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Smith on Kitchen & Baths | Press Room | Kitchen Ideas

20111109a coverElle Decor

Published: November 2011



DecorMichael S. Smith's strategies for designing high-function spaces

Next month, Michael S. Smith - decorator to the Obamas, Cindy Crawford, and Steven Spielberg - releases his third book, Michael S. Smith Kitchens and Baths.  The topic this time: the two most renovated rooms in any house.  We asked the California native about the book and his strategies for designing these high-function spaces.

Elle Decor: You've decorated some of the world's most glamorous homes.  Why focus your book on these more utilitarian spaces?

Michael S. Smith: Kitchens and bathrooms are super challenging.  Not to overstate it, but I think designing a kitchen cabinet is as difficult as designing a skyscraper.  There are so many choices, it can become overwhelming.

ED: Where does one start?

MS: Look at projects by the best designers and architects who ever worked in the vernacular of your home.  If you have a Georgian-style house, look at David Adler.  A modern condo?  Le Corbusier.  Use this design vocabulary to create rooms that connect to your architecture.

ED: What trends are you seeing in kitchen and bathroom design?

MS: They're finally getting smaller.  They're very efficiently designed and beautiful; I'm no longer seeing 16-foot, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - size kitchen islands.  When something is too big, you lose the coziness.  The idea of bathroom and spa has stayed - it's a private space that should be special and personal.  Good lighting is key, as is being fitted out with drawers for your stuff, like makeup.

ED: How do you warm up functional space?

MS: Texture and color are the easiest ways.  I love anything jewel-like or special, used in a sparing way.  Anything that isn't attached - like kitchen cabinets or bath fixtures - is fair game.

ED: What are some of your favorite elements in a kitchen and bathroom?

MS: In a kitchen, I love appliancese - BlueStar ranges, Sub-Zero glass-door refrigerators.  In a bathroom, the tub is a huge thing for me.  I take baths all the time, and when people call me while I'm bathing I often get busted.  Do you think it's too racy to take calls in the tub?

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