We are excited to share our latest episode of Tile Trends x Tile Club podcast, featuring Michel Smith Boyd, the winner of Rock the Block Season 4. In this episode, we dive deep into Michel's winning designs, including his luxurious kitchen design that he paired with our stunning artisan style Mallorca Black Subway Tiles. Michel also takes us through his journey of discovering his passion for interior design and offers valuable insights on what it takes to succeed in the interior design industry. This podcast episode is a must-listen for all of our followers who are looking to stay on top of the latest design trends and gain valuable industry knowledge from the experts. So, sit back, relax, and let's explore the world of interior design with Michel Smith Boyd!
We absolutely love your creativity when it comes to bringing attainable luxury to home design. Can you tell us more about being a luxury designer?
You know, calling yourself a luxury designer is a thing, right? It's like this little crown. It's almost like a disclaimer to clients like this is what I do, this is what I like. But along the way I discovered that education about what we do is happening the same time as we're doing it and a lot of our clients are doing this for the first time. So getting them to understand what we did was the first part. And then we have to get them to understand that they actually deserve the luxury that they're attracted to. That's why my hashtag is #howtoluxury because you know it's subjective. It's a case by case situation. It doesn't have to be inherited. It doesn't have to be your mom's version of luxury, or even what you saw on television or what you think it is. Maybe it's not gilded for you. Maybe it's more experiential. And so my team and I are always on a mission to help our clients figure out what their version of luxury is how they want to see it in their homes, and have their guests experience it.
Step into sophistication with our Slatestone Black porcelain tile - as seen in Michel and Anthony's modern and edgy bathroom design on 'Rock The Block'.
Congratulations on your recent win! We would love to know, how did it feel to take first place on Season 4 of HGTV's 'Rock The Block'?
It was a tremendous honor to be invited to participate in "Rock The Block," which was the biggest show on the network with 135 shows. The timing of our invitation was particularly surprising because our show, "Luxe For Less," had just wrapped up filming and was scheduled to air on December 1st. Despite being newcomers to the show, my colleague Anthony and I were determined to leave a lasting impression by doing our best to impress each other and ourselves. However, we were also aware that we had a lot to prove, as no one knew who we were. As a result, winning was not something that we expected, especially since there were six veteran designers on the show. Our focus was on producing great work and clearly conveying our design point of view, which is crucial when designing for television. Television design is different from real-life design because the pieces have to be camera-friendly since the audience cannot physically experience them. When we were declared the winners, it was a genuinely unexpected surprise. The fireworks that went off when our victory was announced felt unreal, and I was sure that they were meant for someone else's house. Our reaction was sincere, and we were overwhelmed by the warm reception from our fellow cast members. I relived this incredible moment when I watched the show for the first time last week, and the emotions of the moment came rushing back to me. Despite feeling overjoyed, I had to keep my TV face composed to avoid breaking down in tears.
Tile club had the amazing opportunity of supplying tiles to all four teams on this season of 'Rock The Block'. What made you choose those particular tiles?
My current design phase is focused on simplicity and minimalism, which is a departure from my usual maximalist style. It's probably a post-pandemic influence, and my goal is to tell stories with less stuff and leave space for life, allowing our clients to add their personal touches. However, minimalism doesn't necessarily translate well to television design. In the kitchen we designed for "Rock The Block," I relied on the hand-molded black subway tiles to do the heavy lifting. These tiles aren't perfect or smooth, which creates an interesting texture that's almost like art. It's a new take on perfection, which shows that something doesn't have to be flawless to be beautiful. We took the tiles all the way up to the ceiling to make a bold statement, and we even went around the arch doors. This was an idea that I had on site, and it ended up making the whole wall feel more substantial and expensive. I was thrilled with the impact that this had on the final design, and truly just felt so proud with how everything turned out. 'Rock the Block' winners Michel and Anthony transformed this kitchen into a cozy, lived-in space with our Mallorca Black Subway Tiles. The duo seamlessly paired the tiles with white cabinetry and incorporated them from backsplash to ceiling, even extending over two stunning Spanish-inspired archways.
