After a decade in the industry, Brooklyn-based Michele Dopp decided to follow her dreams and become a textile designer. Fueled by her creativity but grounded by business-savvy diligence, her textile line Fabric and Steel was born. Today, Michele is lifting the curtain on her home and welcoming us in. Click through the slideshow and get ready to be inspired!
How long have you lived in your apartment?
Almost 2 years and the way I found it felt magical. It was a beautiful summer morning. The quality of the East River light, cobblestone streets and the old factory building were breathtaking. I fell in love. Within a couple of months, I made it my home.
Tell us about the design philosophy you implemented for your home?
That everything in it should live a long life. I adore things that develop a beautiful patina over the years and become more elegant with time. I only want to bring things into my home that have been thoughtfully designed or crafted by hand.
Do you own or rent?
Rent. If I did own my apartment though, I would expose more of the wood beams in the space – I love the bones of a building.
The artwork above the sofa is amazing. What’s the story behind the piece?
The piece is by my boyfriend’s late mother, Agi Lanyi Heltai. She painted it in the late 90’s. Agi was an incredibly talented artist and her relationship to form is distinct and original. You feel her strong personality alive in all of her work.
What’s your favorite aspect about your home?
What was the biggest challenge in decorating your home and how did you overcome it?
Space – or the lack of space! Like many NYC apartments, the space constraints were simultaneously challenging and fortunate. I wanted to create a comfortable space with areas of openness and vignettes of privacy. I eliminated all of the things that were not important to me, kept a neutral palette and divided the apartment into areas for reading, listening to music, sleeping, eating and conversation. The neutral colors expand the space and the delineated areas offer privacy or community…depending on what you desire.
What’s your top tip to turning a house into a home?
Only keep things in your home that you love or need.
Those beams in the living room are amazing. Are they original to the space?
The beams are original. My building started off as the first corrugated cardboard factory. The developers exposed many of the original beams and iron fittings throughout the building when they were transforming it into apartments.
As a textile designer, we imagine it’s difficult to choose which fabrics to put in your home. Tell us about why you chose the patterns that you did?
The majority of the fabrics in my home are Fabric and Steel designs…with a few others in the mix. I think about how someone would live with my fabrics when I design them and I like to experience this life – the feel, the drape, how the patterns play off of things in a space. The other brands in my mix are in a similar palette and offer pronounced textures – a nice juxtaposition to the smooth, printed linen.
What is one trick you’ve learned that really made a difference in your space?
Keep things uncluttered.
What’s the first thing that friends say when they come over?
Where’s the food? I love cooking for friends!
Which designer or home do you refer to the most when you want inspiration?
I don’t focus on one designer rather I’m inspired by much of Japanese design. The simple lines and neutral shades found in the spaces, textiles and art are consistently fresh and exciting.
Why is your home special to you?
It’s filled with love and laughter.
*Tour Michele’s studio in the current issue of Rue, here!