Princess Michael came to London in 1968 to be apprenticed as an interior designer since, at the time, there were no interior designers in Vienna. After five years of apprenticeship to London’s top interior designers, Princess Michael opened her own business, SZAPAR DESIGNS. Princess Michael was fortunate and did well.
Once Princess Michael married, she ceased decorating but kept the company ticking over. Time passed and four years ago the Princess was offered to re-decorate a suite in the Baltschug Kempinski hotel, Moscow. This has led to other commissions in Russia and Europe. Princess Michael is far from full-time, however, as she is also a professional lecturer, works for a contemporary art gallery GMURZYNSKA, and writes books.
As for Princess Michael’s style, she says "I would say that John Fowler had the most influence on my work as I studied the restoration of 17th and 18th century English manor houses. Once I married I had our apartment at Kensington Palace to re-decorate - it had not been touched since basic restoration following a direct bomb hit during WWII - and then our 17th century country house, Nether Lypiatt Manor in Gloucestershire, which was also in a quite dilapidated state. Otherwise I have only worked on other family projects in England and Europe. Yes, I missed decorating, but I was writing and lecturing and these were two careers I love which I would never have undertaken if I had remained in decorating".
Following two courses in the Fine and Decorative Arts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in the early 70s, Princess Michael spent 13 years on the Board of the V&A, and later, was President of Partridge Fine Art in Bond Street. Through these two terms surrounded by the best in the decorative arts, Princess Michael increased her knowledge and understanding.
Since four years with Gmurzynska Galerie, modern and contemporary art has filled Princess Michael’s life as well - like learning a new language she says. Modern interiors will inevitably follow!