What design trends do you think will continue to be popular in 2023?
I believe that the trend of incorporating beautifully imperfect hand-molded textures, such as the tile we used in the "Rock The Block" kitchen, will continue to be popular. These textures add depth and dimension to a space visually, making it more interesting. Venetian plaster is another material that I love because it has a matte finish with movement and repetition of patterns. During the pandemic, we used a lot of plaster, which helped to make spaces more engaging than just plain white walls. Plaster is typically used for larger applications such as chandeliers, coffee tables, and even artwork. Incorporating texture into new construction can be challenging, but the addition of a hand-crafted element can add personality and a sense of history to a space. This approach is far more interesting than waiting for something to adorn a plain wall. I see this trend continuing, and I believe it is an excellent way for clients to have a sense of something truly customized.
Make a statement with our 4x4 Mallorca Black Subway tiles, as seen in this moody butler's pantry designed by Team Page Turner and Mitch Glew. The tiles add a touch of drama and sophistication to the space, making it the perfect spot for entertaining guests or grabbing a quick snack.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what inspired you to become an interior designer?
It's funny how the trajectory of your career can be so unexpected. When you're in the thick of it, you're not always aware of the gravity of the situation, especially when it comes to television. To deliver quality work, I need to be fully present, which can be difficult for my design firm and clients, as they are my top priority. But interior design is what I love, and it is the perfect combination of my childhood love for architecture and my adult passion for fashion. The romantic merger between the two is truly what drew me to this profession. However, I later discovered that being a successful interior designer requires more than just design skills. It also involves business acumen, social media savvy, organization, budgeting, and other essential skills. Nonetheless, interior design allows me to be everything I love to be. I am grateful for discovering this profession, but I always feel like I'm racing against the clock. I graduated from design school late in my thirties, so I've been playing catch-up ever since. Recently, I've learned to give myself permission to let things evolve naturally, without the pressure of feeling like I need to be further along in my career.
Our sultry Kasai Notte rectified porcelain tiles were the missing piece in this luxurious bathroom design by Team Page Turner and Mitch Glew. The bold, yet elegant tiles add depth and texture to the space, creating an overall sense of opulence and indulgence.
I never thought I would do television again after my show on Bravo a few years ago. However, while filming "Luxe For Less," I realized that I could tell my brand story and reach a broader audience through television. I've learned that success in this industry is all about relationships, understanding your calling, and taking daily actions that move you closer to that calling. It's about serving others with your gift and call, so everyone can benefit from it. I don't judge success based on visibility, as some incredibly talented designers prefer not to be in the spotlight. Building a brand and making television is a beast on its own, and it doesn't equate to talent. However, it's part of my journey and story, and it allows me to be the voice that reminds everyone that inclusion applies to having a great life at home too. I believe that everyone deserves to feel comfortable and happy in their living space, and I'm proud to be one of the people advocating for that message.
Team Sarah and Bryan Baeumler rocked this relaxing spa oasis with our large format Slatestone Black porcelain tiles.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you are particularly excited about this year?
To be honest, I got into this business with the goal of building a brand, which I know can sound like a trendy term. At first, I wondered who am I to attempt such a thing? But I quickly realized that I could achieve it, especially since I started with home fragrance and developed some licensed collections. I'm also a painter, which is another passion of mine. I'm thrilled to be launching new items this spring with Leftbank Art at High Point. However, home fragrance was our starting point, and we just launched one week ago. In fact, I'm even hosting a pop-up shop at Curry this weekend at High Point Market and I can't wait to share it with everyone. I can't preach that everyone deserves luxury without being a resource for it, so we're developing a budding E-commerce site, which is exciting. Currently, we only offer home fragrance and artwork, but we have so much more planned for the future. I can't wait to see what comes next.