TBR Interview: Meet the Ladies of StyleMutt Home

After scouring Craigslist for my ‘Find of the Day’, I stumbled across a piece from the ladies of StyleMutt Home that made the DIY lover in me squeal.  I reached out to the owners, Chelsea + Cate, and I’m happy to share my interview with the lovely + talented design duo.

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(The fabulous piece that started it all!)

TBR: Tell me a little about where you’re from and how you met?

Chelsea: I was born and (almost) raised in Northern Virginia, then my family moved to New Hampshire when I was 9. We only spent 7 years there, but they were amazing years and had a profound influence on me. We moved back to VA when I was 16, (and it’s where I’ve lived ever since), but I think I’ll always be a New England girl at heart. The rustic, raw landscape, and down-to-earth, ‘tell it like it is’ people got my attention + I never let it go. Cate will tell ya’ how we met; it’s her own love story – but not directly with me!
Cate: I grew up in Northern Virginia, but didn’t meet Chelsea until I started dating her brother, Caleb. As things with Caleb kept sailing along, I had more and more opportunities to get to know Chelsea and even helped her + her husband, Matt, move into their first home.

TBR: Do you have any design background?  Did you study design in college?

Chelsea: None! Unless you count keeping a watchful eye on how my Mom brilliantly decorated our family homes over the years. She’s so good at home decorating and room layout; it doesn’t come as naturally to me, but I love to learn and try things out! I actually studied Exercise Science in college and was a personal trainer for several years before our family grew.
Cate: Does picking out a sage green room color in 8th grade count as a design background?  Ha!  I’ve been flipping furniture (informally) for a couple of years and we have just expanded into redesigning spaces on StyleMutt this last year.

TBR: Tell me a little about StyleMutt Home (how and when did you get into the business), what are your roles? 

Chelsea: I started refinishing furniture when we moved into our first, (and current), home. We needed things and it was fun! That grew into my first blog, Chelsea’s Garage, where I was lucky enough to have Cate guest post, and then we retired that to create StyleMutt Home together!
Cate: We both have similar roles + responsibilities – make fabulous furniture and post about it!  We collaborate on giveaways + sales and any other joint projects that may come our way.

TBR: How would you describe your design style(s)?
Both:  Well, we both are what you would call a “style mutt.” style·muttnoun an affectionate nickname for those who cannot attribute their design sensibilities to one “breed.”  An individual who enjoys an eclectic mix and appreciates various decor styles.  We love modern, rustic, eclectic, glamour, shabby chic, bohemian, you name it!
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Pic via StyleMuttHome.com

TBR: What are your inspirations?

Both: HGTV’s Emily Henderson mixes pieces unconventionally and breaks traditional style expectations; she’s loose and fluid, sassy + eccentric.  More often than not, her method of decorating genuinely surprises us.  That’s saying something since we can’t predict her moves + yet are always satisfied by what she delivers.
Chelsea: Not to go all flower power, but I am genuinely influenced by nature. I just adore staring out into the woods of our backyard or going on trail walks with my kids. There are no mistakes in nature; no colors that clash or look out of place. It’s all just perfect. I love bringing a bit of the outdoors in, wherever I’m decorating.
Cate: I like to pretend I have this super power to see the potential in “one man’s trash”.  I don’t see dusty thrift store inventory or a roadside junk pile, I see beautiful ideas + sometimes exhilarating challenges.  Whether or not I can actually realize my vision is part of the fun.

TBR: What is the most interesting part of your job?

