Momo Inspirations - Matt Michel

Published on
August 27, 2022 at 9:00:00 AM PDT August 27, 2022 at 9:00:00 AM PDTth, August 27, 2022 at 9:00:00 AM PDT
In the second instalment of the Momo Inspirations Video Series we talk with Matt Michel from Matt Michel Design who shares with
us some recently completed projects and talks about the importance of choosing good quality finishes to enhance his designs.

Please describe your latest project/s that include Momo Handles?

Potts Point in 2020-21 during various Covid lockdowns in Sydney. A 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment, back to bare concrete type renovation. Very high-end Kitchen and Bathrooms. Didn’t want to battle with finger pull type handles, simple strong stainless Momo Barletta D-pull handles that matched the brushed stainless finish of the Subzero Fridge and tap and sink nearby.

Sydney Terrace in 2020 with soaring 3 metre ceilings, and sophisticated mix of Modern materials and classical wainscoting mouldings on walls. As featured in House and Garden’s Fresh Contemporary Australian Renovations issue, a select feature Momo Milano Chrome Plated D pull handles for Pantry, Bar, and integrated fridges needed to match the calibre of the remainder of the Fitout.

Balgowlah Apartment in 2020-21 intended for eventual AirBnb use but initially as temporary housing for owners whilst Main house been built and fit out above on same property. Quick and economical Melamine board and Solid surface benchtops combined with Momo Ferrara White lip pulls for ease of use by any occupant, but also to blend in to the background kitchen so looked good in the advertising photos.

Pymble Bathrooms in 2019 with brushed Black Momo Ona Lip Pull handles on a Hampton style door and drawer. To match the Black feature tile and tapware and accessories also used in the rooms.

Potts Point

What are the highlighting features in each project?

The client wanted the nicest materials, they entertained a lot, prior to Covid and planning to continue after Covid so wanted to show off a sophisticated fitout.

What motivates you as a designer?

Many clients put up with dysfunctional and tired interior fitouts for too long. Budget often has an effect on start date, but solving the functional layout properly, then making it look timeless is my biggest motivation.
I have many “sayings” or Analogies to assist in explaining a point of view to clients who may not be as familiar with the technicalities of Construction, and one of my favourites is: “This project looks like a bit of a Challenge? Come on, Bring it on!” Nothing more satisfying than making something that looked impossible - actually work.

Sydney Terrace

"This project looks like a bit of a Challenge? Come on, Bring it on!"

Barletta Flat Lay

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Classic projects that still look good. Examples where Architects or Designers solved issues with clever lateral thinking. Harry Seidler used colourback glass instead of tiles in Rose Seidler house in Sydney in the 1940s. Interiors can be very Visual, so little snippets from social media, an appliance over here, a handle this way, use of materials in new and interesting ways. I always ask for 2 or 3 examples from clients as they are often already trawling Instagram, Houzz, or Pinterest for Inspiration already but prioritising their top 3 inclusions is a great starting point.

Do you consider aestheticism or functionality to be more important?

I have a degree in Industrial Design originally, which is generally about function first then make it look pretty after. That is my own thinking, often one generates the parameters for the other. Another one of my sayings is that “Nothing more difficult as a blank Canvas” If you need a little bit of warmth at one end of a kitchen to balance the benchtop at the other, a Timber Handle can achieve that.

What are the top kitchen styles your clients are asking for?

I always believe that the kitchen should try and match the style of the house firstly, and secondly the mix of materials should match the calibre of the area it is located. It’s like putting “dinky bicycle wheels on a Porsche turbo.” People often say this is their forever house, but what they often mean it may end up being their Forever House for now, or the next 10 years. You always need to keep longevity in mind. I like all the different styles, Modern, Industrial, Hamptons is very popular, Mid Century, even Arts and Crafts or Traditional. Neo Classical including the functional elements of Modern with the bolection mouldings on doors and walls in crisp white for a Traditional sophisticated New York look is very appealing at the moment. [see Sydney Terrace Project]

What are the current handle trends in terms of style and finishes?

