Mid-Century Modern with Chelsea Bieber of Style Mutt Home

Our interview on mid-century design designer Chelsea Bieber of Style Mutt Home

1. How did you get into interior design?

Chelsea: “Well it wasn’t a conscious decision to get into interior design – that’s for sure! My interest in home decorating didn’t begin until I was living in the hospital on bedrest, pregnant with our twins. While there I stumbled across a furniture refinishing/home décor blog and for the first time ever, I found it fascinating! The concept of making old pieces new again and creating a home with a little DIY gusto was suddenly very appealing to me. As a result, after having our twins I never returned back to my previous employment as a personal trainer, and instead spent a lot of time learning as much as I could about basic home improvement. After our third baby was born a short time later, I began a small furniture refinishing business. I’d strap our three babies into their carseats and we’d drive all over Northern Virginia finding cheap but sturdy pieces, and I’d refinish them in our garage while the babes napped. After a couple years folks began asking if I’d be willing to help them with their home. I was never bold enough to say yes until I began working with my talented sister-in-law. We took on our first ever interior design job together 4 years ago and the work was as good as addicting to me; I recall being so overcome with emotion at how beautiful our first job turned out that I teared up while taking pictures! That job turned into another, and so on. We presently have a waitlist, which is incredibly surreal and humbling!”

“Interior design is such a multi-faceted type of work. It’s incredibly creative, very mathematic, and so very personal.”

Chelsea: “I can’t think of another line of work that requires both sides of the brain and just as much heart! Therefore, I love learning more about the people we are privileged to work with and understanding the feeling they want for their home. Everything else stems from that.”

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Chelsea: “I don’t know what I don’t know about interior design. That’s been the hardest part. As a small business co-owner, I don’t just get to do the fun stuff. I’ve had to learn every aspect of business! How to scale and stay ahead of the curve, how to establish my place in a saturated market, how to price, how to communicate, market, manage… I would have saved a lot of time if I’d been a business major. Fortunately, my husband was so he’s been enormously helpful in teaching me what I don’t know before it bites me in the butt!”

3. What should everyone understand before starting to interior design their space?

Chelsea: “Decide what you want your home to be to you. If you like the idea of an open door policy, make sure your home is welcoming and comfortable. If you prefer more formal occasions, make the space to host accordingly. In conclusion, think about what you desire to use your home for and how your space can accommodate that.”

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4. How do you go about putting everything together and creating a unified look when the client has a lot of different styled pieces?

Chelsea: “First, having a very clear understanding of how they want the room to feel. Once that’s established, it’s like pieces of a puzzle! I can pretty quickly go through what they have and know what we’ll be able to use and where, and what will be needed to tie it all together. Once I’ve got a vision of the space coming together, I toss out an initial interior design board so the client can see how all the pieces are getting along.”

5. Few brands you love?

Chelsea: “Oh goodness, that’s tricky! One of my favorite parts about this work is turning the world wide web upside down to shake out the gems, (like when I found Marcel Breur replica chairs from Walmart). I will say that I’ve had more luck finding budget friendly authentic vintage rugs on Etsy than anywhere else. And for life-friendly seating I have appreciated the construction, durability and prices at Article. For art, I have found a lot of pieces, (and now favorite artists), through Society6 and Minted.”

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6. Trends you see for 2018!

Chelsea: “Well, I’m welcoming wallpaper back into my life after 20 years. Hah! I think there will still be an appreciation for crisp white walls,

Wallpaper is comin’ in hot!”  

Chelsea: “In fact, by client request, I’ve used wallpaper in 5 different recent interior design projects these last few months!”

7. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Chelsea: “The outdoors – to me, nature is perfection. It’s an elaborate design of colors and textures, and yet it’s easy to take in. I try to design spaces in such a way that they look effortlessly evolved.”

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8. Why we all should redesign our spaces for 2018?

Chelsea: “Oh, I wouldn’t say that’s necessary for everyone! I think it’s easy for us all to think we need to when there is so much exposure to new trends, (which are changing at lightning speed), and stores like Target making it possible to indulge in such trends. But I do think it’s important for our homes to support our daily lives in a functional way, and for our homes to represent our character.  As soon as it’s not doing even one of those things, I think at least a healthy tweak is necessary.”

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