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Community Highlights: Meet Michelle Blemel of Amberleaf Inc Interior Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Blemel.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My journey into Interior Design started at a young age. While in high school we had a presentation during our home economics class, might be showing my age here, LOL. I knew right then I wanted to become an Interior Designer, this was a big 180-degree pivot from my original dreams of becoming a Dr.

Interior Design was not considered a proper field of study at the time and there were not many schools offering courses. My parents felt it best to take a year in college to be sure of my choice. I spent that year taking photography, art, and drawing courses and set my sights on The Colorado Institute of Art.

Once there I was finally able to learn all I could about Architecture, drawing, fabrics, furniture styles, color theory, construction documents, and design styles. I worked in the afternoon at the Denver Design Center which allowed me an even more in-depth education about furniture and fabrics. I was in heaven.

After graduation, I packed up and moved to France to continue my studies at Parsons in Paris. What an amazing immersion in art and architecture. Studying under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, a decision was made to close the Design program in Paris during my second semester, so I decided to return to the states and finish my Design education at Parsons in Los Angeles.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to work as an Intern at the Design Firm of Trisha Wilson and Associates. Our focus was on Interior Design across the Hospitality Industry. This was the place I really cut my teeth on high-end luxury design.

From there I went on to work in some amazing resort towns, such as Isle Of Palms South Carolina, Vail Colorado, Sandpoint Idaho. My mother always said I was not one to stay in one place too long. She was right.

By this point, I knew if I was going to start over again it would be for myself and Amberleaf Inc was formed. In order to drum up business, I created one of the first Radio shows focused on Interior design, long before podcasts. It was such fun and allowed me to really be part of a wonderful community answering questions live each month.

After all of that, I found my way back to Los Angeles and began working with various clients from Laguna to Valencia.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
When you work as an Interior Designer every project has an end date, which means you are always keeping an eye out for the next big client or project. It’s a blessing and a curse, when you are busy you want to slow time down to enjoy the process, when your slow you want to be able to find the next great client.

One of the things I love about design is every day is different. One minute you’re sketching a custom piece of furniture and the next you are off at a site meeting contractors and dealing with challenges that arise. You have to think quickly on your feet and be creative at problem-solving. Details matter and there’s a lot to keep in check.

Many people enjoy watching the HGTV shows, but these really do not portray all that it takes to create good design. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make those fabulous reveals happen. Over the years I have had sofas be too big to go through a doorway, a custom glass table top break as it was delivered, and have had to work around countless subcontractors trying to put the finishing touches on a house up to the minute the client walks in.

As hard as it can be some days, It’s all worth it when you see the look of surprise on a client’s face and they tell you it’s everything they envisioned. I am always amazed when I walk back into a client’s home and they have moved nothing, literally everything stays in the exact spot we put it. That makes me proud of what we were able to achieve and that they love the space that much.

As you know, we’re big fans of Amberleaf Inc Interior Design. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We like to say we create casual elegant interiors that reflect our clients’ style. Our goal is to work with clients to help them visualize and create their dream home. I have always said it’s not about my esthetic, it’s about what the client wants.

We have been located in Pasadena CA since 2016, Our approach is highly customized and we have a wealth of resources to bring to the table. Including relationships with vendors and suppliers that allow us to create designs that are unique to each client. No two interiors will ever be the same. We specialize in unique one-of-a-kind custom furniture, wall coverings, and window treatments made specifically for our clients.

Good design takes time and we don’t rush it. We take the time to get to know our clients’ wants and needs and incorporate those into the overall scheme allowing room for some big dreams and vintage finds.

We also spend a good deal of time each year traveling to Furniture Markets on both coasts to stay on top of the latest trends and enhancements in the world of Interior Design.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
Just like every Industry Covid brought some big shifts to our world. Up until now Online design was a very small field. Now E-Design, as it’s called, is readily available and we can work with clients near and far remotely on large or small-scale projects. This has opened up so many opportunities to work with people who may not need a whole home of Full-service design, but what the guidance and expertise we can provide, yet the ability to have the satisfaction of DIY.

Additionally, we saw a big shift from some of the more stark, linear designs in furniture to the more soft sophisticated curves and lines of today. Home has become more of a space to rest and relax than ever before and clients are wanting their spaces to reflect health and wellness, and COLOR is back which I just love.

The use of AI is now more prevalent than ever, being used to help people visualize items in their space long before buying thems.

We look forward to changes and new products in the industry that keep things fresh and on the cutting edge.


  • 2 Hour Consultation $400

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Image Credits
Photo of Michelle A Blemel- Hyunju Blemel Photographer All other images Property of Michelle A Blemel

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1 Comment

  1. Jean

    July 3, 2022 at 20:30

    Fantastic story. I never realised how much went into making a house a beautiful home.

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