Rachael Ray Home: Exclusive Q&A with Michael Murray

by Star Furniture on March 31, 2017

I have a VERY special treat in store for y’all today! ;P It has to do with Rachael Ray Home and the team behind the creation of such a stunning collection!

We had a wonderful opportunity to interview Michael Murray, renowned designer and General Manager of Rachael Ray Home!

We are so excited to share this interview where we learned a bit more about Murray, his experience as a designer, and working with Rachael on the collection. We also gained some insight on the creation of their first pop-up boutique, Moxie, featuring Rachael Ray Home and a curated selection of fashion, accessories, and décor in Austin, Texas!

Check out the interview below! 🙂

To start off, I would love to get a little background information about you. Where did you study design, and what inspired you to become an interior designer?

I am a self-taught builder, contractor, and designer. I grew up learning about hard work and craftsmanship from my Irish immigrant grandfather, who was a mason by trade. As the sixth of eight kids, I also learned how to make do with what I got – mostly hand-me-downs and items that were never brand-new. I’d rehab, repurpose, and reimagine them. When I was 18, I started building sets for high-end furniture catalog photo shoots. Over the last 30 years, I’ve developed and refined my craft, inspired by the world around me and the works of visionaries like Mies Van der Rohe and Louis Sullivan.

How would you describe your “preferred style”?

The best way to describe my style is “planned eclecticism.” I’ll mix both expensive and inexpensive items (“high/low” as I like to call it), and mix finishes and textures. A space shouldn’t be too uniform, and it shouldn’t break the bank. It should feel natural and hand-selected, with real livability in mind.

Where do you turn to for design inspiration?

The world is my oyster when it comes to inspiration. Looking back at old photos or dated hotels and restaurants, I like to see what has actually lasted. I grew up poor in a big family, everything always had to last a long time and serve multiple purposes. In my designs, I always aim for an enduring physical and aesthetic result.

What’s your favorite part about being an interior designer?

I don’t consider myself an “interior” designer. That’s too narrow! I’m simply a person who loves to build and design all things.

How would you describe the Rachael Ray Home line?

Rachael always says, “You don’t have to be rich to live a rich life,” and we hold fast to that promise. So many pieces in this collection, would fit comfortably in a high-end showroom. But that doesn’t mean we’re the most expensive or the cheapest – just the best value for your dollar. Rachael Ray Home is very much about approachable luxury, because you’re getting the quality fabrics, construction, form, and function for your investment.

What is one of your biggest challenges on your projects?

Time! Time is always our greatest enemy. We have endless creativity but never enough minutes to match. This holds true for the furniture line, and for our first pop-up boutique, Moxie, in Austin. We turned a shell of a building into a gorgeous shopping space in just 72 hours – it was an insta-vention! By the way, thanks Star for providing the furniture for Moxie. It looked amazing!

How is it working with Rachael Ray? What was the day-to-day process like designing this collection?

Working with Rachael is amazing. When you’re with her, you always need a pen and paper to sketch and note fast. Her ideas and thoughts come quickly, and she never forgets a thing! One of the greatest things about working with Rachael, and one that doesn’t get talked about enough, is how much she wants everyone around her to succeed as well. She is constantly challenging me to go further, and always asking how we can improve our pieces for both design and function.  

What’s your favorite piece?

I love all our babies, but the MurRay Bed is one of my favorites. Rachael and I designed it together (the name is a combination of both our last names). Like many of her designs and ideas, it does more than one thing and solves a problem. It’s incredibly unique, and comfortable to boot.

Can you tell me a little bit more what goes on behind decorating this pop-up boutique you launched during SXSW?

The pop-up boutique, Moxie, which I mentioned a bit earlier, was a brand-new endeavor for us. Rachael got inspired to create something that encompassed her love of Austin and her love of fashion. We found an awesome location on South Congress, but the building was a total shell. Someone said to me, “I can’t believe you transformed this space in three days!” My reply was that it took 8 weeks and 3 days, thanks to our incredible team led by Jennifer Murray. It was a girl-power build-out, and I got to do a lot of the fun finish work. We have a dream team!

Are there any new, upcoming projects you’re excited to be working on?

Yes! We never stop moving. This year, we’re entering brand-new categories: youth furniture, casual dining, outdoor furniture, rugs, and accessories. The response to Rachael Ray Home has simply been unbelievable, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in-store next!   

All Moxie shop images are a courtesy of Charles Reagan Hackleman. Michael Murray and Rachael Ray image a courtesy of Diana Parrish Design & Photography.

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