Behind the Design: Mikel Welch at the 2018 Hamptons Designer Showhouse

Mikel Welch is more than just one of the talented interior designers who participated in this year’s esteemed Hamptons Designer Showhouse, presented by Traditional Home, with proceeds benefiting the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

The owner of Mikel Welch Designs is also a set designer, a TV personality, and a self-proclaimed magician. Of course, Mikel is not really a magician, but he likes to call himself one.

“As an interior designer, so much of my job is making magic happen,” explains Mikel.

Mikel’s natural talent for design was evident from the time he was a young boy growing up in Southfield, Michigan, creating sofas and chairs for imaginary houses. Today, he runs his own interior design business in New York and works as an on-air personality and design expert for Steve Harvey.

He describes his style as transitional-primitive. “I like things that are from the past that really have a story but then I like to pair them with things that are nice and supple, and have texture.”

We recently had the pleasure of working with Mikel for the showhouse, transforming a guest bedroom into a junior master. Using deep saturated tones, a mix of styles, and custom drapery, Mikel worked his magic to create a dreamy yet dramatic retreat.

We asked Mikel to share the thinking behind his bedroom design.


“I wanted to create something that was extremely tranquil,” explains Mikel, sharing his vision for the room. “Living in New York, you have all this sensory overload. I thought, ‘if I were in the Hamptons, what would be my area where I could go zone out and completely detox?’

Mikel went right to work on his vision. He chose a rich earthy gray and cream palette and immediately turned his attention the room’s massive fourteen-foot ceiling.

“Being an interior designer and a set designer, I’m all about drama! I thought the best way to bring drama into this room would be to actually work from the ground up.”


To get started, Mikel went shopping at the Decoration & Design Building in Manhattan, seeking out a bed to fit his vision. It was during his trip there that he spotted the upholstered Jensen bed in the window of the Ethan Allen showroom and knew he had found the one.

“It was perfect. It had beautiful buttons; the detail was exquisite,” says Mikel.


With a dreamy bed secured, it was time to create the drama. To bring the look together, Mikel hung custom lightweight drapery from the ceiling to create the illusion of a four-poster bed.

Mikel explains, “The drapes just nicely kiss the ends of the bed. It’s perfect. The room is very light and airy, but it’s moody, it’s drama—it’s all those things you want when you walk into a bedroom.”

To continue maximizing the fourteen-foot ceilings and enhance the drama further, Mikel brought in three magnificent 91-inch, eighteenth-century Chinese paintings for the wall.


With the bed covered, Mikel started thinking about what else he could bring into the space.

“A big part of design is obviously function,” he shares. “If I were here in the Hamptons, I would want a place where I could actually lounge.”

Mikel set his sights on creating a seating area in the room and chose the Monterey slipcovered sofa for its crisp, casual style. He upholstered it in a muted cream tone to contrast with the room’s rich dark grays.

“I love this piece because, to me, it has a really tailored, regal elegance,” says Mikel. “You have beautiful cushions, which are very firm and tight, and a slipcovered effect on the bottom. It’s the perfect piece for lounging.”

To complete the look, Mikel chose accents that complemented the tones and textures of the room, including a work of abstract art and the Macie Pharmacy floor lamp in a polished brass finish.

“I’m just really excited that my room came together so nicely,” Mikel shares.  “I think a lot of times, interior designers get caught up in certain catch words or clichés. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to stick to who I was as an interior designer, and that’s honestly what I did in this space.”

We were intrigued by Mikel’s passion and philosophy, so we asked him a couple of more questions about design:

What is your favorite Ethan Allen piece?

“It’s actually a tie! love the Lincoln upholstered poster bed and the Skyla brass chandelier. If I could pair them together, that would be the best of both worlds.”

What is the biggest thing you get out of interior design?

“To see the faces on my clients when I do the big reveal. I think that’s the biggest thing any designer can ask for. As an interior designer, it’s your job to help somebody take a vision and to expand it. Our job is to show you the full capacity.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Ethan Allen interior designers are always ready to help you expand your design vision. Get started with our free design service now.

CATEGORY: Behind The Design

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