i+D - November/December 2021 - 35

In the Mix - By Diana Mosher
Telling a Unique Story
All interior designers are inspired by other artists and
artisans-it's part of the human condition. " What makes
things unique is how we put our spin on our rendition of
previous design elements, " opines Mikel Welch, principal
at Mikel Welch Designs. " I'm a fan of the old Herman Millerstyle
chairs. I'm a big mid-century person, but I put my own
twist on it. " Welch calls his design style " primitive modern, "
and he draws inspiration from raw-edge stone and raw
materials in an unfinished state, which he infuses into his
design projects.
Welch's layered approach combines dramatic elements
like ancient or rustic doors in otherwise modern or classic
interiors. Those pieces are often the focal point. " I also use
a lot of neutrals. If you don't layer them and add texture,
then it becomes a very basic room, " he offers. " A big part
of what I do comes from my background in set design, where
you have a story to tell. " Welch learned early on how to
transport people to a destination with furniture and decor. He
typically looks for vintage items, primitive Indonesian pieces
or Asian antiques on Craigslist or at local antique shops.
" As a designer, it's my job to recognize which of the client's
existing pieces of furniture have good bones. I think that's the
true test. Just throwing everything out doesn't make you a
great designer, " he explains. " Maybe my client has an Ethan
Allen sofa from 1970. It's understood she doesn't like it, but
that might be because it's covered in tons of flowers. However,
if I do a slipcover in linen that's really relaxed and tailored, then
it's going to give that piece a different feel. "
Some of Welch's millennial clients have been gifted iconic
furniture, but they don't know the value of the piece. He
helps them reimagine their Barcelona chairs for the present
with changes to the fabric and finish. Some clients pay
more attention than others to the environmental benefits of
repurposing existing furniture. " Dollarwise, clients appreciate
when you come back to them and say, 'Hey, you know what?
I think we can make this work.' Actually, they love that because
it builds trust in you as a designer, " he says. " They know that
you're not just there to spend their money. "
To avoid looking like you're stuck in a time capsule, Welch
suggests the 30-to-70 ratio of past to present materials.
If you use approximately 70 percent new items and bring in
30 percent of blended vintage and antique elements, the
project won't feel stuffy or overly formal.
For a living area in a show house,
designer Mikel Welch brought warmth
to the expansive space by infusing it
with natural and aged elements.
(Image: Brantley Photography)
Mikel Welch (Image: Brantley Photography)
35

i+D - November/December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - November/December 2021

i+D - November/December 2021 - Cover1
i+D - November/December 2021 - Cover2
i+D - November/December 2021 - 3
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i+D - November/December 2021 - Cover3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/asid/design_product_guide
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190910_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506_french
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