Interior designer Michelle Mio takes us inside her fabulous closet to discuss exciting projects she’s currently working on, where we can find her when she’s not working and her most cherished item in her closet.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Viviana Pernot
Michelle Mio, 45, of Birmingham is one of those women who truly gives off a stylish vibe! With 25 years in the interior design industry, she knows how to turn a vision into a reality (and looks good while putting it all together). Mio began working at a design firm in Fort Worth, Texas. She later moved to Michigan to work for a design firm in Birmingham. Four years later, she opened her own firm. Interior designers Rosemary Cotter and Jill Schumacher then invited Michelle to combine her talent with theirs, and they launched Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co. Michelle’s work has been featured on Detroit Fox News, HGTV and the cover of Décor magazine. She enjoys being involved in the community and loves volunteering with The Children’s Center Village of Giving.
1. How did you get started in interior design? As a young child I would frequently move furniture around the house, which drove my parents crazy. I took one course in college and that was it — interior design was my major.
2. How do you turn your client’s vision into reality? A huge part of design is being an excellent listener. Taking the client’s cues, developing it into a concept that blows them away and exceeds their expectations is what keeps me in love with my job.
3. House of your dreams? I have five imaginary dream homes and can’t choose one! This is the primary reason I haven’t built a custom home yet. Overall, the aesthetics are the perfect blend of timeless elements, mixed with outrageous accents. This happens to be my philosophy on fashion as well!
4. Any exciting projects you are currently working on? I am wrapping up two very different homes within two blocks of each other. One is youthful and fun with bold pops of color. The other looks like it was plucked out of hills in Montecito, California. The palette is totally neutral with an organic flavor that is striking, yet cozy and inviting.
5. How long have you been an interior designer, and what do you love most about your job? I had my first interior design internship when I was 20. So I’ve been at it for 25 years. I love that I can alleviate stress for clients by providing answers and ideas that give them a sense of pride when they think of their home.
6. Where do you find your inspiration for houses and projects you work on? A lot of my inspiration is derived from travel as well as staying current and “in the know” with new artists, artisans and fabricators.
8. Can you share a few home trends you are seeing for 2019? People are finally designing homes for themselves, not for friends or their parents. 2. Using exterior fabrics for indoor use is quite popular since homeowners want items to stand the test of time, even with kids and pets. 3. Supporting local artists or artisans to commission custom pieces that are one of a kind. 4. White walls are the rage!
9. Who inspires you in the design world? Kelly Wearstler, Jean-Louis Deniot, Victoria Hagan and Colette van den Thillart.
10. Who inspires you in the business world? Anyone who isn’t afraid of constantly reinventing themselves to succeed or grow.
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11. What do you love most about our community? I was born and raised off the coast in California but call Michigan home. I love that so many of us make an effort to support others in our community. Young kids learn how important philanthropy and giving back is. This is something to be proud of!
Now on to style…
14. Head-to-toe outfit details of what you’re wearing from the photo shoot? Givenchy top from Bergdorf Goodman (shop similar), Carven skirt from Tender (shop similar), vintage Marni necklace (shop similar) and Givenchy shoes from Barneys (shop similar).
15. Three words to describe your style? Daring, fun and myself.
16. One item you can’t leave home without? My water bottle and phone. I’m working on being a better water drinker!
17. You’re never fully dressed without _____? A spritz of Le Labo Santal 26 — my favorite scent!
18. Who’s your style icon? Coco Chanel, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Madonna and Lady Gaga because they all took risks, owned their own style and dressed for themselves and no one else.
19. Your current must-have item? Marni black and red bicrepe cady pants.
20. Your most cherished item in your closet? My grandmother’s pink, wool, knee length pea coat with pearl buttons from the 1940s — she wore it to her engagement dinner.
21. Who or what inspires your style? I love the way Olivia Palermo fearlessly combines patterns and textures. Gemma Chan has such a classic sense of style. She looks amazing in anything she puts on.
22. Favorite quote or words to live by? “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy