2Michaels—a Manhattan-based interior design firm run by identical twin sisters Jayne Michaels and Joan Michaels—is known for its spare, timeless, and undecorated style. Between design projects ranging from a Tribeca loft and a beachfront cottage on Martha’s Vineyard, Jayne talked to us about her work, the musicians that filled her childhood home, and realizing a new taste for classical music.
What do you listen to while you work? Right now, I’m listening to the classical radio station WQXR, which recently became listener-supported. I had never been a huge lover of classical music, but I’m drawn to it now. It calms me; even some the broadcasters’ voices have a soothing quality (Midge Woolsey in particular). I’m rediscovering Debussy, Prokofiev, Bach, Beethoven, and even Gershwin.
How do you listen? I listen from a speaker system. I also listen to my iPod quite a bit.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I used to listen to Rhapsody before getting an Apple computer (Rhapsody isn’t compatible with my Mac). Now I occasionally listen to ITunes and Pandora.
Does music influence your work? Music has always been an important part of my life. My aunt was a bass player (upright); my brother, too (electric)—he even built a recording studio in the garage of our house. We’d come home from school and find various musicians sprawled on the furniture, playing their instruments. It was somehow comforting and also inspiring. I loved the creative atmosphere, crackling with possibilities and wonder. It’s carried with me in the choice of my career in the arts. I thrive in a creative atmosphere where ideas flow and boundaries are pushed.
Where do you find music recommendations? I have musician friends who keep me updated. I also follow music blogs and music critics from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Who influences your musical taste? The Brits have been the biggest influence. I grew up listening to The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, The Cure, U2, etc.
What artist best represents the work you create? There’s spontaneity to Radiohead’s music (at least it sounds that way). They’re distinct, unpredictable, and intelligent without being pretentious and hollow.
If your work was a song, what would it be? Lennon/ McCartney’s “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Way to Blue, Nick Drake
Cambodia, Paul Motain
When It Falls, Zero7
Break on Through, The Doors
The Moon and the Sky, Sade
Acknowledgement, John Coltrane
Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles
Ain’t No Use, Nina Simone
Inside a Boy, My Brightest Diamond
Leyenda, Andres Segovia
The Look of Love, Dusty Springfield
Hope Street Tunnel Blues, Bruce Brubaker
The Collector, Charlotte Gainsbourg
I’m Not in Love, 10cc
Concierto de Aranjuez, Miles Davis
Running up the Hill, Kate Bush
Romulus, Sufjan Stevens
Quel Espoir, Beau Soleil
The Very Thought of You, Billie Holiday
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Bob Dylan
Fever, Peggy Lee
Images: Jayne Michaels