Michael Payne

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HE SAID, SHE SAID..

He wants funky modern. She’s more French country Martha. She hates his Lichtenstein and he can’t stand her Lladros. Arguments ensue. Is this mismatched couple destined for divorce? Enter the Doctor of Style: Michael Payne.

Neither therapist nor divorce lawyer, this LA designer with an eye for beauty and an ear for listening has a knack for sorting through couples’ most difficult design dilemmas. His therapeutic artistry is showcased on the hit HGTV series he hosts, Designing for the Sexes.

Similar to an artist on commission, Michael uses his talents to create the house of his clients’ dreams.“The most important part is listening,” he says.“Then I can create a balance between what each spouse is looking for.”

But listening is only part of his work.“We still need to create a space that is both beautiful and comfortable,” Michael asserts. He tries to maintain a casually elegant tone throughout his work, harmonizing his renovations with a respect for what came before.“I allow the structure and feel of the house to guide me,” he states. From there he blends each spouse’s hopes with his extensive knowledge and keen artistic eye.

Of course, even Michael has his limits. “Someone requested some really outrageous polka dot thing,” he says.“Here my job is an aesthetic filter. I acknowledge their idea, call it imaginative rather than abhorrent and figure out what they are after. Maybe instead of a bizarre color combination I can get interest in one bold color.”

Michael says that bold colors are actually one of the hottest trends in design today, explaining that interior design trends are often circular. “The fifties and sixties are back. The playful style uses vivid color and curved lines.Think shagadellic,” he says. Even though the approach is retro, it still has an innovative feel. “It’s entirely different from everything we’ve been working with for the last 30 years…it feels very fresh,” he reassures.

In his latest project, the massively popular designer is designing furniture for the masses. He has created a stylish collection comprised of four different looks that are all easy on the eyes and checkbook. All were designed to appeal to both men and women and, needless to say, there’s not a polka dot in sight. 

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