Integrated Finger pull is still strong for the majority, but whether you need a feature handle for Integrated Fridges, Pantries, dishwashers, bins in a materials that matches the tapware or exposed appliances, it is worth the investment in good quality handles when you are drawing attention to them, and they need to function well primarily.

What are the top 3 emerging trends we will see across 2022?

Integration, whether appliances or handles, more use of colour due to reassurance from photo realistic renders prior to job commencing reassuring clients of how good it will actually end up looking, Timber veneer and timber handles to match and compliment the floorboards, as a feature, everything else just blends in.

Balgowlah Apartment

Do you just advise on styles / certain looks and how to achieve this or take control of the project styling right down to the products bought?

Clients come to us because of our insights – they want us to assist in making these decisions. Even 10 years ago some things were only available in 2 colours, these days there can be thousands to choose from. I believe our role as designers is to make an informed selection and present just a few to the client so they are not overwhelmed by choice. Another one of my sayings is “There is more than ONE correct answer to this question…” don’t be scared of your final selection, trust your first impressions. Certain styles demand certain answers so that often helps whittle down the options, as does budget and availability these days.

How much does price come into the decision for cabinet handles?

Depends on whether the Handles are playing Leading Actor or a supporting role… If they are a Feature than its function, strength and appearance matter most, and often only 4 or 5 of them so it is worth spending a little bit more for quality. In the Potts Point Project there were 32 Stainless steel D-handles in the Kitchen alone, let alone the several matching handles for the wardrobes and other joinery. However, Ive always found Momo handles from Furnware Group very reasonably priced for very good quality.

"There is more than ONE correct answer to this question…"

Pymble Bathrooms

Would you base your overall design / styling around a specific kitchen handle or are handles an afterthought?

Once again, whether leading actor or supporting role. Often the length and finish have to be considered early, Momo have a great sample Roll that make it easy to drop handles onto Flatlays to check they match other materials. Handles are very Tactile elements so Clients often feel secure in their decision once they have handled them in person. Other instances, handles can be settled later. I often utilize the Lip pull handles as a temporary measure because they are fixed from behind and are very affordable for a large project, they can be replaced after living with the design for a while, and available in several different colours and finishes. Like the White lip pulls on Laminex white painted wood board in Balgowlah Apartment or the Ona black lip pulls in Pymble Hamptons bathrooms. In the end they worked so well we continued with them.

Do you and your clients prefer using a consistent handle finish throughout all joinery in the home or does this vary depending on the room?

When doing a Full house or apartment fitout I like to mix up the application of the same type of materials in each room, so it all doesn’t look like it was made in the same factory on the same day. That is why having same handle in different finishes or same finish in a different handle can help. Not all brushed stainless steel looks the same.

Do you have a preference for handle material/finishes?

Each project is different so having a wide variety of finishes to choose from is important. Polished Nickel seems more sophisticated and brighter than Chrome, brushed stainless steel is still called for and the new Timber handles in same species to match floorboards is a great idea.

What exciting projects do you have coming up and are there any Momo Handle ranges you are thinking of using?

We are in the Midst of a Neo Classical apartment in Fairlight Sydney where we will need some Polished Chrome pull handles, a Hamptons house in Pymble in Polished Nickel, brushed brass handles and knobs in some bathrooms in Mosman, lip pulls in black for an apartment in the Sydney CBD.

What are you favourite Momo Handle ranges?

I personally would like to use the Momo Lumi pull handles in Antique Pewter as the profile shape is so distinctive and Architectural like the structural posts Mies Van der Rohe often used to hide in the corners of buildings. My favourite Go-to handles is the affordable Momo Ferrara Lip pulls in so many lengths and colours without drilling holes into the front of finished doors and drawers before properly deciding.

What sets the Momo handles range apart from other brands in the market?

3 things. Quality, Range, Customer Service reliability from Furnware Group.


A big thank you to Matt Michel for taking part in our Momo Inspirations series.
Follow Matt Michel on Instagram @mattmicheldesign to stay up to date with completed projects
or get in touch through

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