Chelsea: Documenting our work on a blog is kind of like publishing a public diary! It’s so funny to see how our styles change when we flip back to old posts! I frequently have those, ‘What the what was I thinking?!?‘ moments. There was a time when I burlapped whatever I could get my hands on – and that stuff sheds!!! But, it’s such a blessing to be able to see how our business has stayed afloat through all of that evolution, because wherever we’re at stylistically, someone out there is diggin’ it at that time, too!
Cate: Probably the freedom.  Not only to be creative, but to be flexible too.  Owning our own business allows our families to come first and if that means we don’t do 5 StyleMutt posts a week, then so be it.  I can have obsessive tendencies and forget that sometimes.  I also couldn’t be more grateful for my business partner-in-crime.  Chelsea is so calming, in both personality and style.  If I’m anxious about an idea, she’ll always talk it through with me.  Her minimalism balances out my “collectionism.”  Her easy style encourages me be a better editor when staging my pieces.  And her approach to her family and to the blog inspires me to be more gracious, loving, prioritized, hospitable, and humble.
Chelsea (again lol): Wait! That was such a sweet response! I’m adding on to mine that working with such a creative, kindred spirit has challenged me more than anything to give this thing the best that I can give it and offer our readers my very best work, because Cate does that every single time. And it makes me so proud to be her partner.

TBR: What was the most interesting piece that you sold?
Chelsea: Well I haven’t sold it, but the most interesting piece I refinished was a vintage army cot used in WWII by a doctor! This guy was selling these ‘family heirlooms’ of his on Craigslist! Apparently his grandfather was a doctor in the war + had kept the cots he used to treat soldiers. The first thing I did was scrub them clean and replace the grimy, bloody, green canvas covers with fresh natural ones. Then I turned them into coffee tables by removing a pair of legs on one end. I think they’re so cool! Love pieces with a good story.

Cot table

Pic via StyleMuttHome.com

Cate: I actually think my massive MCM media stand was the most interesting.  I took doors off to make it more functional for a cable box, and added legs to make it more of a mid-century inspired style.  It was a beast, but a young couple was excited to store their records in it + it sold for pretty penny.

MCM rehab

Pic via StyleMuttHome.com

TBR: What was your favorite project/upcycle?  What is your dream project/upcycle to do?

Chelsea: Favorite: We built pipe shelves in our dining room that I thought would be kind of cool to have – little did I know! The bottom shelf is devoted to our kids’ craft supplies + it makes my heart flutter every day when I see them pulling supplies out to make this or that. Those shelves, which were really fun to design and build with my husband, have given my kids the gift + freedom of creativity. Priceless! Dream: I’d love to renovate and design a loft or studio apartment. Small spaces are such a fun challenge – and I think they push creativity right out of the box!

pipeshelves

Pic via StyleMuttHome.com

Cate: Favorite: A 3-way tie between the teal bamboo dresser, the bucket list bucket chairs, and the geometric lamp copycat. Dream: flip a house!

geometric lamp

Pic via StyleMuttHome.com

TBR: What are you currently working on?  Any upcoming events?

Both: We are cooking up a fun furniture flip project that will light-heartedly pit us against each other.  We scored 2 identical pairs of end tables and plan to refinish them individually and compare our furniture flipping instincts + final products.

TBR: Favorite song(s) at the moment?

Chelsea: Let’s see, this morning the kids and I listened to Michael Buble’s Christmas album over breakfast, then during my workout it was Future, Flo Rida, Kanye and Skrillex, then I picked my kid up from preschool and we cruised home to Yael Naim. My music preferences sure correlate to my eclectic style! It’s all over the place!
Cate: I’m OBSESSED with anything by The Oh Hello’s.  Have a dedicated Pandora station to their indie vibes.
TBR: Tell me something that not many people know about you both (i.e. embarrassing moments, favorite food, silly obsessions)?

Chelsea: I took a cardio strip tease strip tease class a few years ago. What a workout! I actually felt more toned after a month!
Cate: Ummmmm I love steak.  And bacon.  My husband and I have an Achilles heel for zombie movies and TV shows – Walking Dead anyone?  I have lived all over the world and all I want to do is be settled once + for all.

TBR: Where can my readers find out more about StyleMutt Home, or find out about your next pop-up shop?

Both: Why check out our website of course!  www.stylemutthome.com – we post regularly and there are always fresh pieces for sale in the “Garage Shop”.

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Pic via StyleMuttHome.com

Thank you to the ladies of StyleMutt Home for such candid + fun responses!

Visit their site or follow them on Instagram at @chelsea_stylemutthome + @cate_stylemutthome

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