Michelle Elzay Obituary, Death – Artist, interior designer, and preservationist Michelle Elzay passed away unexpectedly. Breast cancer that had spread to other organs caused her death. She’s been around for 49 years now. She will always hold a particular place in her heart for Michelle Elzay, who was born June Lauck.
And Michael Elzay in Sands Point, New York, who graduated with honors from Smith College. Michelle Brannon met Matthew Brannon, a fellow art student while pursuing her MFA at Columbia University. In the end, the couple wed in 2003. Her creative undertakings had a global reach, were based on historical investigation and the archive, and were mostly conceptual portrait photography. Her writings stressed tiny towns that are adaptable to shifting trends and the passage of time while maintaining traditions and the careful pursuit of the craft.
She also wrote about the sisterhood of nuns, falconers, fencers, and psychic healers. Her most recent series focused on her ten-year investigation into the restoration of a Nantucket mansion built in 1834. She discovered after doing thorough source research that Essex Boston (1741, manumitted 1769, 1827), a former slave, was the initial owner of the house.
Together with completing research and writing for the project, Michelle shot photos of the house’s ruins. Michelle and Matthew split the year between their refurbished house on the island of Nantucket, which they cherished, and New York City. Michelle blends her lifelong enthusiasm for interior design with her expertise in historic restoration in the painting “Essex Boston and Family 1,” which she made for the traveling exhibition The Outwin 2022.
American Portraiture Today at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Michelle and Matthew made Nantucket their permanent home by splitting their time annually between New York City and their refurbished home on the island. Michelle coupled her love of interior design with her lifelong interest in historic preservation in order to renovate a number of properties on the island.
She and her partner Pen Austin received the Architectural Preservation Award from the Nantucket Preservation Trust in 2016. She will be buried there with her mother, June. As an interior designer, she was in great demand. She cares for and is interested in the houses that bear her imprint, which shows that she is interested in the specific individuals and the history of the structures. The abundance of textiles, furniture, and other artifacts in her design studio was a monument to her voracious collecting and singular understanding of material culture, history, and human inventiveness.
People sought out Michelle, a native New Yorker, for her knowledge of the city and recommendations for the best places to eat, buy, watch performances, and work out. She had a lot of energy for anything physical. She has been active since she was a little child and, while still in elementary school, obtained a black belt in judo.
She was a member of the exercise crew known as “Akin’s Army,” to which she remained committed throughout her rehabilitation. She relished building up her physical stamina and made the most of any downtime throughout her cancer treatments to fully comprehend her body. Later in life, she developed a deep love for surfing and began traveling frequently to Costa Rica, which she eventually came to admire. In both her job and personal life, Michelle was precise but courageous, prepared to try new things and put up with their inherent unpleasantness.
Her cooking will be remembered by everyone who knew her. Her inventiveness extended well beyond the realms of design and art. Because of her inspiration from her travels to Paris, Japan, and Vietnam as well as the local seafood of Nantucket, her cooking skills were becoming better right up to the end (she often helped harvest scallops). Matthew has been her husband for 26 years, and he cannot remember a dinner without candles.
Michelle is remembered fondly by those who loved her for her razor-sharp intellect, red lipstick, outspoken wit, loud laugh, cheeky grin, and impeccable sense of style, especially her Dries van Noten outfit. Michelle was a keeper of tales, with an insatiable curiosity and an infectious commitment to share in the lives of others. She loved love, enjoyed celebrations, and officiated at friends’ weddings. Even in her worst hours, she never wavered in her kindness. When Michelle’s death came near, Matthew stayed by her side.
In the last week of her life, they were able to return to Nantucket, and she delighted at the newly painted walls of her beloved house. Despite the protracted and occasionally terribly difficult nature of her battle with sickness, Michelle made the most of every opportunity to enjoy life. She went out to anybody who was in a similar circumstance as she could.
Michelle died away in her Chelsea home in the presence of her devoted father Michael, close friends, her cat Orlando, and her husband. She is survived by Matthew, her father, her aunt, and her cousins, in addition to the others she recognized as sisters, friends, and soulmates. Michelle dedicated her life to her family, friends, and the people, places, and meals that help us tell our story.
The line will always be there because of the ongoing consequences of her work and the relationships she made. Her love illuminates the world, and her gift of presence makes it a more beautiful place. Michelle’s funeral will take place at The Church of St. Francis Xavier, located at 46 West. 16th St., New York, on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. A later date will be set for the funeral on Nantucket. Donations in Michelle’s memory are welcome at the Marla Ceely Lamb Fund, Smith College Fund, and Animal Haven in New York.