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  • Writer's pictureHannah Sloan

Good Humans Good Design: Meet Senior Designer Michelle Buster

This week's Q + A is with Michelle Buster, Unscripted rockstar since February of 2013 and Senior Designer for our Colorado Model Design Studio. We have loved watching her grow as a designer over the past 10 years and are so grateful to have such a spunky and talented designer on our team! We recently asked her to share her perspective on design, life, and of course, being a good human.

Unscripted Michelle Buster design for Toll Brothers Desert Color Community St. George, Utah
Senior Designer Michelle Buster's design for Toll Brothers' Desert Color Community in St. George, Utah

All Things Unscripted

Q: Tell us about your role in the company. What does a day in the life look like?

A: My role in the company is Senior Interior Designer for our Colorado Model Studio. I started as a design assistant over 10 years ago and have had a blast growing my career along with the company. My day is usually never the same. Some days I’m traveling, other days I’m designing, and some days I’m shopping! My favorite days are when I get to pull art for a project.

Q: What does being a good human mean to you?

A: Leaving the room, person, place, or experience better than you found it. If you can leave a room making someone’s day just a little bit brighter, it’s always a win. I try to have patience and empathy with others because I have learned that sometimes the people who are the kindest are the people with the least to give except love, kindness, and respect.

"Leaving the room, person, or place better than you found it."

Q: How have you evolved as a designer since working at Unscripted?

A: Confidence. I was so unsure of myself when I first started. My team and director Wendy Welsh have really taught me so much, and we are always pushing each other and supporting one another with new ideas.


Q: What is your favorite type of room to design and why?

A: This is a hard one. I can’t think of a room I don’t like to design but maybe let’s go with a Great Room. I like to have fun with layouts and different ways to create intimate moments while still being open for large scale gatherings. Furniture is so fun to play with—that the room could be anything…there are no rules!

Q: How and where does your design process start? Is there anything special to your personal creative process?

A: I have a huge gallery of inspiration on my phone and social platforms that I look through every week. If I see something from another designer or artist or fabric I instantly screenshot it and save it for future projects.

"I like to try and build designs around art, ceramics, or even a feeling that I get from places I visit."

Q: How would you describe your personal interior style?

A: Ever-changing! If you could mix the houses of Kelly Wearstler, Kim Kardashian and Athena Calderone, that’s exactly what I would want. Minimal, funky, out of the box but timeless and classic.

Q: If you could design a celebrity home, whose would it be and why?

A: If I could design a celebrity home, I would choose to design the home of Olivier Rousteing. Because he is the Creative Director for Balmain, bridging the gap between interior design and fashion would be so cool, and I feel like I could learn a wealth of knowledge by looking at interiors through the eyes of fashion.

Q: If you could buy one piece of furniture or artwork right now (with an unlimited budget) what would it be?

A: The list is long to be honest. I view lighting as the jewelry of the home and jewelry is something I like to invest in. I’ve always loved the Horsehair Sconce from Apparatus. Two of those flanking large-scale artwork in my entry would be gorgeous!

Horesehair sconces from Apparatus
Palomino Horsehair Sconces from Apparatus


Q: What artists, makers, or interior designers inspire you and why?

A: DISC Interiors & Clements Design are some of my long-time favorites. They both have a way of creating understated elegance and everything they both touch is perfection. William Mclure is a hoot to follow and get inspiration from. He is an artist and interior designer that has a dgaf (translation: don't give a f***) attitude. He creates anything and everything with the most unexpected materials, which really speaks to someone like myself who loves a good look for less.

Disc Interiors
Inspiration by Disc Interiors

Q: Outside of work, what are some of your favorite passions or hobbies?

A: I love to travel and paint. There is nothing more inspiring, humbling, or exciting than traveling to other countries and understanding the world a little bit better. I definitely love material things, but I would prefer to fill my life with memories if I had my ultimate dream.

Q: Tell us about a favorite trip or a favorite place you've been?

A: I haven’t been many places, but Italy is my absolute favorite. It’s my dream to live there but I love my family too much. However, my favorite trip was to Thailand with my husband before we had kids. We got the city life and beach life. Chiang Mai was life changing.

Michelle Buster with elephants at the Chiang Mai sanctuary in Thailand
Michelle feeding elephants at the Chiang Mai sanctuary on her trip to Thailand

Q: Where do you find your biggest inspiration?

A: Usually from places or homes I’ve seen that I can’t stop thinking about. There's a reason they stick with you, and if you could pull inspiration from that to create a home that inspires someone else that way… that’s the ultimate gift. A big part of that is my brother and his wife’s design firm, Cicada Co.

Q: How does interior design intertwine with your personal life? Are there any interesting design elements in your personal home you want to share?

A: It’s literally on my mind 99% of the time. Design is all I think about—and how can I turn my builder-standard home into a one-of-a-kind oasis for my family and me. I think about things I want to do in my own home and put those ideas into projects so I can see them come to life. Luckily, my husband can build anything, and he is always up for a project, so I am very lucky that design ideas become reality in my home with only a little sweat equity. Our fireplace was the worst and I hated looking at it every day, so I came up with a design that I knew was budget-friendly, showed my husband, and we recently finished taking it up two-story. With a little hard work, I’m finally in love with my fireplace! Pictured below: before, during, and after Michelle's project

Q: Tell us about any upcoming projects you are excited about + describe the design direction!

A: I am so excited about Highrock at Ascension in Las Vegas. I think it’s going to be over-the-top amazing. Toll Brothers is willing to work with us to create some design elements that neither of us have done before. We have a boulder as a piece of furniture in the foyer that they are building the house around. The boulder is going in before they technically start building. It’s going to be amazing. I cannot wait to see if come to life. I put so much of my heart into the project.


Thanks so much, Michelle for spending some time with us! Want more? Follow our blog to keep up with good humans, good design and get to know our Unscripted Rockstars!


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