Designer Crush Q&A: Kriste Michelini


1. Where do you currently live in CA and what’s special about how you’ve designed your personal space?

I live in Alamo with my husband and our three children in a New England home that is really a marriage of modern and classical design. The idea of light, openness and functionality drove the entire design. We reorganized existing layout and added two wings of sensitive proportions along with a front porch, outside fire pit with outdoor kitchen, etc. I love it. It is simple, clean, elegant but warm and inviting. 

2. What’s your dream design project?  

A hip boutique hotel would be great fun.  

3. In real life, what’s your favorite design project you’ve completed to date?  

That’s difficult as we have been very lucky to work with wonderful clients on several amazing projects. If I had to pick one – it was one of my very first ground up projects. A  modern glass home in the hills in Orinda for a young family. It is minimal, all white and gorgeous yet completely functional. The young couple was involved in every step of the process – it was a true labor of love for all of us. I cried when it was finished.  

4. You’ve been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be? 

The French antique 200-year old sideboard I have in my kitchen. It’s like my favorite pair of jeans.

5. What’s your creative process when designing a space?

I sleep on it, look at nature for inspiration, daydream, etc.  I get consumed by it and then I get in a zone and the ideas just flow effortlessly.  It really is what nourishes me. I can’t get enough of it.  

6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?  

Coup d’ Etat is a go to place that I always find something incredible that will elevate a room from ordinary to extraordinary. 

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?  

I painted outdoor pots once and they turned out horrible. I threw them all out! What a waste. I would never ever wallpaper by myself.  

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?  

Integrating technology into design. Hiding speakers into the drywall, clever ways of integrating tv/audio, wireless technology and lighting with art.

9. Lightning round! 

Beach or mountains? Beach

Twitter or Facebook? Facebook of course.

Architectural Digest or Wallpaper? AD.

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen? Kitchen – that is the hub of the home.

Would you rather shop new or vintage?  Hmmm.  New.

Great view or perfect pool? Great view.

SF or LA?  SF

10. What’s one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?  

Trust your instinct. 


Want more Kriste?

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