New England Design Hall of Fame 2016: Michael Carter

Text by Lisa H. Speidel
New England Design Hall of Fame inductees 2016

The 2016 New England Design Hall of Fame Inductees

Interior designer Michael Carter is an interior designer known for his timeless design, and a 2016 inductee into the New England Design Hall of Fame.

New England Design Hall of Fame inductee Michael Carter

Photograph by Bruce Rogovin

“The most important job I have is interpreting rather than imposing,” says Boston-based interior designer Michael Carter. Hence, it’s imperative for him to forge a strong connection with his clients. By the time he’s completed a project, Carter jokes, “I know the location of their lingerie drawer and the behavior of their children.”

Carter got his start two decades ago designing a stunning seven-story Back Bay townhouse. With a traditional background (he pursued museum studies in college) and southern roots (he credits his upbringing with instilling in him an appreciation for gracious living), Carter was familiar with the formal aesthetic the historic property called for: silk curtains, English portraits, and crystal chandeliers.

Though he originally made a name for himself for his deft hand with traditional interiors, and he says a beautiful piece of Chippendale furniture “makes me swoon,” his portfolio is diverse. Carter categorizes his recent work into four genres: “The Escape,” “The New Classic,” “The Artful Mix,” and “The Historic Home.” The first, for example, emphasizes comfort and relaxation, while the last respects the past in a way that is stylish and elegant.

Those broad classifications speak to the stylistic range that homeowners seek out, as well as Carter’s versatility as a designer. “My work is happily rooted in tradition,” he says, “but I’m completely comfortable with a glass penthouse on Madison Avenue. My clients are all individuals with different points of view, and my job is to be their editor.”

While Carter’s projects are varied in nature, one word sums up his aesthetic aim: timeless. “I love it when that word is used,” he says. “Having lasting aesthetic value, as opposed to being trendy—that is very indicative of my work.”

Read here how Michael Carter transformed a home in Boston’s Back Bay for a California couple.

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