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Eye on Design: A Conversation with Renowned Interior Designer Michael Cox

Updated: Mar 9

A leader in NYC interiors, Michael Cox—co-founder of Foley & Cox Design—has environed the design for premier residences in the city, as well as the Hamptons, Connecticut, Europe, the Caribbean, and beyond.

Rather than ascribing to a specific style or trend, the designers at Foley & Cox are known for their bespoke approach, taking creative cues from clients through the firm’s lens of comfort and luxury.

"Interestingly, the opposite of a defined aesthetic has been fundamental to the work of our firm. Each client, each location, each architectural style is carefully considered and incorporated into our design development – therefore rendering each project distinct and bespoke. While we have defined processes and systems to manage the myriad of evolving elements and specifications to keep a project on schedule and on budget, we allow the individuality of each client to influence the design aesthetics – so that every interior is a unique reflection of the homeowner." --- Michael Cox

In a recent sit-down with Brown Harris Stevens Agent Suzanne Werson, Cox discussed how he and his firm navigate Manhattan renovations, his approach to work, and more.

When doing an extensive renovation, what do you find to be the most common unwanted surprise that will hold things up?

In Manhattan, the process of building board approvals and Department of Buildings (DOB) approvals can seem quite daunting.

Enlisting the expertise of a professional architect and contractor to collaborate with the interior design firm clarifies and streamlines the process and establishes a realistic timeline.

In which stage of the project do you start thinking about color, and what color palette would you like to incorporate most this year?

Color is a core characteristic of personal preferences and perspective, so we begin having conversations about ideal palettes very early in design development. Color-of-the-year and other paint promotions steer the unsuspecting toward “trendy”—the very opposite of what we strive to achieve in timeless design. We guide clients toward a deeper understanding of how color evokes mood, atmosphere, and emotion.

What personal elements of the homeowner do you incorporate into your planning, so they ultimately feel at home?

Treasured heirlooms, family photos, and sentimental gifts are often elements we carry with us as part of our life experience. These talismans of cherished memories are thoughtfully curated into our interiors and immediately spark joy and evoke a true feeling of “home,” even in a newly constructed or renovated space.

What element of change makes the most impact when one is tired of their present surroundings but can’t face an entire renovation?

My most basic, cost-free suggestion has surprised many: Empty the room. See the space as a blank canvas. Experience the room clear of clutter and decorative distraction. Invest time in morning light and dusk. Allow your imagination and instinct to guide you toward defining how you want the space to feel as well as function. This simple exercise can have incredibly impactful results!

Tell us about your book, the process behind it, and how it came to be. How many book signings you will have and where?

Our first book, "Language of Home," is a celebration of client, architect, vendor, and artisan relationships cultivated throughout our first 20 years of creative collaboration. The title reflects the importance of dialogue and acknowledges that thoughtful communication is the cornerstone of our creative process. It’s an honor to have our book published by Monacelli and we’re especially proud of the generous introduction written by Pamela Jaccarino, Editor in Chief of LUXE Interiors + Design. We’re very excited about our first book signing at Rizzoli on March 21st and are planning additional events in Los Angeles, Boston, Greenwich, Atlanta, and our own store, foley&cox HOME in Hudson this June.

Suzanne Werson is a licensed real estate agent in both New York City and South Florida. Click here to connect with Suzanne and view her listings.

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