Creating Sophisticated & Collected Spaces with Michelle Whitener


Complementary. Guest Curations | PUBLISHED 09.28.21 | Tam Tran
Designer and lifestyle blogger, Michelle Whitener  | BRG

"I have always referred to my style as Traditional with a twist of modern, vintage, and rustic. My design philosophy is to mix and blend the things you love that make your home a reflection of you. It doesn't matter what is on-trend, just that you love it and it reflects your personality."
-- Michelle Whitener, MW Designs

In this week’s edition of Complementary. Guest Curations, we invited interior designer Michelle Whitener, the owner of the lifestyle and design brand MW Designs, based in Northern Virginia, to join us for sourcing items currently available throughout our auctions, as well as share her tips for styling and bidding.

Michelle is a designer known for creating sophisticated and collected spaces with lots of texture. Every room’s design has a unique feel with a blend of old and new items, with traditional and modern aesthetics. You can find daily posts filled with design tips & home inspiration on both Michelle's blog (MW Designs Blog) and Instagram (@mwhitenerdesigns). She was also recently featured in Washingtonian Magazine.

Let’s see Michelle's perspective and curation from current sales....

Mix & Blend Old & New Items

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image courtesy of Michelle Whitener @mwhitenerdesigns

Michelle has always refers to her style as "traditional with a twist of modern, vintage, and rustic." As she explains, "My design philosophy is to mix and blend the things you love that make your home a reflection of you. It doesn't matter what is on-trend, just that you love it and it reflects your personality.”

“My styling tips are to blend old (one-of-a-kind) and new items to give a space its own identity that you will find nowhere else," continues Michelle. "You can add a grouping of antique collections or display that one unique piece to make an excellent conversation piece."

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image courtesy of Michelle Whitener @mwhitenerdesigns

How It All Began

The love for pre-owned, vintage, and antique items was first seeded by Michelle's mother, as she shared through our conversation. "I grew up in a 100-year-old home and my mom's impeccable taste in gorgeous antiques made me appreciate the story behind each item at a very early age. I asked for a hope chest at a very young age and started collecting unique pieces that I loved at the time."

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image courtesy of Michelle Whitener @mwhitenerdesigns

Bidding Tips

Michelle also has the same passion for estate sales and online auctions where she found and purchased one of her absolute favorite items — a set of vintage silver plate pheasant salt & pepper shakers. “I have them sitting on my dining room table and everyone always wants to know the story behind them.”

That is why when asked to share her tips for bidding online to BRG newbies, her response was as simple as, “Know what you are bidding on and be prepared to bid! Especially if you see a one-of-a-kind item that could transform your space and add the character. It may be the thing that is missing.”

Guest Curation

If you love mixing pieces from different eras and bidding in online auctions as much as Michelle does, make sure to check out her favorite pieces curated from our current auction offerings.

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1. Wonderful Signed Oil on Canvas Painting Depicting a Figural, Pasteural Countryside Landscape - As Is (Item #184820)
2. After G. Batta Cecchi (Italian, 18th Century) Hand Colored Engravings (Item #182896)
3. Classic Brass Bouillotte Lamp with Tole Shade (Item #6431)
4. L. Jenkins, Oil on Panel, with Equestrian Scene (Item #182555)
5. Shipley (British, 20th Century) Oil on Canvas, Two Hounds Resting in a Barn (Item #180160)
6. "Wishbone” Chair Designed by Hans Wagner (Item #185720)
7. Gorgeous Traditional Georgian Style Sideboard Cabinet by Beacon Hill (Item #184827)
8. Hand-knotted Indian Oushak Wool Room-sized, 6’1” X 9’0” (Item #184316)

Did you know that BRG's inventory is ever changing? Take a peek at similar items currently available ... works of art such as engravings and oil paintings, fine wool area rugs, sideboards, lamps, and seating.


Brand ambassadors are always welcome.

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Are you interested in becoming a BRG guest curator? Apply here.

You can also share your latest BRG finds on Instagram. We'd love to feature you! Simply tag your photos with:

@blackrockgalleries and #myBRGstyle.

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Creating Sophisticated & Collected Spaces with Michelle Whitener. Black Rock Galleries provides high end estate liquidation services through online estate auctions and a 50,000 sq ft designer showroom. estate liquidator, estate sale, online auction, antiques, fine art, liquidation, clean outs, auction, consignment, interior design, fine jewelry, collectibles, appraisals, estate appraisals, estate services, decor, furniture, furniture consignment, antique center, consignment shop. We offer appraisal services and specialize in fine art, jewelry, antiques and decorative arts. Sell with us. Black Rock Galleries is the tri-state's largest estate liquidator serving New England and the greater New York City area. We are the trusted source for expert appraisals, auction services, estate sales, and consignments. Black Rock Galleries is the east coast's largest and most trusted estate liquidator, with locations in Connecticut, greater Boston, MA and Raleigh, NC, Dallas, Apex, TX. We are the best source for expert appraisals, auction services, estate sales and consignments. We have served thousands of families and estates with compassion, professionalism and expertise. BRG works with attorneys, executors, realtors and families to bring the greatest return on personal and estate property in the current market. Our unique combination of services make us the easy choice to get the job done in a timely and stress-free manner. We are with you from the initial consultation to the final clean out. Our house-built online auction software platform offers clients a dynamic approach to liquidating their personal property. This venue is most successful in bringing the best return with the least amount of disruption for our clients. See our services page for a complete description of this offering. Creating Sophisticated & Collected Spaces with Michelle Whitener
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