Merely a few weeks in, “Style Muse” has fast become one of the many highlights of my week.  It’s a dream, (not to mention: really fun), to design a snapshot of an interior, inspired by an individual with not only great promise, but singular, muse-worthy taste.

In the weeks leading up to the launch of this series I envisioned it as an opportunity to feature legendaries (Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Redford), zeitgeists (Alice Dellal, Beyoncé), and,  perhaps most exhilaratingly: up and comers.  You know: those who are just getting started and yet simultaneously stand out  – just as the legends and the-it-girls of the moment did, and do.

Enough said. I hereby introduce the first up-and-comer of  the series: Melordian Maestro, John Michael Ryan.  I’m proud to say he’s my paternal cousin and that I’ve had  the pleasure of seeing and hearing him perform.

Like many traditional Irish musicians, while he has mastered an array of instruments, he is first and foremost a melordian- driver: one who plays what is a hybrid of an accordion and melodeon.

As he is predominantly seen in a three-piece Donegal suit, a “newsboy” Irish cap, high-top Converse All-Stars, and under the muted spotlights of a pub performance space  – I chose an Irish watering hole aesthetic for this inspired interior.

There is a very special pub by the name of  Carroll’s in the town that John Michael grew up in: Rochester, New York, where he enjoys going to to play.  Drawing from their red and green color palette and pine accents (JMR is pictured performing in the space in the photo at top left), I implemented an interior with said flair.

I conducted a wee interview with my cousin, asking him about his aesthetic and what I view as the strong linkage between it and his music. I love his response. “While Irish music is a thing of beauty, an art form with nuances rivaling Western classical music, its primary purpose is to provoke dancing, fulfill a need. My outfits, you can see above, reflect that sensibility.”  His assertion, I suppose, is that his classic wools and Irish linens are merely utilitarian: they keep him layered and warm.

I do believe, however, that like his music: the style that he brings to the everyday act of getting dressed is an art form.

To learn more about John Michael Ryan, traditional Irish melordian music, and where his next seisiún (performance) is being held { all very top secret at the moment }, email me: at [email protected]

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Sources: Lee Jofa Wool in Shetland PlaidPainted Porch English Pine SettleThe New Traditionalists Library Table no. Seven Zero Twochair via zuglói lány’s flickr streammoooi horse floor lamp }

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Author: Sarah Baynes

Interior Designer and Author at, empowering women to decorate with confidence.