A NYC Home Pairs Rustic Elegance and City Style

HGTV Design Star alum Mikel Welch offers a tour of his rustic-chic New York City apartment.

September 25, 2019
By: Jeanine Hays

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

Photo By: Chinasa Cooper

New York State of Mind

Mikel Welch is a bonafide design celebrity. A Season 7 contestant on HGTV Design Star, Mikel went on to share his gift for transforming spaces on The Steve Harvey Show and The Real Housewives of Atlanta before joining the cast of Trading Spaces earlier this year. Mikel has used all of that talent and experience to turn a 650-square-foot apartment in New York City into his own Hamptons-inspired getaway.

HGTV Design Star

Setting the Tone

From the moment he stepped into his new home, Mikel liked what he saw and knew what he wanted to do. The designer remembers that the unit had just been renovated and had everything he needed to create the space he wanted. With a clean slate, he set out to create his perfect aesthetic — bringing the look and feel of his favorite Hamptons getaways to his own home. Combining soothing textures and a neutral color palette, the living room embodies the warm, rustic feel that he wanted to come home to every day.

Whimsical Details

The living room console displays a charming array of accessories, but in keeping with the overall minimal look of Mikel's home.

Design Is in the Details

To create the perfect city escape Mikel added in the kind of rustic elements you wouldn't necessarily expect in a New York City apartment. In this case, the designer drew on his Trading Spaces experience with a DIY door project. Mikel couldn’t get barn doors delivered in a small New York elevator, so he decided to build his own. "This is New York and we don’t have yards," he says, "so I had to bring the wood up and build the doors in my living room."

Artful Hallway

Mikel’s love of art is clear in his designs. The hallway leading to his bedroom features an amazing gallery wall that continues the understated elegance that defines his space. Combining art in various sizes with decorative objects, the gallery wall adds an eclectic note to the home’s design.

Designer Dining

Entertaining in a small space is always a challenge, and Mikel has been clever in his solutions without sacrificing style. Eschewing a fourth dining chair in favor of a bench increases the seating capacity at the table, while the upholstered stool can do double-duty, adding seating to the living room when guests transition to that space after dinner.

Meaningful Art

Featured throughout the home are small homages to Mikel’s love of global culture and history. In the dining room, an antique jacket hung on the wall is one of the designer's prized possessions. An authentic 19th century Chinese rain coat, it’s the type of garment that would have been worn by rice farmers. But in the hands of a designer with a creative vision, an article of clothing becomes a striking piece of art.

Minimalism to the Max

Known for the modern design that he creates for his clients, at home, Mikel takes a more restrained approach marked by the elegant use of small details and a love for historic cultural objects. The living room coffee table is a perfect example of his approach. The books are large enough to be attention-grabbers but they fit seamlessly — along with the table itself —into the room’s overall color scheme.

A Touch of Antique Design

A bedroom built-in houses a unique collection of objects including a display of wooden vases from India.

Bedroom in the Clouds

When Mikel moved into his home, the bedroom was the first room that he designed. Motivated by a desire to bring the comfort and luxury of the Hamptons to his New York abode, this room set the tone for the rest of the interior. The canopy bed is an elegant centerpiece in the room. The range of silver-gray neutral tones evokes luxury while creating comfort.

Built-In Decor

One of the big selling points of this remodeled home for Mikel was the abundance of built-in storage. But instead of using the built-ins for functional purposes, Mikel used them as a design element, showcasing even more of his impressive collection of cultural objects.

Colorful Creations

The serene, cocoon-like feel of Mikel’s space is a direct result of the color palette the designer has chosen. The home is a study in neutrals. Brighter colors are used sparingly and, unsurprisingly, to great effect. The large artwork that hangs in the entryway is not a huge departure from the overall color scheme but its pops of bright orange and dark red bring the perfect amount of life and energy to the room.

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