There are a few major moments in a designer’s life where it really feels like you’re making it. The first project. The first major project. Your first magazine spread. Oh, and that time you get a call from Michael Boodro saying “Congratulations, you’re on the ELLE DECOR A-List!”. Making the A-List is a wildly prestigious award in the interior design industry and a huge honor.
As ELLE DECOR’s Editor in Chief, Michael not only oversees that List, but he leads the magazine into new and impossibly chic territory each month. He’s also beloved in the industry for his impressive eye and encyclopedic design knowledge – not to mention, his kindness and killer sense of humor.
If you want a taste of that, just take a look at always on-point editor’s letter – or his answers to our questions here! Read on to get to know the wildly creative, ahead-of-the-curve Michael Boodro.
When it comes to decorating “rules”: Is there such a thing and if so, is there one you constantly break?
There are no rules, of course, and you have to know them to break them. Between my Manhattan apartment, and my house in the country—which are totally different—I think I break every one of them. My place in Tribeca is full of pale colors and classic furniture—I have a weakness for Biedermeier (even though it is totally out of style) and Wiener Werkstatte, and we have a few pieces of both, along with some French 40’s furnishings. Our house in upstate New York is a classic white “farmer’s Greek Revival” on the outside, and a riot of color within, with walls painted blueberry, rust, forest green. But all the color is unified with lots of white trim. And virtually every item in it came from a garage sale, flea market, or local antique shop.
As different as my places are, I do think they are consistent within themselves, and I think that is probably the one unbreakable rule—you have to be true to your vision, and ruthlessly edit out anything that doesn’t belong or feel right. A muddled room is an uncomfortable room.
What is the most unexpected thing in your home?
Probably the red plastic chairs at the breakfast table in our Tribeca kitchen. Everything else in our apartment is pretty much understated—though we do have a lavender sofa. But too much good taste is a bore, and I think you have to surprise people—and yourself. And it is one of those decorator “rules” mentioned above that every room should have a touch of red. Our kitchen certainly does!
Photos of Michael’s country house, in and outside. Photos courtesy of Michael Boodro
What does your dream house look like and where would it be?
I love my houses, but I do dream of having a very modernist, spare house by the beach, perhaps by Annabelle Selldorf or John Pawson. But that vision of purity and serenity can only remain a dream, because I know it wouldn’t take me long to junk it up with the detritus of everyday life. Sure, I would then go on major purges and clean-outs, but it would be a constant battle, and where’s the serenity in that?
What’s your signature touch in your home or your personal style?
Laughter. At home and the office. If you entertain, and no one is laughing, you really have failed.
The stunning June and May 2016 covers of ELLE DECOR
What are you currently obsessed with?
Strangely, (and to prove how conflicted I am) I am becoming increasingly intrigued with the more-is-more, pattern-on-pattern aesthetic of turn-of-the-century American designers of the Gilded Age, which before I had considered over-the-top and ridiculous. The Metropolitan Museum in New York just had a show of the work of George Schastey, and a dressing room he created in 1881 is now on permanent view. It is a ravishing, opulent jewel (pictured here, at right).
But then our eye is always surprising us, and our tastes evolve, and I guess that is why working in design is so rewarding and why my job is so much fun.