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Renovate & Refine with Michael Strauss

Translating Theatrical Set Production into a Career in Interior Design

The average person might not connect the dots to find similarities between producing sets for stage plays with crafting interior spaces, but Michael Strauss successfully made the transition. The end goal first starts as a concept in his head, and he finds it rewarding to see the process through to the final conclusion. It’s an evolution, knowing the first conception or rendition changes throughout until reaching the final result.

At the age of 26, Michael transitioned from designing sets on stage into interior design. For the eleven years following his move to North Carolina in 2008, he and his family have worked in designing interior spaces. His goal always centers around creating a memorable experience, and watching as the thoughts in his head take shape in reality excites him.

To Michael, it’s all about the journey along the way, and he communicates to his clients about design being a process, an evolution. His experience with set design affords him a unique perspective from other designers, thinking of more original, more creative concepts. The theatre world includes producers and directors; in the interior design industry, they’re called designers and clients. But in both settings, the elements create a visual script.

Deciding to pursue a more meaningful and personal application for his talents, Michael transitioned from theatrical set design to interior design. He loves the ability to experience fulfillment through developing personal relationships with clients and other designers. Design is itself creative, and creativity inspires the ongoing flow of creativity, the ability to make something beautiful from a void.

Design Haüs works with both clients and local and national designers who need furnishings procurement. Moving from set design to private consulting, he sets himself and his business model apart by the inclusivity aspect of the retail space. When he began, Michael spent time sourcing products and materials from multiple different vendors which was inefficient. His brick-and-mortar store in Clayton offers quality furnishings at a variety of price-points. There, clients will see everything from rugs to furniture, lighting, upholstery, kitchens and baths, and even remodeling. This streamlines their buying and ordering processes.

Clients who gravitate toward Michael and his team include both individuals and both local and national industry professionals, those with an openness to new ideas and who value a premium-level experience combined with quality construction. But he takes the time to listen and determine the right product for the right space, believing his role is not to change who people are but that “design says who the client is, revealing the best representation of them and their home.”

Although his personal style tends toward a soft-modern vibe, a transitional grey area between contemporary and traditional, Michael thrives on original solutions outside of what the client would consider, as well as those projects which include a physical transformation aspect of changing architectural lines to open up the space. Deeply passionate about the process, he most enjoys the design and development phase, where parts and pieces come together. 

For the upscale consumer, Design Haüs is a locally-owned small business which offers an alternative to shopping at big-box retailers or high-priced name brands which may or may not last, in addition to individualized customer service and a personable experience – all while making design and the design process accessible to all.

For both clients and designers, Michael Strauss offers a curated selection of materials and renovation services in his store, making the process efficient, accessible, and enjoyable. Through his understanding of design and innovative design solutions, he transforms spaces to suit clients' tastes and needs. 

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