Mikel Welch

Mikel Welch

I am so thrilled to have my Morehouse brother, Mikel Welch on the blog today.  You will remember Mikel from the latest season of HGTV Design Star.  Every week he entertained us with his beautiful designs, and fun attitude.  Making it to the final four, Mikel was literally the last man standing in this year’s competition.  I was eager to speak with him about his experience on the show, and his transition from business to design.  Talking to Mikel was just like chatting with an old friend.  We must have talked for over an hour, and I had fun learning about his design philosophy, and what’s next for this designer.

You went from a degree in business from Morehouse to working in the world of set design and prop styling.  How did your work in design and styling come about?
So, honestly this is how it all went down. After college I took a job and was working in marketing. The position just wasn’t working for me. My mother talked to me and said that I needed to find something that I was passionate about in life. She said, when you find that passion it will be somethig you will love to do for free.  I love furniture, and I liked looking through catalogs, and it hit me, you like furniture! I never knew you could make a career of it, but there was a gentleman looking for a design assistant, and I worked under his wing for a year. From there I was able to bring my business degree into my design career in order to build a clientele. I went on Craigslist to advertise my services. My marketing degree really helped me to get started. I would donate my services to special events, like events for the Susan G Komen Foundation and silent auctions, and started to build my portfolio that way.

Mikel Welch Portfolio 2

What was it like trying out for HGTV Design Star? Tell us what the experience was like.
I first applied for Design Star season 2 when I lived in Atlanta. I sent in an audition tape in and nothing happened. This season, a coworker said they were casting for Design Star in a month, and that I should go and audition. I decided I would check it out.  I was nervous, it’s New York, and a big talent pool.  The audition was nerve-wracking.  You only have two minutes with a casting agent. They know within two minutes if they want you to come back or not.  For the second round of auditions they wanted us to come back with an on-air presentation.  And that final round, it was like this is real, this is the real deal. You are in front of HGTV executives, and really have to sell it.

Mikel Welch Portfolio 1

You and Hilari made quite the design team.  What was it like working together?
My favorite challenge was the one that Hilari and I did together.  It was much more fun than what you saw on TV.  I liked that challenge because it was our first homeowner challenge, and you’re really working with someone who is going to live in the space.  For Hilari and I, we had to trust each other’s judgement and work together.  Despite the fact that it was a competition, we were able to come together cohesively and get the job done.  That was my favorite space.  It was livable, functional, and we used a lot of pre-existing pieces in the space.  Hilari and I should have a show together!  We’re like brother and sister.  We have only known each other for six months, but we are great friends. That chemistry that we have is something special.

Mikel Welch Portfolio 4

On the show it was clear that you have a love affair with mid-century modern design. Why mid-century modern?  What are you favorite places for sourcing these modern classics? 
The thing I love about mid-century modern design is the minimalist nature of the pieces. They are going to give you those clean lines. I love the timeless nature of the pieces of that era. You can pair them with more traditional and vintage items. When shopping for mid-century modern pieces, I like to search at vintage shops and Design Within Reach is also one of my favorite go-tos.

Mikel Welch Portfolio 3

Now that Design Star has ended, what’s next for you?  Any new projects?
Soon, you’ll be able to see my work on the The Steve Harvey Show.  I’m living between New York and Chicago right now and am currently the art director for Steve Harvey’s new show which airs next month.   

Good luck to you Mikel in all of your endeavors.  And HGTV, please, please, please consider giving Mikel and Hilari a show together.  They make an amazing team!

{Images furnished by Mikel Welch}

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