With her event planning and interior design background, blended with her own Southern sensibility, Michelle Cheatham has built a thriving business in St. Helena in California’s Napa Valley. Known as Architect’s Daughter, Cheatham’s home furnishings and design company showcases eclectic finds that blur the lines between antique and modern.

All based in a showroom that is by appointment only.

When she’s not soaking up the Napa sun, or scouting the globe for statement pieces, you’ll find Michelle Cheatham and her Architect’s Daughter in Round Top. Her exquisite European antiques, lighting and decorative accessories for home and garden will all be at the upcoming Round Top Spring Show, which runs from March 18 through April 3.

An antique French mirror reflects Cheatham’s own patio overlooking a vineyard.

“I’m a lover of both eclectic and modern design,” Cheatham tells RoundTop.com. “Round Top is a great place to see a range of styles. I really fell in love with it.

“I mean we can’t all go to Europe in search of just the right piece. Before becoming a dealer at Round Top, I was shopping there.”

From her father ― an architect himself ― Cheatham gained an appreciation of beautiful things.

“He took us to museums across the country,” she says. “I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but that left an indelible mark on me. I grew up with an inside/outside sensibility as well.”

Many of Cheatham’s pieces are stone and iron. They work equally well on a patio or decorating a garden as they do when brought inside the home.

“I’m from Atlanta originally, but have been in Napa for the past 30 years,” she says. “I design a lot with garden and statuary pieces. That’s how we live in Napa, a good eight months each year ― the indoor and outdoor lifestyle, with nice weather and few bugs.”

Inside Cheatham’s own living room filled with one of a kind finds.

Cheatham’s style includes items like a pair of walnut chairs that she absolutely cherishes. They were acquired from the Pullman family in Seattle, who owned Pullman Railcar, and are museum quality. Crafted in walnut, the statement chairs were freshly upholstered in Clarence House, lemon yellow velvet for an unexpected pop.  Cheatham thinks they are simply divine – so much so the pair found a permanent home in her personal collection.

In fact, the designer lives by a motto she learned from her mother, “Buy a great piece and then decorate around it,” Cheatham says. “Even if you get tired of it someday, the piece still has value.”

Her interior design business and showroom, which she opened in 2000, grew organically out of her time as an event planner and caterer.

“When I would cater an event, I would arrange the homes of my clients,” Cheatham says. “Then, they began coming to my own home and purchasing things I had collected for myself.”

That soon led to her designing and dealing. The showroom soon followed.

Cheatham will pack up some favorites from her Napa showroom, and bring them to Round Top.

Cheatham enjoys displaying her wares in what she calls “curated vignettes.” Since she hand-selects every item in her collection, she often grows very attached to them.

“I only buy what I would put in my own home,” Cheatham says. “I get very sentimental parting with some of these pieces, but it’s fun to find just the right buyer to pass them on to.”

Cheatham notes that she finds “Southern women have an impeccable sense of style ― it’s something innate.”

Michelle Cheatham
Michelle Cheatham

You can meet Michelle Cheatham in person and explore her treasure trove from Architect’s Daughter at Market Hill from March 16 to April 4. This is her third year picking her favorite finds and transporting them from Napa to Round Top.

This California design wiz would not want to be anywhere else in the spring.