Interior Designer Michelle Butler
The principle of Design Studio Cayman, Michelle, founded the award-winning design company six years ago with her husband and partner, David Wilson, bringing her international background in architecture to our island design context.
Since opening the firm, and its retail component, Design Studio has established itself as the island's premier source for interior design and home furnishings, receiving 2013-2014 Caribbean Property Awards in Interior Design for projects in Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands.
RL: Were you always passionate about interior design?
MB: Definitely. However, my interest in interior design specifically evolved as my curiosity focused on how people live, work and use a space and how, as a designer, I can shape that experience.
RL: Tell us about your style and how it has evolved over time.
MB: My approach to design has always been to take the client's vision and then tailor it to become a cohesive total. However, over the years I have found that my preference for clean lines and contemporary elements does charge the end design.
RL: You were trained in Canada – how does working in a tropical environment inform your work?
MB: Context is incredibly important to me. The skill set I learned while doing my architecture degree gave me the tools of the trade so to speak, but my upbringing in Cayman and my day-to-day experience living in the islands informs every decision that I make. Finishes, fabrics, lifestyle choices and availability are different here and I want to make sure that these elements are both appropriate and have longevity.
RL: Do you have any design rules?
MB: I would rather approach each project with a blank slate and let the client and the context inform any parameters. Besides, aren't rules made to be broken?
RL: Who is your greatest design influence?
MB: My husband and partner, David Wilson. He has a fantastic combination of intuition and practicality about design and we develop all of our projects together. The wonderful thing about working together is that we're constantly finding inspiration on our travels.
RL: What do you find most exciting about interior design today?
MB: We have noticed in the last few years that there is a huge advance, especially here in Cayman, in access to technology and craftsmen who are capable of translating our designs into bespoke finishes and furniture. We are increasingly looking to custom options and it is wonderful to have the sky as our limit.
RL: You have done interiors for large-scale resorts and private residences, which is your favourite room to design?
MB: With commercial work the goal is usually impact, so you can take some exciting risks, but I love designing powder rooms. I always describe them as little jewel boxes that can be treated with real attention to detail. Whether they are modern or traditional you can usually have more fun in these rooms and splurge on the finishes.
RL: What projects are on horizon?
MB: Right now we are completing several private residences, which we are very excited about as well as starting two commercial projects in Turks and Caicos. We also have a big move planned for Design Studio in 2015.
Michelle's Top 10
1) Designer – Petra Blaisse.
2) Furniture – Patricia Urquiola.
3) Colour Combo – White with anything.
4) Appliance/Gadget – I avoid them.
5) Artist – Kozyndan make me smile.
6) Hotel – We recently stayed at the Viceroy in Anguilla and it was amazing.
7) Book – Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King.
8) Holiday – Botswana was an all-time great, but these days we are drawn to urban destinations.
9) Museum – Musée D‘Art Contemporain de Montréal.
10) Material – Linen.
To learn more contact: www.designstudio.ky; or call 345.945.4977.
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