Local Profile: Stephanie Michaan

Seven Home Décor Tips From The Interior

Stephanie Michaan is the founder of The Interior (@the.interior), a New York- based lifestyle brand that offers interior design services and home goods. With a house in Bridgehampton, an apartment in Manhattan, and a variety of clients in New York and beyond, Michaan is clearly an interior design guru.

Focusing on an aesthetic that she herself defines as “very minimal,” Michaan spends most of the year in the Hamptons, enjoying her “sanctuary” of a home, her favorite local design spots (JANGEORGe, MONC XIII, Bloom), her go-to beach (Ocean Road Beach) and, of course, entertaining friends and family. Who better, then, to give us some tips on how to revamp our homes just in time for summer hosting duties?

1. When decorating, never rush the process

Michaan urges all homeowners to slow down when picking out new furniture. “I think you really need to take your time buying,” she says. “I think it’s good to get your big pieces of furniture and live in the space and see what [else] you need,” she advises. “Oftentimes, people buy things because they just like them, but there’s really no space, rhyme, or reason for it.”

2. There’s something to be said about keeping things neutral

Remember: You can always add a touch of creativity with simple objects. As the weather changes, the interior designer uses “different pillows, bedding, and even art” to spruce up her space. “I love to kind of live seasonally,” she explains. “Especially being in the Hamptons, you design a beachy house that’s very appropriate for the summer, but people come out all year.” To do that, “I’ll switch out the bedding to something a little warmer, I’ll do some more pillows, some sheepskins in the living room, and then there’s the little things, like flowers.”

3. Let your own life inspire you

Michaan describes her childhood home in Pound Ridge, about an hour north of New York City, as “very laid back.” Her mom, a yoga teacher, taught her about the practice, “and I took a lot of that into design school and my philosophy on design.” The result? A belief that “your house should kind of be your sacred place, a place that you walk in the door and you feel instantly relaxed,” she says. “It’s your space,” so infuse it with who you are and where you come from.

4. Looking for help? You might want to think small

When prompted about the pros and cons of hiring a big interior design firm versus a smaller one, Michaan expounds on the differences between the two. “Working one-on-one with someone, we go to a lot of the showrooms together, we’re in close communication, and it’s a fun process.” A bigger firm, in contrast, is “doing 10 or 15 projects at a time. They’re very busy.” It all comes down to the person that you are and the experience that you are seeking: “If you’re the type of person who just wants to hand the project over to a big company, and you trust that everything is going to be perfect, [go for it]. With me, we work together, and I get very granular with everything.”

5. Social media is your friend

In some way diverging from popular opinion, Michaan feels rather hopeful about the use of social media within her industry. “Instagram is great,” she says. “It’s free advertising, and it really is a way to show my brand.” Specifically, she utilizes it to connect “with a lot of different vendors who I never heard of through the design world.” How can you, as a consumer, make the best of it when redecorating? “It’s a very visual business,” says Michaan, so feel free to browse through your feed and get inspired.

6. You’re allowed to add items to your wish list even after redecorating

Who says that being an interior designer means fulfilling all your furniture-related desires? Mentioning two easy chairs by Heinz Henry as some of her favorite pieces in her Bridgehampton home, Michaan admits that there are still some things she dreams of adding to her space—namely, a “beautiful bed frame.” Which begs the question, what is on your home décor wish list?

7. When hosting, your outdoor space is just as important as your indoor one

Summer in the Hamptons means lots of friends coming over all the time. “I think the beautiful thing about entertaining out here is you don’t need very much,” Michaan says about hosting. “It’s always [nice] to have bottles of wine [on hand], and then I go to the farm stands a lot and I’ll get some fruit, I’ll get some cheese, and then [it’s all about] being outside.” After all, as she reminds us herself, “the Hamptons kind of sells itself: sitting outside having some wine is really all you need.”

11 Bridge Street, Sag Harbor, NY