HGTV's hit series One of a Kind is a different kind of home renovation show—designer Grace Mitchell made sure of that. She focuses on her client's stories instead of beautifully curated Pinterest boards, and turns out completed projects that have people saying, "This is so us!"
But you can only learn so much about a designer in 22-minute episodes, so ahead of her season two premiere, we spoke to the star to find out how she got her start as an interior designer, her many side hustles, and how she goes about creating unique spaces for her clients.
Before scoring her own HGTV show, Grace Mitchell was a language therapist for deaf and hard of hearing babies.
Once she started having her own children, she stayed at home to look after them and started her own blog, A Storied Style.
She's fluent in sign language.
Thanks to her early career as a language therapist, Mitchell is completely fluent in ASL.
She has four kids—and they're all a year apart.
The HGTV star started her blog when they were all under one, two, three, and four!
Grace started out as an interior design major in college.
Although she changed her major before she completed her interior design degree, the skills she acquired during that time have come in handy.
She started A Storied Style as a way for her to feel creative.
"From there, it sort of blossomed," Mitchell spoke about starting her blog. "I started working with brands to help them style and put things together, and then I wrote for magazines for a while, and then I started taking on clients." After a few of her clients were published, HGTV reached out to her about the show and the rest was history.
Grace actually began her career by selling vintage furniture.
"I had a side hustle when my kids were born," she confessed. "Through my vintage furniture business I kind of parlayed into other clients." Mitchell remembers that she actually snagged her first client though the business—she ended up designing the living room of someone who bought one of her vintage pieces!
She's lived in her current house for eight years...and it took her seven to renovate it.
Of course, like many real-world (aka not filmed for TV) renovations, the whole project doesn't happen at once. And in a matter of days or weeks. Mitchell and her family took the practical approach—renovate one part of the house, take some time off to save money, and then begin again. This way, she learned even more about the interior design process by completing an entire home—including this insane four-bed bunk bed for her children.
Her design process begins with questions—and a lot of them.
"Most of the time people are ready with their Pinterest pictures, but I don't operate that way," Mitchell said. "I start by asking people questions about where they're from... another big thing is, I'm talking to them, but I notice everything." Mitchell prides herself on being an observable person, and she likes to inquire about things like what kind of art her clients like, why they like it, where they've traveled, and other things that play into who they are as a person.
"There are all sorts of things I can notice in someone's home that I can ask them about. I do like to ask them what do you enjoy doing, where have you traveled, even things like do you have a family phrase," she said. On an upcoming episode of One of a Kind season two, Mitchell actually takes a family's beloved phrase, "Love Too," and turns it into a tiled work of art of the bathroom floor.
She's learned a thing or two about designing for kids.
Because she has four children only a year apart from one another (talk about a handful), Mitchell definitely has some credible experience about designing homes specifically for families with young kids. "I am a designer, and I love beautiful design and lovely things, but I am also very practical," she said. "A lot of my fabrics are washable, [and] I make sure that my rugs are wool so they're easily scrubbed and not too thin, because eventually, over time, they can wear holes."
Another one of the HGTV star's secrets? Dining tables that can take a beating. Whether it's paint splatters or crafts with slime, durable dining tables can go through a lot but still be wiped clean and look great afterwards.
You can expect a lot of kid-friendly designs this season on One of a Kind.
One upcoming episode, in particular, helps a family find a solution for all of the kids' stuff. Mitchell knows that kids are always coming home with treasures they find, whether it's a collection of sparkly rocks or prizes from the arcade, but they have nowhere of their own to keep them. Her solution? Personalized lockers with drawers in the mud room. Ingenious!
HGTV's One of a Kind premieres Monday, September 9 at 10:30pm EST.
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