By: Kendall Louis
“I love to create family homes that have a story.”
Beautiful, collected, and always interesting, Grace Mitchell’s designs draw inspiration from each new family she works with – and her unique, vintage-meets-modern style is attracting national attention.
Better Homes & Gardens magazine recently wrapped a photo shoot of her Mistletoe Heights home, a 1919 foursquare that she shares with her husband, Kent, and four children: Ellis, Tate, Glory Evelyn, and Karis. “It’s the best neighborhood we have ever lived in in Fort Worth,” she says. She is also working on an exciting new television project with High Noon Entertainment. That’s all she can say about the project right now, but expect to see her on your TV soon.
Mitchell has created designs for several major brands, including Home Depot, Pottery Barn Kids, and House Beautiful magazine. She’s been a Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker and a Style Influencer for Domino magazine. The young mother speaks at national design and blogging conferences and has been featured in numerous web-based and print publications including Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, and ElleDecor.com.
Mitchell’s own blog, A Storied Style, has chronicled her live-and-learn adventures in home décor for years. Her approach to design begins simply – with the family’s story.
“My method is weird,” Mitchell explains. “I definitely don’t start off with a Pinterest board or a Houzz account. I start by really making an effort to get to know the family. I ask tons of questions about memories they have, things that are important to them, and what they like to do together for fun.
“I listen. I’m a very good listener. I really pay attention and notice what the family is doing and how they are living. I store all those little things in my brain, and then I put them into the spaces that I create. I gather almost all of my inspiration directly from the family.”
Mitchell’s own story begins as a little girl who traded her trinkets for craft supplies, persuading school friends to raid their mom’s’ craft closets in exchange for frilly socks and Kudos bars. Her first home décor project was a Barbie playhouse, which she tricked out with hand-monogrammed napkins and checkered quilts made of ‘80s-colored Kleenex.
At TCU, Mitchell switched her major from interior design after receiving advice that the field was dying and she should pursue something more stable. And then life happened.
“I started having kids. We have a bunch of kids; they’re all a year apart. Having them so close in age makes four feel like much more. During this time, my husband and I would buy a home to live in, fix it up, and sell it – and then we’d buy another one and start again. Friends would see what I was doing with the design, and they started asking me to help with their homes. And then friends of friends started asking.”
Mitchell launched her blog during this time as a way to work from home. Once her children grew a bit older, her newfound freedom allowed her to take on professional clients.
She now works with two to three families at a time, clients who crave the designer’s fresh-feeling harmony of beauty and comfort. Her multifaceted style draws from every era, from the gilded glam of Hollywood Regency to the clean lines of Mid-Century Modern. Mitchell is also greatly influenced by the city of Fort Worth itself. Originally from Arlington, she has lived here since her time at TCU.
“Oh man. I love Fort Worth. I’m so, so glad that we ended up here. I feel really inspired by all the different architecture that Fort Worth has to offer. We’re definitely not just a one-note city. My style is very eclectic; I like drawing different ideas from different time periods and design styles. Fort Worth really inspires that.”
From Fort Worth to the South of France, Mitchell is always on the hunt for one-of-a-kind, vintage finds. Old Home Supply is a favorite source, along with the famous Round Top Antiques Fair.
“I go everywhere, from the salvage yard to flea markets in New York. I love estate sales. Fort Worth has an awesome estate sale community. I estate sale almost every Friday. And I’m a huge fan of Simple Things Furniture on Vickery. They have beautiful upholstery and great customer service, plus really unique things – from big pieces of furniture to collections of old glass jars. I also like K Flories Antiques, and Bottega Design Gallery for tile. House of Tuscany is great for interesting lighting. And I’m not afraid to go to the Salvation Army. The store on NE 28th Street is the best.”
For those designing their own homes, Mitchell’s advice is simple:
“Start with your story. Think about themes or places you visited that are interesting to you, and try to incorporate that into your space somehow. People often try to copy a magazine or a picture that they see on Pinterest. Sometimes when you recreate those things, they’re pretty – but they’re not interesting. They don’t tell anyone anything about you.
“To me, doing design work is more than just creating a pretty room. It’s not that hard to create a pretty room. Anyone can do that. But what’s special to me about a room is what it says about the people who live in it, what makes them interesting, and what they love – how it tells their story. That’s the heart behind what I do.”
Love, heart, and family. Mitchell’s story brims with all the best things in life, inspiring Fort Worth with her talent and style. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
By: Kendall Louis