As many beach lovers from across the nation have flocked to Seabrook to visit the 2010 Coastal Living Magazine Ultimate Beach House, we’ve had a chance to meet some very successful and inspiring people from all industries.
One such person has been Florida based interior designer Michelle Jennings Wiebe. Visiting relatives in Washington state, she had heard of the great 4th of July tradition established at Seabrook and decided to bring her own family here for the holiday.
We had the great pleasure of meeting her and her family as they walked in our office after a tour of the Ultimate Beach House. Eager to learn more about our waterfront real estate neighborhood, we spent good couple hours chatting about our beach town and discussing Seaside, Florida and other similar communities that, like Seabrook, were founded on the basis of new urbanism.
Here are 10 questions Michelle was kind enough to answer for the readers of our blog. She is an incredible person and a unique interior designer; hope you enjoy her interview and pictures of some of her work.
1. Was becoming an interior designer your dream since you were a kid?
Amazingly, yes! I grew up in a historic home built in the 1800s in a small town in Ohio. My grandparents owned it before my parents did, and I was quite enthralled when my grandfather let my grandmother hire a “decorator from the big city!” I loved seeing the transformation of this house from tired to beautiful! I also spent a lot of my time as a child drawing floor plans and elevations, decorating my Barbie houses, and spending time in multiple art classes. My love increased during high school with more art and drafting classes. Upon graduation, I knew I wanted to study Interior Design. I chose Florida State University and graduated, loving every minute of it!
2. What is your favorite part of the house to design?
Actually I don’t have a favorite room. I love any space that I get to design with incredible fabrics. I have a deep passion for unusual, exquisite, colorful fabrics.
3. What is the most common decorating mistake you notice?
Perhaps incorrect scale or proportion used. All the pieces of the room must fit together. As an interior designer, I am constantly thinking about how each piece will affect other pieces, and how the final outcome will look. I never make a singular decision without thinking through the entire scheme or plan!
4. What do you strive for in your career (goal/milestone)?
Throughout my career, my primary objective has been to provide my clients with BOTH excellent interior design and superior client service. There is nothing better to have the same clients come back year after year, whether they are purchasing a new property or referring us to a friend!
Recently, I have set some new industrious career goals for both our firm and me individually. First, our firm is very enthusiastic about doing more interior design work outside of Florida; it is our intent to branch out into more national projects, and even international ones! Second, we would like to design and license our own line of designer home items. We have some great ideas for bedding, area rugs, and furnishings; we are still looking at which avenue to pursue. Third, I’d like to write a design book and get published; this has been a dream since childhood. I’ve actually began the initial process on this. Lastly, we are developing ideas for pitches with television networks to launch a design TV show. So needless to say, these are exciting times at Studio M! We are thankful for every client past and present, and look forward to creating these new chapters (literally!)
5. What is your biggest inspiration in life?
My family is my biggest inspiration! I have a wonderful husband Tom, who left a decade long corporate career in the finance industry to join Studio M several years ago! He is also a great dad to our three children. They all inspire me each and every day!
6. Where do you draw inspiration from in your work?
Inspiration comes from many sources, but travel provides new creativity and refreshment. I must tell you that during our week long stay at Seabrook this summer, I found a lot of design inspiration from the ocean, the rugged cliffs and trees, and the charming architecture of the community!! The tranquil setting also was perfect for complete renewal and recharging.
I also meticulously study design books and design magazines for inspiration—you should see my bedside table! Over the past year, I have also become a design blog junkie on-line. I am amazed out all the information out there!
7. Favorite place to relax?
The beach….the beach…..the beach. My soul considers it truly heaven on earth!
8. Most uniquely and interestingly decorated movie scene that you remember?
It is funny you should ask that because I also admire and study movie and television sets. Sometime it does not even matter what the show is about, if there is an interesting design to the set, I’m entertained by that!
Hands down, my favorite production designer is Jon Hutman, who along with set decorator Beth Rubino crafted the sets of both “It’s Complicated” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” Jon Hutman also designed “The Holiday”. These are my favorite recent movie sets.
Of course, my all time favorite which must be mentioned is the incredible “Gone with the Wind”!
9. What was your favorite part about Seabrook?
Our family enjoyed Seabrook so very much, and it was everything we thought it would be, plus more! We have stayed at and been fascinated with the developments of the neo-traditional communities of Seaside, Florida and Rosemary Beach, Florida. We come often to visit relatives in the Seattle, Washington area, so we were drawn to check out the Pacific Northwest’s enchanting version of this type of community.
It is difficult to pick out just one favorite part. Our family enjoyed every minute, and we made lots of treasured memories. We enjoyed our family bike rides, horseback rides on the beach, decorating our front porch for the 4th of July, visiting Lil’s Pantry (everyday!), hiking the trail to the beach, and just the fun family time we had!
We sincerely enjoyed our stay! Thank you for your Washington hospitality. We look forward to coming back soon!
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