Living with Color

Whether it’s an 808-square-foot cottage or 2,600-square-foot coffee house, Michelle Lee Designs in Johnston infuses spaces with panache


“I’ve been called ‘the queen of color’” says Michelle Parenteau with an infectious smile. The established abstract painter and founder and lead designer/principal of Michelle Lee Designs, infuses a shot of pigment into everything she does, and with the confident eye of an artist. In nearly 20 years in interior design, Parenteau has built a solid reputation for transforming non-descript spaces – both structurally and cosmetically, residential and commercial – with a mission of using local talent and resources. 

Trademarks of Parenteau’s style are a strong pull toward a coastal colorway of blues paired with natural textures, and always something unexpected to add a bit of sparkle. “I can adapt to any taste, any budget, and I'm available to work nationwide,” says Johnston-based Parenteau, who before heading to California for recent work, completed renovating a tiny lakeside cottage, working with the owner’s existing furniture.

Another artistic trait brought into Parenteau’s work is an efficient use of light and space. This is demonstrated in a West Greenwich home where an overlooked closet was rethought into a mudroom. “It was a non-functional coat closet,” says the designer. “Now with a bench, storage all around, hooks and nooks, it’s probably one of the most used spots in the house.” 

When it comes to lighting, Parenteau treats fixtures like jewelry – often making unexpected choices with striking features like metallic hardware, artisanal textures, and coordinating – not matching – hues.

Parenteau’s penchant for color and shine paired with texture is also on display at a host of dining establishments – both new-construction and old. For Drip Coffee House in East Greenwich, she prescribed a mix of deep blue and luxe fabric for the 2,600-square-foot cafe. When The Mews Tavern in Wakefield needed sprucing up, Parenteau was called in “to create a more female-friendly atmosphere but not lose the male clientele and give it a more upscale cocktail lounge feel on one end of the restaurant and an industrial rustic ocean vibe on the other.” 

“I've developed strong relationships with the top vendors which makes them prioritize my clients,” says Parenteau. “I believe in building strong relationships and using the highest quality of materials"

Learn more about Michelle's work and services here.


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