By Mimi Faucett Trahan | April 29, 2020 | Home & Real Estate
"When people collect what they love it always goes together,” says Dallas interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer. The object of her affection? Textiles. Museum-quality, ancient, embroidered, block-printed and handpainted in yards, remnants, poufs, pillows, blankets and sketches—pieces she’s collected for decades from every corner of the world. And pieces that have come to life in her debut line of fabrics and trims with Clarence House.
Dallas designer and perpetual wanderluster Michelle Nussbaumer
Nussbaumer owns her own design trove, Ceylon et Cie, in the Design District, but when asked how often she’s actually in Texas, she bursts into laughter. Just this year she’s jetted to Tangier, Switzerland, France, London and Mexico, “and don’t forget High Point,” she quips. Naturally, it was over drinks in Paris when the designer was first introduced to the team at Clarence House. “Sometimes when you do a collaboration—of which I’ve done lots—people don’t always want all your ideas. They try to tone it down a little,” she explains. “With Clarence House, they wanted everything I wanted. ‘Whatever crazy color you want—whatever is you,’ they said, ‘That’s why we did this with you.’ It was super liberating.”
On a trip to Guatemala, Nussbaumer fell so in love with an ancient Mayan pattern that she had a version of it painted on a wall in her Mexican hacienda. The pattern was later rendered in Kukulkan linen.
It was a match made in heaven, or in some cases Morocco, India or Mexico—all of which informed her eventual collection of 10 fabrics and 15 trims, which launched in the fall at Paris Déco Off. The color-drenched fabrics tell stories of American crazy quilts Nussbaumer has amassed over the years, archival French handblock prints, silk fragments from an Uzbek coat procured at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, vibrant serapes that fill the designer’s hacienda in Mexico, Mayan corn gods, Moroccan blankets, Indian palampore and more.
In the trims, Nussbaumer called on years spent riding horses, citing Andalusian and Arabic bridlery as inspiration.
The designer’s Joseph’s Coat fabric in Aegean and Fez embroidery in indigo told a colorful story at the Ancien et Moderne showroom during Paris Déco Off.
And though the collection is certainly bold, the designer argues that myriad colorways (creams, soft blues, blacks) let you tone it down—or amp it up!—to match your style preference. Her pick? “It’s so hard,” she says. “There’s this damask that is so beautiful... I love the Kukulkan... the Fez. And I really need the crazy quilt in my life somewhere.” We’ll stay tuned. Culp Associates, Dallas, culpassociates.com; clarencehouse.com; michellenussbaumer.com
Photography by: portrait by Billy Surface; product photos courtesy of
Clarence House; vignette photo by Stephane Kossmann