September 12, 2016

10 Questions with… Jayne and Joan Michaels

Not just sisters, but identical twins. Not just elegant beauties, but former models that walked the runways of—and lived in—Milan. It’s these characteristics, plus interior design degrees from FIT, keen eyes for the distinct yet timeless, and personalities that adapt well to a range of clients, including photographer Patricia Amador, that have led Jayne and Joan Michaels to build their successful firm, 2Michaels. Here’s what else makes them tick.

Interior Design: Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your work?

Jayne Michaels: Early years were in Salt Lake City, then we moved to Palm Springs. Both have dramatic landscapes and cinematic settings, are rather otherworldly and unique—qualities I seek in our work.

Joan Michaels: On the way home from high school, we’d cut through Tamarisk Country Club, which has mid-century modern houses with big plate-glass windows on its grounds. We’d peek into the interiors—spare with unique, modern furniture. I absorbed those images into my blood stream.

ID: What did living in Italy or working in fashion teach you that you still use today?

Jayne: Many of the successful models weren’t classically beautiful, but had a certain bearing, an inner confidence. They weren’t afraid of being different. It stayed with me.

Joan: From my time in Italy, I learned about the true art of living—about being in the moment—and that beauty is in the details.

ID: Which project are you most proud of?

Jayne: Our room for the Holiday House Hamptons show house last summer. It benefitted breast-cancer research, a cause that’s very dear to us, since our mother, Beatrice, died from the disease. Our theme was to imagine an office for her, one that captured her complex nature—an artist’s soul but also strong and resourceful. All the artwork we chose was either by or a depiction of a woman.

ID: How do identical twins break down the work for a project?

Joan: We’re also mirror twins, meaning we faced each other in the womb. So, I’m left-handed and Jayne is right-handed. I’m passionate about color, texture, the details that create a layered environment. Jayne loves finding the unique piece of furniture, space-planning, pushing the boundaries.

ID: Latest design obsession?

Jayne: Ceiling fans—so hard to find a great one!

Joan: Carlo Nason’s lighting from the 1960’s and ’70’s. The way he layered glass is truly stunning.

ID: Latest interiors pet peeve?

Jayne: The word “bespoke.”

Joan: The Brooklyn look: reclaimed wood, exposed lightbulbs, taxidermy.

ID: Favorite paint color?

Jayne: DKC 19, Donald Kauffman Color.

Joan: Titanium, Benjamin Moore & Co

ID: Picture books or Pinterest?

Jayne and Joan: Picture books—never can have enough!

ID: First app checked in the morning?

Jayne and Joan: Instagram.

ID: Best thing about your job?

Joan: There’s always something new to learn.

Jayne: The clients!

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