Acclaimed artist Sam Michelle has a knack for creating harmony with a carefully chosen colour palette.
Celebrated for her still life paintings of seasonal floral arrangements, handmade ceramics and textiles, Sam is renowned for playing with colour and texture to striking effect — and her bedroom is no different.
Born in New Zealand, before moving to Melbourne in 2001, Sam and her family (husband, Darren, and sons Carter and Jasper) now reside in Blind Blight — a tiny coastal town 55 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, where Sam also works from a sunny home studio surrounded by nature.
Having just completed her latest collection ‘Blink’, which tells the story of the shift in raising her sons into independent young men, Sam’s night time rituals have been essential to helping her unwind.
Sam Michelle with a piece from her latest collection ‘blink’. Photographed by Suzi Appel
What does your average day consist of?
An average day for me starts with my husband bringing me a coffee in bed. Once that hits the system it’s a mad rush to get kids out of the shower, breakfasts made, lunches packed and making it to the school bus on time. Once the chaos is over, I head to the gym for my daily CrossFit session, then home, shower and straight into the studio where I can have my wonderful ‘Sam time’ (accompanied by my American bulldog, Dirk). That’s where I’ll spend the rest of the day until the whirlwind of everyone returning home. Then it’s usually family time, sports practice, dinner and bed before it starts all over again.
What is your relationship like with sleep?
I love my sleep! I like to keep to a routine of being in bed by 10pm and up by 6am. It doesn’t take me long to fall asleep at night and then I sleep right through. Painting for me is quite physical and can use a great deal of energy throughout the day, so heading to the restful sanctuary of my bedroom is something I look forward to.
Sam’s bedroom plays with colour and texture to striking effect with our Fenwick bed head creating a beautiful resting point for the eye among her wall art
How have you made your bedroom your personal sanctuary?
I have styled our bedroom with relaxation in mind. Being an artist, I am very interested in colour and colour harmony. I enjoy blue and how it can help to induce feelings of calm; therefore my colour choices have been based around blue together with the tones you would find in a New Zealand landscape such as lush greens and browns.
I focus on texture variety in my paintings and my bedroom and incorporate a mix of linen and fabrics with pillows and bed linen.
My Heatherly Fenwick bed head and shoe box are custom made in the most divine Luxembourg French linen fabric which anchors the space. It is also so comfy to lean against whilst drinking my morning coffee.
I will always have flowers in my bedroom; either something cut from my garden or something I have brought in from a still life painting I am working on. I have a fondness for landscape paintings and tend to have these hanging in the bedroom to help set a serene mood.
Sam’s bedroom; Our Fenwick bed head in Luxembourg navy linen with coordinating Fenwick shoebox
Do you have any night time rituals?
The two things I look forward to most when winding down for bed is my chai latte and the good night chats I have with my boys. I generally have a book that I’m working through that I’ll read in bed. I like to brain dump before I drift off too, so I will tend to email myself what I want to achieve and tick off the to-do list the following day. If there are painting ideas such as a composition I am thinking about and want to explore further, I will grab my little sketch book from under my bed and get them down on paper.
What’s your take on pets and television in the bedroom?
Our young American bulldog, Dirk, likes to think she is our third child. She will park herself at the end of the bed at 8pm and will reluctantly move after the last person is up in the morning. Dirk loves her sleep like I do.
Darren is a movie and TV buff and enjoys being the curator of what we watch and finding the best programs. We are generally watching something funny as I drift off to sleep, lately it has been the UK comedy show Task Master, which is just brilliant.
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Sam Michelle’s latest collection ‘blink’. Photographed by Suzi Appel