks to the teritary color wheel we all grew up with, I thought I didn't like color either. As I've grown, I've learned that there is a HUE for everyone.

    Fragrance? Tough. Anything that replicates an organic smell. If I had to pick ... I love when a good cedar meets a 'masculine' fragrance. Oh - Rain...fresh rain is a great smell.

    Sound? Equally...beach waves or rain on a roof.

    Meal? Everchanging, but at the moment I'll go with edamame truffle dumplings with miso or goat cheese stuffed dates with rosemary and honey.

  • Ample natural light with a great view outside. I'd knock out some walls and have more glazing, and of course paneled drapery on every wall.

  • Design is a two-way street and there is a Client and Designer relationship at the end of any successful project. Find a good match for who you think will design for you, rather than for their own agenda. You will have to live in your space after all and the process will go smoother when you choose a designer that will guide you to making the best decisions for you because they understand you and your needs.

  • A friend who is no longer with us gave me this message prior to the Pandemic and I think of it quite often:

    "Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.'"

    — Jim Jarmusch

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