Where it all Started…
I’ve been designing rooms long before I realized I could do it as a profession. Some twenty years ago when I was fresh out of University with my Commerce degree in hand and living in my first rented home with my girl friends, my bedroom was flawlessly decorated with a beautiful set of matched furniture (I’ve outgrown this tendency), original art filling the walls (on loan from Mom and Dad’s personal gallery), and custom balloon valances on every window (remember those?) I would lie in bed dreaming about what other rooms my housemates would allow to transform.
I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb with paint swatches in hand, but my mom was also a big influence as I was growing up. She always had our many homes decorated so beautifully. My parents were always painting the walls and changing the decor. We moved houses every few years and I’m pretty sure it was just so they would have a new project to work on. My mom sewed the perfect draperies and my dad made lovely custom furniture. And there was always stunning original art on the walls. So I guess I come by my creative talents naturally.
What Business Degree…
In 2005, I busted out of the Corporate world and bought a quaint fabric store that I had loved as a customer for many years. I grew the business significantly over the next 10 years expanding from 1,200 to 8,000 square feet. Growing from a little fabric and bedding store to a full retail Furniture store and Design centre. Did I mention that I bought the store when I was 8 months pregnant with my son? My husband calls me a Stud when he tells that crazy story. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. My kids grew up there, and after 10 years the time was right for a big change.
The Next Chapter…
So in 2015, we closed the retail store and I started Michelle Whaley Design so that I could continue to do what I love, Design. I have worked with hundreds of residential design clients over the years, creating beautiful rooms for many different styles and tastes. I have worked on show homes for Calbridge luxury homes. From the flooring and cabinetry selections, through to the complete design including the furniture, draperies, art and accessories. I am proud to be mostly self taught with a long time passion for design and many amazing mentors in the industry, such as the talented Kelly Hoppen, Kelly Wearstler, Celerie Kemble, and Victoria Hagan.
Designing is pure bliss for me. I am truly blessed to spending my days doing what I most love to do in the world.
My Other Passions…
When I’m not “working” you’ll find me hanging out with my husband Jonathan, and our two beautiful children. As a family we love to bike ride around Calgary in the summers, and ski in the mountains all winter. You can often find me with my Nikon in hand taking the latest photography courses and practicing on my family. I am obsessed with books and am a self help junkie. Give me a bookstore, an hour and a Cappuccino and I am one happy woman. I love music and listen to my playlists all day long, and I love settling in for a good movie. The only caveat, they must be what I call good vibe…totally happy and optimistic. Life’s too short for anything but.
In the Community
I love to volunteer with children. It brings me so much joy watching their smiles when they’re learning something new and when they’re just having pure FUN.
These past few years I have found myself in the role as Guiding Leader with Girl Guides of Canada. Seeing these young girls develop confidence in themselves is what it’s all about.
And for over 20 years I have been a Big Sister. My Little Sister Heather is now 25 and we were matched when she was a wee 8 years old, with big freckles and a beautiful smile. When the Dalai Lama said “The world will be saved by the western woman”, I know in my heart Heather is one of these women. She just graduated from University and will one day be a Supreme Court Judge. She is bright and beautiful in so many ways. A big gentle heart and pure conviction for the Causes for women and children that she’s come to support.
and treat them as if
that’s all you see.
Teaching pottery to kids
And this is where you’ll find me in the Summer. With my family, teaching pottery at the picturesque Camp Dudley in Upstate New York. A camp where my husband spent his summers as a boy with his family. Ahh family traditions!