EyeSwoon

  • Lauded interior designer turned sourcer, Stephanie Michaan, opened the doors to The Interior nearly two years ago. Since then, the East Hampton based store has become a covetable destination out East for homegoods, including some of our favorite linens, tabletop decor, and even my book, Cook Beautiful. With a clean, yet cozy minimalist aesthetic, it is hard not to simply swoon over Stephanie’s elevated pieces and refined taste.

    We caught up with Stephanie to hear more about her design philosophy, career choices, and what is next for The Interior. Read it all below!

    Tell me about the genesis of The Interior. How did you decide to open a shop and studio? 

    My surroundings have always been important to me. My mother has an amazing garden and my grandmother has a stunning apartment filled with incredible art. I grew up understanding that a space can transform your mood and set the tone for life. And I’ve always been drawn to inviting spaces, in general. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t curious about design choices, styles and what it takes to create that feeling of home.

    After college, I lived in the city for years. After a career in production, I changed course to follow my passion and studied Interior Design at Parsons. I did private client interior design for a while until I realized that what really made me happiest was sourcing: meeting interesting designers, invested in their respective crafts, and curating a mix of amazing things.

    Fast forward two years and I have a small shop in East Hampton. Its focus is minimal design, inspired by natural elements. But it goes back to the beginning: that design can create a sense of serenity and lightness and a feeling of home.

    How would you briefly describe the aesthetic, and your vision and philosophy for The Interior?

    Thoughtful, minimal, sanctuary-like environments set us at ease. That is the philosophy of The Interior. My aesthetic is clean and neutral but also cozy, casual and welcoming. My vision for the store was to offer a range of pieces that can get you there.

    What are your bestselling pieces?

    The Yuzu hand soap by Tangent! As soon as we get it in, it sells out. Our linen throws by Meira Sitton are one of our staples and add the perfect amount of texture to a sofa and chair. We also have an oversized linen beach throw by Caroline Z. Shurley that has been a favorite since last summer. Perfect for a picnic or bonfire.

    What is it about serene, minimal spaces that resonate with you?

    There is nothing better than a home, punctuated by light objects that communicate together to tell a story. It’s like in nature: every little piece contributes and nothing takes over. Serene and minimal design mimics nature’s aesthetic.

    "The Interior" woman is someone who cares about a beautiful, peaceful space, but also the story behind the objects that make it that way.

    Tell me about your design process, including the choices and discoveries you make day to day. 

    Since I opened my store last summer my focus has been on making that space the best it can be. I have stepped away from interior design projects. I’ve loved finding new designers and brands and bringing them to my customers. I am still involved in the interior design process, just differently.

    Biggest source of creative inspiration?

    Nature, travel, light, other creatives. Having moved to Bridgehampton full-time from the city, I have developed such an appreciation for being outside. Being near the water gives me so much inspiration and appreciation for simplicity.

    On the other hand, traveling and seeing new places and meeting new people energizes me. I’ve always felt I know exactly what I like and then sometimes I’m introduced to something new and my entire views shift. I try to travel and explore as much as possible, plus it makes coming home that much more special.

    What was the career and life progression that led to where you are today?

    I’ve always wanted to create a space that felt not just like home for me—but for others. Last year, my fiancé, started his own company B&Co. Builders and was looking for an office space. He came across a funny space in Sag Harbor that offered retail in the front. He pushed me to take a risk. For so long, I would say,“One day when I have a little home store…”

    The space was impossible to find and didn’t really work as retail, but it allowed me to test out owning a shop, which I loved. Now we’re on Main Street in East Hampton. The change is huge and great.

Q+A

Stephanie Michaan

  • The Interior

    • Who is the quintessential “The Interior” woman?
      Someone who cares about a beautiful, peaceful space, but also the story behind the objects that make it that way.
       
      How do you decide what designers and pieces to stock in The Interior?
      This is the most fun part for me. I love finding new brands and designers to support. One of my goals is to find young designers from all over the world and give them a platform to showcase their work.
       
      How did the furniture collaboration with designer Amee Allsop come about?
      I met Amee a few years back and always related to her design sensibility. She has such an eye and relaxed way about her. When she moved out east full-time we became close and things naturally progressed.
       
      This year, we collaborated on six pieces called Pure Minimalist.” We spent countless hours on materials and finishes and are so proud and excited about it. It feels like an extension of The Interior and Amee got that so well.
       
       
      Biggest challenges and successes thus far in creating The Interior?
      Saying no. One thing about owning a store is the number of designers who want to be represented. This has been tough for me because I have loved so many brands AND I’m a people-pleaser! I’m learning!
       
       
      Five items you feel truly represent your brand?
      Our Gorse candle by Laboratory Perfumes because of its elegant scent. A textured linen throw blanket to curl up with. A unique ceramic piece by Tracy Dixon. A functional sisal basket and our bleached ash and linen arm chair.
       
       
      What might a typical day look like for you in the studio?
      Every day is so different. On the weekends when the shop is busy I meet a million people: customers, designers, friends who stop in. I love it. The reality of retail is always keeping the space fresh, giving life to the products and having fun with the display so all the visitors help. They give life—and it’s that life that you can take home with you.
       
       
      That“Aha!”moment when you were recognized and knew you created something special?
      The store and my aesthetic is specific, so it either speaks to you or it doesn’t. When people come into the space and say they want to spend the day or how serene it makes them feel, I know I communicated what I meant to. It’s the best.
       
      A perfect Sunday is…
      Coffee in bed with my man and our pup, a long beach walk or swim and cooking an early dinner outside with friends. Simple, quiet and perfect.
       
      Go-to local spots? (Cafés? Restaurants? Shops? Parks? Etc.)
      In the summer, I love to be outside as much as possible and take advantage of the farm stands. We live across the street from Open Minded Organics so I can usually be found there. I also love Amber Waves and Balsam Farms. For dinner Crow’s Nest is a favorite. It really doesn’t get much better.
       
      There are so many other great shops around the Hamptons that serve as a source of inspiration to me. MoncXIII, Botanica Bazaar and recently Onda Beauty.
       
      What’s next for The Interior?
      I’m hoping to continue to evolve The Interior, whether with my own line of textiles or scents or with just more creative designers and pop-ups and collaborations. I never imagined this so it’s OK not knowing what the next step will be. It will be and that is the good news!
       

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