Designer Spotlight: Michael Lee
Get inspired by Los Angeles-based designer Michael Lee, known for epitomizing Malibu style with neutral palettes and earthy elements.
Stylish at Sea
Michael's dog, Luke, takes a break on the sectional sofa in the yacht's main salon. Stripes play a big role in Lee's decor, from the pillows to the cotton rug set on an angle. The coffee table is from West Elm.
The yacht's guest room is small but comfortable. The designer covered a pair of berths with graphic linen scarves by L'Eclaireur. The black-and-white picture on the wall gives the space an inviting feel.
Hidden Lunch Spot
Michael lives on the yacht, docked in Marina del Rey, during the week, and then retires to his Malibu house on the weekends. He enjoys lunch on-board at a fold-down table on the stern. When he hosts guests, the table can be hidden to create more space.
A chic serving bar behind the captain's wheel is a perfect addition for entertaining guests and providing more seating in the tight space.
Michael reinvented this Malibu home's entryway with reclaimed European cobblestones that line the drive and courtyard, giving the home a Mediterranean villa vibe.
Michael purposefully arranged the four chairs in a circle to encourage conversation. Plus, every seat has a view! The mohair-upholstered chairs originally had mohair-covered cushions as well, but Michael re-covered them with a more casual cotton twill. For similar club chairs, try Crate & Barrel.
Open and Minimal
Planked ceilings and open shelves make the kitchen feel like an island pavilion. Two-inch-thick walnut countertops and shelves are finished with oil to protect and preserve the wood. Michael chose the ceiling's horizontal V-groove paneling and supporting beams to add architectural interest to the all-white space. For similar barstools, try Wisteria, and for a similar light fixture, try Circa Lighting.
Michael mixed modern and traditional pieces in the library-like dining room, which also serves as the home’s foyer. The midcentury chairs freshen up the 14-foot antique table, and bookcases enhance the feel of the room.
Michael pulled in natural elements to create an inviting master bedroom. We love how he layered an antique rug over a sea grass one for extra interest. For a similar sea grass rug, try naturalarearugs.com.
Michael strategically positioned the tub to allow access from outside. To maintain continuity between the bath and shower walls, he lined the shower with pure white CaesarStone, which he had carved to look like planked wood. Find the tub at Wetstyle; 866/842-1367 or wetstyle.ca.
Michael teamed up with landscape designer Scott Shrader to plan the exterior of the house. The garden features peaceful rectangular lily ponds and manicured globe boxwoods for a structured look.
When asked to give a much-needed upgrade to a Malibu beach bungalow, Michael stepped up to the challenge. In the living room, he created the feeling of more space by raising the ceilings to their maximum height. Crisp white paint from Farrow & Ball on all surfaces unifies the now-open floor plan and, along with plush slipcovered furnishings, facilitates a relaxed, chic vibe.
By adding delineating ceiling beams, Michael enlivened this room and added definition. "Nothing looks better against the blue ocean than white and natural woods," Michael says of his chosen color palette.
Michael added a banquette to the railing on the deck for extra seating. It's a necessity to accommodate friends who flock to the popular hangout spot. Green pillows add a pop of color to the otherwise neutral area.
Graphic chocolate and white stripes and clever block lettering give the deck wall a playful graphic boost. The paint colors are Super White and Brown Horse by Benjamin Moore.
In the kitchen, Michael replaced outdated Formica cabinet doors with cool pale gray ones. A warm, textured grass cloth wallpaper complements the cabinetry and brings in a natural element. Barstools offer casual seating, and a rug and warm butcher-block countertop soften the space. Get the look of the rug with a Mattress Ticking cotton woven rug by Dash & Albert.
An all-white palette with touches of brown and blue make up this cozy, natural bedroom. Michael added a statement piece above the bed for visual interest.
The guest room gets a stylish pick-up with a pair of twin beds adorned with rich brown linen. Michael built custom tongue-and-groove "headboards" for the beds that also double as deep shelves for displaying collectibles.