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Michelle Nussbaumer Creates a Dreamy Turkish Writer’s Lair for Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas

Envision the Wanderlust of a 19th-Century English Traveler

photography Stephen Karlisch

Overview of the Writer’s Lair

For this Turkish writer’s lair, I was inspired by a 19th-century English traveler who lived many moons in Turkey and Morocco. This intrepid gentleman brought his dreams back and created a private worldly oasis where cultures collide, just like the Bosphorus. I used my fabrics and trims with Clarence House, Wendover artwork, my custom Bodrum daybed, accessories from Ceylon et Cie, and my new Paul Montgomery wallpaper to create this exotic lair. — Michelle Nussbaumer


Michelle Nussbaumer on the design process, collaborations, and insider sources:


I had such fun working on the details. I wanted the room to be transportive to another space and time. Using my Paul Montgomery wallpaper line and my Clarence House textile line, the room came alive. The embroidered fabric Fez on the French slipper chairs and my Lazo trim were just some of the details that brought to life this magic carpet ride.


It was exciting to see my first Paul Montgomery wallpaper come to life. Working with Paul has been both educational and fun. We started with my travel photos from Morocco and the Middle East, and together we mapped out the Eznik tile design. I have a future line coming out with Wendover Art Group, created from renderings we did of courtyards and spaces that I have seen throughout Morocco and Egypt. I also worked closely with Addison Weeks, and we created my second collection by utilizing pieces developed for my Kips Bay room; all of the hardware you see in the space is the end result of that collaboration. I also added Karl Springer Porcupine Quill mirrors and Hudson Valley Star of the East lighting from David Sutherland. Of course, Clarence House fabrics anchor my room. It’s always great to work closely with partners who help you develop the look. Design really takes a village.

The Laren custom closets from The Container Store were built-in, floor-to-ceiling, and are gorgeous in a chestnut finish with LED lighting, a pull-out mirror, glass fronts, and drawers and doors with Shaker fronts — in other words, the kind of closets people dream of.

A favorite piece in your room

The Syrian mother-of-pearl-inlay desk in the writer’s alcove. I purchased it in Paris, and it arrived just in time for restoration. Due to the state of the world today, it’s difficult for me to find these fine Syrian antiques now. I remember I was so excited when I saw it sitting in the Paris flea market. It’s the perfect show piece for this wanderlust-ful room.


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Secret sources

Leo at Cambria did the countertops and he did such a perfect job. Working with them was exceptional. The best thing about a show house is meeting and finding new contractors and vendors. Benjamin Moore and their team were a delight to work with, as usual. The contractor that I have worked with for many years, GreenTech Builder, was instrumental in pulling the space together. Robert and his team overcame any obstacle we encountered. Everyone was generous in sharing sources, and it felt like one big design camp.

Biggest challenge creating your space

I was quite disappointed when I got my room assignment. I was hoping for a larger and more grand space, where my type of design normally shines the most. However, in the end, I am so pleased. Working within the confines of an architecturally insignificant room, I was able to create something very special. I opened up a wall, took out a closet, and turned it into a writer’s nook with Moorish architectural detail. Sometimes I feel that working within a restricted environment brings out one’s creativity. In the end, this was the perfect space. More is more.

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