interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: elephant props

by anne

i’m totally in love with the homes of michele michael (freelance editor and prop stylist behind elephant props) and patrick moore (furniture designer and children’s book author and illustrator). today’s sneak peek gives a great look into their two homes: a brooklyn apartment and maine getaway (more about the two places at the end of the post). despite being two very different places, i love how they both have a similar feel. michele describes her “style” as function is very important, not liking any extra stuff in a room, and responding to strong shapes, patterns and color (color makes her happiest). i’m definitely inspired and hope you are too! click here for additional images. [thanks michele and patrick!]anne

[Maine dining room above: Our lampshade is an inexpensive Pearl River rice paper shade.  The Eames shell chairs are from Modernica.  The eight foot long table was made by Patrick. It has unfinished pine planks with a painted base.  It’s insprired by the  Shaker tables we had seen on a  trip to the Shaker Village in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.  The amazing polka dot and deer painting is by a young artist, Jared DeFrancesco, who we commissioned to make something specifically for the space.   He can be reached at borderofutopia@riseup.net.  ]

[Maine living room] The sofa is from DWR.  The throw pillows are from John Robshaw.  Patrick built the coffeetable and made the wooden casters that it sits on.  It’s very convenient having a rolling coffeetable! The rug is Moroccan.  The print above the teak Danish credenza and the print between the windows are by our friend the artist Eunju Kang.  We found the credenza at the Good Will in Portland, Maine for $30.   The blue striped bowl is by a French potter and is from The Marston House in Wiscasset, Maine..



[Brooklyn living room] I recently traveled to Morocco where I bought the carpet for this room.  The Florence Knoll sofa is covered in a fabric to match two cats we once had.  We thought it was most practical way to hide cat fur!  Now two of our animals match it, and, well, the other two don’t!  The throw pillows are from John Robshaw.  The Moroccan white leather pouf is from John Derian.  The table was acquired in a barter my husband did with the furniture designer Rick Rubin of Harris Rubin.  The lovely color photograph of two peacocks on top of the cabinets is by my friend, the photographer Tara Donne.  The black and white photographs are by the photographer Gilles Peress. Patrick designed the cabinets which run across the entire length of our living room giving us lots of needed storage.  A wonderful local woodworking shop constructed them for us.  The little Victorian parlor chair is covered in a mohair velvet and was a birthday present from my husband many years ago

[Brooklyn living room] That’s our cute kitten, Carl, on the bed.  This is a tiny room.  Attaching the padded headboard (from West Elm) to the wall saves space.  I customized it with Marimekko fabric. Patrick built the two simple box night stands that are also attached to the wall.  The bedding is from John Robshaw. Our very talented niece, Renee Staeck, painted Agnes the cat. The print on the other wall is by H.C. Westerman. I purchased the vintage orange lamp on ebay.


The vintage white porcelain elephant was our mascot at Elephant Props until I decided he should live in Maine.  I bought the tiny vintage white porcelain bear because I just couldn’t help myself.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the sneak peek after the jump!


We couldn’t believe our good luck at the Good Will! The Moroccan silver tray is from John Derian. The blue striped bowl is by a French potter and is from The Marston House in Wiscasset, Maine..


We sit out here in the morning, drink our coffee, and watch the birds come to the feeder.  I painted the Adirondack chairs bright poppy red.  I like how they pop out in the all green environment of our woods.

more on the two places:

Our apartment in Brooklyn is along the waterfront close to Red Hook.  We live there with our dog Jackie, our cat Bea, and two new kittens, Carl and Cricket, who we  found as strays on a recent trip to North Carolina.  We are a little crazy about animals, hence the name for our business!  Our apartment is built on top of an old brick warehouse that is seven stories high, so we get beautiful light all day long.  Our furnishings and art have been collected over a long period of time.  We love to buy (or barter) artwork and furniture from friends and talented people who we have crossed paths with.  It gives greater meaning to our home.

Our Maine home is our great escape from the city.  We are surrounded by farms.  The farm down the road from us has miniature donkeys and sheep, which we, of course, love!  The house was designed by  Theodore + Theodore Architects to look like an old Mill House.  The house is three stories high, tall and narrow, and feels like a tree house.  The interior is very modern and open, with many floor-to-ceiling windows.

p.s. michele is also the author of the 1996  design book called THE NEW APARTMENT BOOK published by Clarkson Potter.

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  • Hi! I used to be a really faithful reader of your blog, but haven’t been able to read it for awhile because none of the images will load. Any idea what’s causing this? Do I need a Flash plug-in to view your site? Thanks in advance as it’s been sad being without your blog!

    • hi celine!

      i’m so sorry to hear this- if it’s been happening for a few months, it’s due to the fact that we moved our images to a separate image server hosted on amazon. our server couldn’t handle the traffic, so we had to buy additional space to host the images, which take up the bulk of our CPU usage.

      that said, it’s usually just a firewall issue- are you viewing from a company computer, or a personal computer? we’re happy to help you figure out how to get around the problem, just shoot me an email at designsponge [at] gmail [dot] com. sorry for the inconvenience!

      grace :)

  • Wow, I love everything about both their homes, especially the windows in the Maine home. Can’t wait to show to my husband because that’s just the sensibility we both have, and elements will be really helpful in our London flat. Thanks – will keep an eye on those two!!

  • Both homes are beautiful…i would have loved to see the city kitchen.
    Also, the kitty is darling:)

  • what size is the paper lantern in your dining room? I’ve been looking for the exact thing here in SF and figure I’ll just order one online from Pearl River. THANK YOU, great pictures. z

  • Beautiful! It’s really impressive how the ultra-talented Patrick and Michele mix it up and create these spaces that reflect their own symbiotic loveliness. And that Buck painting in the dining room! So good to see it at home in the woods. xo

  • I’d be really at peace in either space! And yes — where can I order a crafty husband online?

  • I always love seeing peoples’ pets laying on their fancy furniture. It makes the photos much less posed and much more homey.

  • I also have bright red chairs on my front porch. I just love this person’s home, so envious of all the amazing finds.

  • Hi! Thank you for all the nice comments!

    Zoe, our rice paper shade is 28″ in diameter.

    Karen, you need to contact Eunju thru email to purchase a piece from her. Her work is amazing! Good luck!

  • Love your style and colour choices!
    What colour pink is that in the Maine dining room?
    I want to find a nice mature pink for my studio that isn’t too over powering.

  • Hi Gemma! It does look kind of pink on here. The room is actually painted BM super white!

  • I couldn’t Imagine a Better painting for the Dinning room! the Buck and Dots is just incredible… Jared DeFrancesco is a gifted young Artist..

  • What wonderful homes! I especially love the red chairs on the deck. We have an old church pew on our front porch that is just calling to be red. Could you please tell me what the lovely poppy paint is? Thank you so much!

  • The prints from Eunju Kang are gorgeous. Does anyone know where they might be available for purchase? I didn’t see anything on the artist’s website.

  • Would you tell me the dimensions of the green coffee table that Patrick built? Thanks and love your home!