Michelle Morgan Harrison is known for her ability to create family-friendly homes that reflect her client’s personal style. With more than 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and the former fashion editor at ELLE and Mirabella magazine, she brings her couture sensibilities to each project she undertakes. Her design approach mixes styles and periods, producing beautiful classic spaces with modern twists and hints of glamour. Michelle took a break from styling incredible rooms to share with us her perspective on design and the source of her inspiration.
Were you always interested in design?
Since I can remember. My mother was very stylish in her dress and the home. Every room had pieces that had a story, either that had been passed down or purchased on a trip. My dad said that when I was little, I always had to check out the bathroom designs of the restaurant or the hotel we stayed in and my mother enrolled me in summer art classes at Connecticut College when I was preteen.
How did you get into it?
I was a natural progression. I was drawn to art right away.
How would you describe your style?
Eclectic , modern, fresh and thoughtful.
Has it changed over the years? Can you give any examples?
Oh, yes. Back in the 80’s I was very into the clean lines of the Danish style and then in the 90’s went more to county with vines all over the drapes. Can you imagine? Awful!
What inspires you?
So many things, so little time. I can see something on the side of the road with the colors of nature, could be a sunset or my little neighbor girl collecting leaves and organizing them by color on the blue tile seat outside. I get inspired by other designer’s work, as well as artists. I see a piece that I love and I don’t forget it. I know I am going to use it somewhere someday like what I did for the model at Broadstone Corsair. The local community has seven microbreweries and I knew the art piece that read “ A man walks into a bar” would be perfect. It’s playful, fun and thoughtful.
Any musical inspiration(s) that gets your creative juices flowing?
One song always gets me, “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison. Shame he didn’t get his act together. He is still in jail.
Do you ever hit road blocks? How do you overcome them?
When I hit a roadblock, I go to the gym and do a Body Combat or Insanity class. I have to focus on my target and just put everything out of my mind. Always better after a good night’s sleep, too!
Do clients comparison shop?
I am sure they do.
If you were any Alliance property what one would you be and why?
Broadstone Coronado on the Bay. Growing up on Little Narragansett Bay in Connecticut, this community really speaks to me. Every single detail is amazing, from the artwork to the signage!
What is the best piece of advice you were given?
Don’t take it personally.
What is the best piece of advice you can give?
Respect yourself and you will be respected. And don’t take it personally.
Anything else you would like to add?
It is so important to be open to new ideas – I have been doing this for 15 years and still get excited when I see new fabrics, art and furniture.
Our surroundings are important to our attitude in life. People just don’t realize that the right aesthetic, scale or color can easily change your mood. I try to make people feel happy, comfortable and excited by their surroundings.
Ever the enthusiastic energy force, Michelle Harrison founded Michelle Harrison Design (MHD) in 2000. Specializing in multifamily and commercial design MHD has completed projects from the Pacific Northwest to the Sunshine State. She continues to deliver relevant design embracing each project by considering the client’s objectives, buyer demographic, market conditions and physical space. Each project embraces the client’s direction and needs with Michelle’s creative twist. To see more of Michelle’s work visit her website or check out her Instagram.