Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-07-22
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



By design, accomplished interior designer Anthony Michael
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

After a few minutes with out gay interior designer Anthony Michael, it's apparent that he does his own thing—with no apologies.

Outspoken to the point to being ( charmingly ) boisterous, Michael was candid about a whole host of topics during a recent talk with Windy City TImes. However, being unafraid to offer his opinion is key to being successful in his field—and Michael's attitude and talent have helped him reach the top of the interior-designer heap for decades. ( In fact, the business has acquired so much business that it has moved to a larger space, at 2501 W. Washington Blvd.—and Michael had several prerequisites for the new space, including being close to arteries and "having no squeaky floors." )

As another aspect of the uniqueness of his award-winning firm ( and his boat-chartering business ), Michael is even offering the opportunity to ride on his black yacht, the H.R.H. Lola, named after his beloved dog. ( Check the website listed below for details. )

Windy City Times: When did you know what you wanted to do?

Anthony Michael: When I was 6 years old. My mom always had something going on in the house, so they'd be decorating magazines around or paint samples or fabric swatches. One of the things I was always enamored with was all the colors in the paint stores—they would be like my candy stores. I would play with those for hours. My porn was basically Better Homes & Gardens.

My earliest memories are of those Broyhill [furniture] ads and The Price is Right: "And this, too, could be yours on The Price Is Right!" I wanted the picture-perfect house more than anything. Living in the western suburbs, I kept wondering, "Why couldn't we be this family?," and I learned that other families had furniture you could sit on. So now I've been in this business for 35 years.

The minute I was able to get out, I did. I've always been out and proud, by the way.

WCT: How grueling is this business?

AM: It can be very tough. People can look at you with jealousy—but I break my ass every day. I work 12-14 hours a day, and the stress. The obligation, the clients—I have to bring in $200,000 a month just to stay afloat. I'm not complaining at all. I do have some trappings, but I deserve them; this job is not glamorous. You do what you have to do; that's just the way it is.

WCT: You list your approach on your website as "concrete to sheets." Tell me more about that.

AM: I try to be aware of is the entire project. We can focus on furnishings and interior, but I don't ignore the architecture. I notice all the little details as well: the way a faucet feels, for example. Architects sometimes focus more on the functionality and the flow of space. Designers sometimes emphasize aesthetics more. I try to be aware of all facets, especially when children or older people are involved. We have third-generation clients, which doesn't happen too often.

I'm not offering [random things] to people or bullshitting them. I tell them what's going to hang beautifully, for example, or the best sofa material if children are going to be around with popsicles.

We do what's called a "Cinderella installation." A lot of designers go out with their clients and go shopping with them. I've learned that the client is hiring us to lead; they don't want us to give them a multitude of options—they want solutions. If I don't know how to read a client at this point, something's wrong.

I feel I have this down to a science. The first presentation is a general one in which I show the overall mood, tone and flavor are. I'll show them a sample color scheme and furniture arrangement. If they're good with all that, the next presentation is when all the selections are made, including artwork, bedding—everything. We do a virtual-reality rendering, so you feel like you're there. The next meeting is the budget; we go over everything line by line. A lot of designers don't do these things; they give the client several choices.

The next stage involves ordering items and warehousing them. The labor takes place—things like painting and electrical—and things are prepared. Then the installation of items takes place

WCT: How long does a typical project take?

AM: Different projects take different amounts of time. One that we're working on has a lot of customized items started in January. [The interview was in late July.] Another project we started in May—and I love these Art Deco chairs I've purchased. I try to save money where I can, but other times I have to buy something, incorporating the client's personalities. We're a client-driven firm, as opposed to an ego-driven one; I live vicariously through each client.

WCT: How has your style changed over the years?

AM: Oh, I've evolved. It's much more mature and sophisticated, and I'm always learning. I'm surrounded by younger people so that I get new ideas from them. I still sketch, however, so I'm old-school that way.

For my master's thesis, I drew the entire Notre Dame from memory. I have an incredible memory—but I have trouble with left and right. My staff knows not to argue with me, but I'll bring up things from the past. [Laughs] People are, like, "You're weird."

WCT: What are the most rewarding and frustrating parts of your job?

AM: The answer is the same for both: the clients. I had a client who called me at 7 a.m. to tell me that she loved her home. The rewarding part is when clients see the transformation and appreciate what we've done—and knowing I've made a difference. Most of my clients I'm with for life, so they become a part of my life.

The frustrating part is when a client, for example, wants a chair that I originally suggested, but they said no; give me some latitude. Then, there are people who take the budget apart bit by bit. Then there's my favorite line: "Did you know it was going to look this good?" I always say, "No." [Interviewer laughs.]

WCT: They never threaten to take their business?

AM: They know how good I am. They say, "You've thought of every detail." I've done 1,150 homes—I should know what to do by now.

WCT: What won't you do?

AM: I won't deal with people who are micromanagers. I won't deal with liars. I won't deal with people who try to misuse me or my staff. I won't deal with people who are cheap—as opposed to people who are frugal. Every once in a while, I can't connect with a space or the client. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but we have a lot of business—30 to 35 projects right now, which is unheard of.

WCT: What would you advise up-and-coming designers?

AM: You have to be a Teflon-coated individual. You've gotta be a bitch—really. This is a cutthroat business—and you're only as good as your last project.

See .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

About Face Theatre names new associate artistic director 2020-07-29 - About Face Theatre (AFT) welcomes Mikael Burke to its staff in the role of associate artistic director to lead AFT's education and new ...

Gay News

Wrightwood 659 showing Doshi exhibit Sept. 9-Dec. 12 2020-07-26 - Local art space Wrightwood 659, 659 W. Wrightwood Ave., will reopen with an exhibition devoted to the work of visionary Indian architect, urbanist ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Bussian focuses on New York's trans community 2020-07-22 - Peter Bussian is a visual artist who continually promotes international themes in his work. He's been published in The New York Times, LA ...

Gay News

New public artworks coming to Chicago Riverwalk 2020-07-22 - CHICAGO, IL — The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ( DCASE ) in collaboration with the Department of Assets, Information and ...

Gay News

MCA reopening July 24 2020-07-16 - The Museum of Contemporary Art ( MCA ) Chicago announced it is planning to reopen to the public Friday, July 24, after several ...

Gay News

Fellowship for local Black theater artists announced 2020-07-16 - The League of Chicago Theatres announced The Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Resident Fellowship, a grant to fund a residency for early to mid-career ...

Gay News

Howard Brown reveals $1M gift to start fund 2020-06-25 - Howard Brown Health announced a $1 million gift from George and Juanita Shapen to establish the Gregory Shapen Public Health Fellowship Endowment Fund. ...

Gay News

Queer artist McKinnon among Foundation leaders 2020-06-24 - Queer artist/advocate Elijah McKinnon is among 11 local individuals The Field Foundation, in partnership with the John D. and =Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, ...

Gay News

LGBTQ artists' installation being moved to Chicago 2020-06-23 - For the closing ceremony of last summer's World Pride in New York City, a work of art celebrating the LGBTQ community was wrapped ...

Gay News

81,000 'Dreamers' identify as LGBT, 39,000 of them have participated in DACA 2020-06-18 - There are an estimated 81,000 LGBT Dreamers in the U.S., including 39,000 who have participated in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( DACA ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.