Michele Promaulayko

Michele Promaulayko

At Home With is an interview series from Salam Hello where we follow some of our favorite pieces into the homes of your favorite style icons, curators, and creators. Each interview explores what home means and the pieces, people, and practices that bring it all together.  

For nearly two decades, Michele Promaulayko, an editor in New York City who has led world-class media brands such as Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health, found an escape from city life at her tranquil New Jersey beach house. After selling it a few years ago, she had no intention of buying another weekend home.

Michele Promaulayko Portrait
But when a 1975 A-frame in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York came onto the market, she couldn’t resist its allure. “I was drawn to the simple, iconic architecture and how the large, lofted windows let the outdoors in,” says Michele. “It happened to be October—when the fall foliage is at its vibrant peak—so essentially, I was seduced by leaves!”

Michele's A-Frame
That and the enticing idea of having a new renovation and decorating project to dig into. "I’ve always loved interior design— even as a kid, I rearranged my tiny bedroom a hundred different ways,” says Michele, who also helped overhaul an investment property upstate with two friends. “Once I have a vision, I can’t deny the urge to bring it to life.”

How would you describe your home's personal style in five words or less

Curated vintage meets cabincore decor!

Detail of living room

Are there any rituals, routines, or practices that make your space feel like yours?

I’m obsessed with burning incense; I love the ritual of it. Smell is one of our most primordial senses and it’s powerful— scents can shift how you feel physically and emotionally. Frankincense, which I adore, can have a calming effect on the mind, which is probably why it’s been used throughout history to deepen meditation and enhance other spiritual and religious practices.

incense burning
Also, smoke has purification properties — as antithetical as it sounds, some research suggests that the smoke produced from burning certain herbs or resins has antimicrobial properties capable of purifying the air by eliminating bacteria and viruses.

It’s also energetically cleansing. In some cultures, smoke is believed to carry prayers and intentions to the spiritual realm, helping to cleanse spaces and individuals from negative or stagnant energies. Since I sometimes rent my house on Airbnb, I like to cleanse it with a good smudging before I spend time there.

Detail shot of Mid-Atlas Inspired Mountain
My two favorite purveyors of incense happen to be cherished friends. I get the freshest smelling, sustainably sourced Palo Santo, sage (in the form of delicate individual leaves) and frankincense resin from Michelle K. Gagnon, founder of Bio Alchemy Olfactive. And Renee Loux aka Mama Loux makes magnificent resin blends and other burnables that, as she explains, are mystical gifts from the deciduous and coniferous. How beautiful!

Beyond your Salam Hello rug, can you tell us about an item in your home that has a story? 

Another item in my home that is near and dear to me is also from Morocco, in part. It’s a simple piece of artwork that I made by taking brass door knockers (all in the shape of hands) that I bought in the souk in Marrakech back in 2004 and affixing them to the face of an old dresser drawer that was painted a saturated green hue. Every time I look at it I remember that amazing trip.

Moroccan Art Piece
Whether it's a signature color, a certain style of art, or a collection, as your space has come together, have you noticed any fun themes?

The house is a 1975 A-frame and intentionally or not, there is a 70s vibe —lots of vintage pottery, vinyl records from that period and some textiles. It fits the soul of the house, but I’m careful to stop short of making it feel like a time capsule by mixing in modern touches and amenities. 

Aside from that, I like to bring the outdoors in— and there is no better decorator than nature. I wrote an article on foraged decor because it’s such a fun way to bring interest and personality to a space—I have branches, rocks, seed pods and more placed throughout my house. 

M'rirt's Dotted Hand-Knot at home
What is the feeling that you want your home to evoke?

Relaxation—kick your shoes off, pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea and come hang by the fire or stare out the window at some wondrous trees. 

M'rirt Dotted Hand-Knot At Home in Bedroom
What are your go-to shops for home decor?

I like to treasure hunt, so I buy most of what I have at flea markets, architectural salvage yards, online dealers or vintage shows, such as Brimfield. But I’ve also been known to scour Home Good for a worthy find—that can be a treasure hunt too!

M'rirt Mid-Atlas Inspired Hand-Knot
What is one thing in your home that you recommend to everyone?

Potpourri gets a bad rap, but the organic version from Santa Maria Novella— made from Tuscan leaves, roots, blossoms and buds—is natural, subtle and smells incredible. It’s a great housewarming gift.

Thanks so much Michele, your vintage, cabincore A-frame is what dreams are made of! You can follow her on Instagram @michprom. Love her rugs? Get inspired with similar pieces below.

Photographed by Alana Phan.

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