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Meet the Designer, Michelle!

If you read our About page, then you probably know a little about me and if you haven’t, you can catch it here.

Today, we’re going to go a little more in depth—the personal, the fun, the design side, everything!

Hi all, I’m Michelle Vazquez—founder and lead designer at Studio Elle Marie. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and come from Cuban descent but I’m a country girl at heart—give me all the country music and concerts, the Jeep, line dancing, or anything outdoors and I’m one happy gal! I currently live in South Florida with my sister and golden retriever, Bennie!

One of my all-time favorite things to do is travel! My goal is to visit 30 countries before 30, I'll keep you all updated on that one.

Growing up, my dad was a milk-man (yes, they still exist!) and my mom a Realtor. Both independent employees, my dad running his own route and my mom running her own business. Naturally, I always knew I wanted to run my own business too! I spent many, many days running around showing properties all over South Florida with my mom and sister. I soon began re-designing each home in my head. And it wasn’t just paint colors and furniture layouts, I mean I was knocking down walls and re-designing kitchens in my head.

At the age of 12, I remember begging (yes, literally kicking and screaming) my parents to buy me a 3D architecture computer program. They gave in and I spent my free time designing my future dream house—I had two. One was a round house with floor to ceiling windows and the kitchen right in the center as the "heart" of the home and the second was two individual houses (one for the “kids” and one for the “adults”) attached by a long, beautiful hallway. I think at this point it was pretty obvious I wanted to study something in the architecture/ design field.

Fast forward 6 years later to me graduating high school and enrolled into an Accelerated Master’s of Interior Architecture Program at Florida International University. I had NO idea what I was doing, on the first day they asked us to draw a picture of a house and this is what I drew…

Looks like a kindergartener drew it, I know. Things only went up from there! I learned to draw, or more so learned that it didn’t need to be a work of art, it just needed to visually get my point across. While I was studying for my masters, I got my Real Estate Sales-Associate license and began to work Real Estate with my mom as a little side job.

During my masters, I made some amazing friends who I got the opportunity to study Yacht Design (and travel) abroad in Italy with. (If you have the opportunity to study abroad, don't give it a second thought. Go for it! It was definitely one of my favorite memories and an experience that I hold dearly.)

After graduation, I took a little summer break before I would have to get a full-time job and gain experience—I really wanted to skip to the part where I had my own design studio but we all have to start somewhere. I worked at a high-end architecture firm in Coral Gables designing a mixed-use project in the Caribbean for about 2 and a half years. In the back of my head, I always knew residential design was my passion so after many, many months of wanting to take the leap of faith to quit and open my own studio, I finally did it and Studio Elle Marie was born!

I'm so thankful you're here!

xo - Michelle


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