Michael Trapp is a well-known interior & garden designer, a dealer in antiques & architectural fragments, and owner of an antiques and garden shop in Connecticut. His highly individual style includes unusual and eclectic pieces which create a timeless style. Years ago, I gave Michael a running stitch blanket for his birthday as I wanted to push aside some of his antique French linens and it seems to have worked. I also met my wife Rachel in his shop which is why I always say Michael's shop is well-stocked and give him 5 star reviews. Enjoy the interview!
A portrait of Michael in Bali.
When did you know what you wanted to do?
I fell into it when I was a chef in Yellow Springs Ohio, I had a junk shop to make extra money and I would do flea markets on the side before moving up to better shows over time. Then people discovered me as an unusual talent; not sure if I was good or bad, but always fascinating.
The interior of Michael's store in West Cornwall, CT.
I did shows all over the country from Miami to Maine to Denver and I would always make interesting displays to ‘hide in’, I am a bit shy. Then people started to ask me to help design their shops, apartments and houses. I would call this phase “my hit and run decorating” - I would rearrange their things to make them look more interesting and leave the key under the mat as I left.
The interior of Michael's West Cornwall home.
I ended up in West Cornwall where I set up shop and started working on my garden. People, through word of mouth, started to ask me to design their gardens. I did study landscape architecture since my parents would not let me take art classes, so I sort of entered the profession through the back door. I suppose that is how I have become who I am.
The garden of Michael's West Cornwall home.
What inspires you now?
MT : I love travel, history, museums, and especially mother nature's wonders, both large and small. Which somewhat explains my philosophy about bringing the outside world into my house.
Michael's garden, continued.
Favorite travel destinations?
MT: Istanbul, Sri Lanka and Roman ruins in Tunisia, at the moment.
Michael shopping in Bali.
Advice for someone starting out?
It’s a lot of work! It has to be a passion and you need to pay attention to the business side as well as the artistic side to make it work. You need this balance and always keep an eye out for opportunities.
The interior of Michael's home.