Michael Trahan is one of Benicia’s hidden treasures as an artist, humanitarian, and decent guy.

Our paths have crossed over the years, often joining forces to benefit local non-profits through staging events. 


Normally at this time of year, we are madly working on Benicia Fashion Runway, a fashion event held during the last week of September. Because of Covid-19, the popular 2-day production will not be exciting the fashion crowds for the first time in 12 years. It would be irresponsible to think we could put 5 designers, 20 models, 15 technicians and 500 attendees together, even though it would be outdoors.


I have relied on Michael and, friend, Penny Stell to help plan the event and take on the huge role of finding financial sponsors to support funding the production. The dynamic duo always come through with support from their connections in Benicia and elsewhere. The money raised has been significant, as the costs have continued to escalate. Because the runway show is outdoors, there are added expenses like power, tenting, fencing, lighting, etc. 


Michael has served as Benicia Fashion Runway’s logistics director using his expertise in interior and exterior design.

He turns an asphalt parking lot into a dramatic venue that could rival the best of New York or Paris Fashion Week. As the event has become more popular, Michael has been able to find ways of expanding the seating from 200 to 500 using his creativity and pressure from me.


When attendees walk through the entrance on the red carpet there is an audible gasp as to how beautiful the setting is.

Michael not only designs the staging, he and his team, including Penny and her husband Bob, are on site from early morning to sometimes midnight making sure everything is perfectly executed. It has become a labor of love for all of us as we have seen the event grow in popularity and coolness. We will miss doing it this year!


As an award winning interior designer, Michael can not only transform a parking lot, but create the most beautiful and functional spaces for homes and offices. The Home Builders Association has awarded him with the coveted MAME (Major Achievements in Merchandising Excellence), recognizing exemplary efforts for builders, land developers, interior designers and architects. 


I have seen Michael’s work first hand in some gorgeous homes in Benicia.

I have especially admired his work for Sally and Ed Brennan in their “tindominium” at Rancho Benicia. Sally and Ed are well known for their taste and describe their interior as Asian Contemporary. They have mixed components like an Italian red refrigerator with vertical red tiles in the kitchen. Michael recommended painting their kitchen and bedroom the same color for depth, especially in a small space. He advises on where and how to hang art and recently helped the Brennan’s with a “wow factor” accent wall using an espresso alligator covering made of vinyl.


As in fashion, there are trends that are adapted by interior designers that are reflective of the times we live in.

During Covid-19, clients who have been confined to their homes and personal spaces for months are finding a specific need to be comfortable and are searching for a calming interior. The space needs to not only offer comfort, but also functionality. Many clients are editing their accessories for a clutter-free zone, lending to a more Zen-like space. Families desire to adapt and update specialty spaces, allowing for more functional group activities. 


Michael and his associates now offer online design consultation.

It’s as easy as uploading photos directly to the company’s website, then picking up the phone or using Zoom to discuss makeovers. During the stay-at-home order, offering an approach to the design process with little or no designer-to-client interaction is now part of the new normal in interior design. Michael Trahan and his creative talent has made Benicia that much more beautiful inside and out, and is, hopefully, now a discovered treasure.