CUSTOM-CREATED LIVING

BY BARRY WALDMAN

The comedian Steven Wright jokes that he has the world’s largest seashell collection, which he keeps on beaches all across the globe. It’s like that for Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill, but with furniture, art, lighting, fabric and so on. Except, as customers who work with them discover, it’s no joke.

Their eponymous gallery and interiors firm, Mitchell Hill, carries all the major brands and represents 39 artists, from abstract painters to industrial sculptors. Even then, if you can’t find what you want for your home or commercial space, they will custom design it. In that way, the universe of design is available to every one of their clients. “We travel a lot to buy for projects,” says Mitchell. “There is literally nothing we can’t source.”

While Hill has deep roots in Texas, the pair is currently based in Charleston, South Carolina. They bring a fresh approach to projects, which is informed by their time in the Southeast and their connections in New York and elsewhere. “We try to give clients something unique that their neighbors would have a hard time getting their hands on,” says Hill.

Clients who work with Mitchell Hill discover their own tastes expressed deliciously in design by people who listen and understand. Mitchell, Hill and their team spend time with their customers to get a sense of their personalities and visit their homes for a peek at their aesthetic sensibilities.

The result is always custom- created living, working and playing spaces that reflect clients’ desires and tastes with a professional touch. It makes itself evident in big ways, like the custom-designed new construction in Frisco built around a clean, Zen environment, featuring a waterfall and neutral colors. And it’s evident in small ways, like the client who eschews bed skirts and square lampshades, and whose final design reflected those quirks.

A 25,000-square-foot home in Austin featured spacious rooms that required scaled-up design elements so that everything wouldn’t get lost in space. Mitchell and Hill employed bold colors and accents, and were commissioned to design and produce more than 50 light fixtures, ranging from petite powder room sconces to 7-foot-wide multitiered chandeliers. With a home of this size it can be tricky to tie everything together and create a story that mirrors the homeowners’ tastes, but the project was lots of fun for the designers and remains among their favorite experiences.

Another challenge was designing two beautiful chandeliers for the trophy room of the same home. They needed to be eye-popping but not take away from the taxidermy, many of which were taken on safaris in Africa. Two massive chandeliers were designed and produced in steel and finished in a color most suitable for the outdoors, green. Eighteen large, clear orbs give off plenty of light and serve as the stars over Africa.

Speaking of lighting design, Mitchell Hill’s lighting and furniture collection for Charleston- based Avrett can be found in showrooms around the country, including in the ID Collection found in the Dallas Design District.

When you engage with Mitchell Hill on a project of any size, you’re enlisting a soupçon of the duo’s own unique style as well, a mix of modern and iconic that Hill calls “twisted traditional.” Their interpretation of a client’s aesthetic can yield something stunning while still remaining consistent with the original style.

Mitchell and Hill, who spearhead the seven-member Mitchell Hill team, brought their artistic sense out of the womb. As a kid, Hill, an SMU attendee with an art degree from the Art Institute in Charleston, imagined furniture layouts in the floor plans found in his mother’s Southern Living magazine. As a young child, Mitchell asked for a sewing machine as a gift so he could produce fabrics.

The result of these two creative forces is unique design drawn from all over and tailored to the unique stylings of the client. For customers who are looking for that, seeking out Mitchell Hill is a must!

Barry Waldman is principal of Big Fly Communications, a PR firm for nonprofits and small businesses.