Leesburg resident with a flair for interior design
WRITTEN BY KAREN GRAHAM
This article was originally published in the Loudoun Times-Mirror, April 2021.
Leesburg resident Michelle Troxell says she has always had an eye for interior design. When she moved to Virginia 14 years ago, she hired an interior designer to help set up her home.
Through that process, she realized her passion for designing homes interested her so much that she launched a firm, called Grace Thomas Designs, named after her children.
Troxell said she tends to follow a transitional style of decorating, preferring to not follow trends, but rather instead looking to study design ideas.
“We do transitional design that we want to be timeless for our clients,” Troxell said. “I go to High Point Furniture Market in North Carolina twice a year. We obviously haven’t been for a year, but you notice the trends for sure while you are there.”
“There is a focus on comfortable, large, cozy sectionals and organic materials, as home has become a sanctuary and workplace while we are in a pandemic,” she said.
Inspiration comes in many ways for Troxell — mostly when she travels or searches for other designers on Instagram. Two years ago, she was in Italy where she fell in love with the fabric wall coverings and other style elements she discovered. However, most important, she said, is helping families create a sanctuary in their home.
In Loudoun County, Troxell said she enjoys shopping and finds inspiration at 27 South Interiors in Leesburg and Lucketts Store in Lucketts.
“At 27 South, Carolyn, the owner, does a great job bringing in unique products, versus the big box stores which our firm never uses,” she said, adding that the Lucketts Store is a great place to find treasures. “We renovated and designed an entire home in Leesburg for a year, an equestrian property, and sourced a lot of fun accessories from Lucketts Store,” she said.
If she had to pick a favorite room to design, Troxell says she actually has two favorite rooms — kitchens and family rooms.
She said she has recently been designing many kitchen and family room renovations, which she says often changes the way a family lives in their home.
Part of a family room design includes using cozy custom sectional sofas and chairs to help create a warm family atmosphere, she said.
In fact, she recently renovated her own family room using a bold, black wall that she designed to create a “wow statement” wall. She also added a large sectional in a bisque color with a performance fabric and two chairs in a black print that flank a large window that looks out to her backyard with the window framing painted in black.
“It sounds scary but it looks beautiful,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of black.”
For people considering hiring a designer or making changes to their home, Troxell recommends having a plan to avoid costly mistakes. She also suggests using performance fabrics which are easier to clean, water resistant and fade-and-abrasion resistant to avoid stains from pets and spills.
“And only purchase what you absolutely love,” she said. “Design is an investment.”
For more information, visit gracethomasdesigns.com.