In The Spotlight: Monica Musialowski

Kandice Korte
Morgante Wilson Architects

Jan 3, 2019 - 5 min read


In The Spotlight:  Monica Musialowski

Meet architect Monica Musialowski, recently promoted to Associate at MWA, who shares her thoughts on creating a welcoming home, her fondness for Scandinavian design, and the reason hosting a dinner party tops her to-do list.

You’ve been with MWA for five years. What keeps you here?

The people, for sure! I’m part of an incredible team, with talented people I admire very much, who inspire me to do great work. Of course, the site meetings on Lake Michigan don’t hurt – those views! That breeze!

Speaking of breezes, you once said the sound of leaves through an open window helps make a house feel like home. What else evokes home for you?

For me, it’s the smell of cooking in the kitchen, framed photos on the wall, soft lamp lighting – and of course, my loved ones. Home isn’t just a physical space; it’s a psychological space, too.

Tell us more.

It’s a combination of things that make us feel welcome, at ease, comfortable and safe. There’s an incredible phrase in Portuguese you’ll often hear a host say to guests to make them feel at home: “Fica a vontage.” It means welcome, feel free to do as you wish, be yourself, make yourself comfortable. What inspires those feelings will be different for everyone, which is what makes working on houses so much fun – discovering this together with our clients and incorporating their feelings into the design.

Sounds dreamy. What would your own dream house be like?

That’s a question people love to ask architects. The truth is that for me, it’s always changing. Right now I love asymmetrical, gently sloping roofs; mid-century modern style; modest houses that are still really good for entertaining; and lots of windows and trees. My dream house would have a show-stopper front door – and absolutely no overhead lighting in any of the bedrooms.

It all sounds simple and cozy.

I’m inspired by Scandinavian architecture, which really speaks to me – the clean lines, the way they play with planes of light, and the cohesiveness of design. I’m also drawn to the Danish principle of Hygge, or comfort. When you apply that to architecture, it’s about making spaces feel special, charming and cozy.

You’re like a home-focused anthropologist.

Actually, I do have a minor in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan! That’s where I received both my B.S. in architecture and my Master’s in architecture. Ann Arbor will always have a special place in my heart. Go Blue!

Clearly you’re enthusiastic about being a Wolverine. What are some of your other passions?

Aside from realizing great designs at MWA? I love cooking – in fact, this makes me realize I’m overdue for a dinner party. It’s the Polish grandmother in me; I have a need to feed people. I also love to travel, and am a huge advocate for the environment. We compost at home, and I drive a hybrid. In general, I try to minimize my ecological footprint.

What might someone be surprised to learn about you?

I speak three foreign languages: Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.

If you weren’t an architect, what might you be doing instead?

I’d probably be a chef. Or a math teacher. Or I’d work for some environmental non-profit. Maybe I’d be a food critic (who wouldn’t want that job?!). Or a travel blogger, or a bed-and-breakfast owner, or a translator…..

We love your enthusiasm. And our clients do, too!

Kandice Korte

Morgante Wilson Architects