The Mindset That This Interior Designer Learned from Oprah

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Love what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Interior Design and Styling: Traci Biasotti Design · Photography: Madeline Harper Photography · Construction: American Builders and Blueline Custom Cabinets · Architecture: BARRY | WYNN Architects

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Putting family first is a value that absolutely defines everything Traci of Traci Biasotti Design touches – from the way she runs her business to her philosophy of embracing imperfection. As you peruse her portfolio of work, you’ll immediately feel an overwhelming feeling of relaxation. Each beautiful project invites you in to come and stay a while, like this fresh and clean retreat captured by Madeline Harper Photography.

Join us as we chat with Traci about working smarter-not-harder, balancing success as an entrepreneur with parenthood, the secret to a spark joy space, what Oprah taught her about interior design (hint: it’s a really good mindset), and more!

Tell us a bit about the inception of Traci Biasotti Design. How and when did you first know you wanted to become an interior designer?

I was originally working as a project manager in the software industry and knew I needed to be doing something more creative. I went back to school and earned a degree in design, which lead to jobs in the fashion industry.

After having my first child, I decided to take some time off work, but I still felt the need to create. During that time, my husband and I bought our first home, and I naturally started decorating it. I became very interested in the process of interior design and the business behind it, especially as a working mother. I would design for friends and family, and with every project, I gained more confidence to start my own business. One thing led to another, and Traci Biasotti Design was born!

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

My designs always root in a California casual aesthetic with clean lines, natural textures, sun washed colors, and a relaxed vibe. I appreciate classic elements, but I definitely like to mix them up with modern components. Therefore, I usually take a dualistic approach to design, whether it’s combining old and new, light and dark, or masculine and feminine. I think this creates a more interesting and elevated look.

You’ve lived and worked in many inspiring places such as San Francisco, New York, and Europe. What are some of the things that continue to inspire your design work from each location?

I grew up in the Bay Area, so San Francisco has always had a place in my heart. That carefree spirit inspires me to create relaxed designs that aren’t too pretentious. New York is just so alive and creative while at the same time being classic and timeless. As for Europe, I just love how it’s effortlessly chic and curated with both old and new.

You’ve said that your home should “rise up to greet you” – can you tell us a little more about what this means to you?

When I was home with my babies, I would watch The Oprah Winfrey Show, and she always said your home should “rise up to greet you.” I knew what she meant when I looked around at my messy house and felt like I was a mess, too. A home is a reflection on how you think of yourself. If it’s put together, comfortable, and shows your style, then it allows you to feel confident. If you walk in and hate everything, then it’s impossible to feel inspired and good about yourself.

What are a few things you do to set the tone before you begin a busy day at Traci Biasotti Design?

First and foremost, I need my coffee! Then after I get my kids fed and ready for school, I make my bed. It’s something easy that helps me feel put together. Then I do yoga or the Peloton to get in the right head space. Once I’m settled into my home office, I sometimes light a fire in the fireplace and my Santal Noir Candle by Brooklyn Candle Studio (which smells amazing) to relax and focus.

You run a successful design studio and are a mother of two. Do you have any tips for balancing – or blending – home life and work life for aspiring business owners?

Thank you very much for saying that! Sometimes it’s difficult to measure success, so a little validation goes a long way!

I would say what works best for me is defining what my values are and living a life that prioritizes those values through boundaries and time management. Burnout is real, and when I feel like I’m heading in that direction, I schedule some time off to recharge and re-prioritize.

Also, asking for help is essential. My husband is really good about filling in when I can’t get to things like grocery shopping, cooking, or picking up the kids. I wouldn’t be able to get half of my work done if it wasn’t for him!

What things do you consider when designing a functional, yet still beautiful, home for a family with little ones?

I would say the three things I consider are space planning, storage, and high performance fabrics. I always start with the layout to make sure the room can accommodate everyone who lives there. Then I make sure there is enough storage, like built-ins or encasement pieces, to hide toys. Sometimes clients need help editing down their stuff, too, so I will refer them to a professional organizer. Lastly, choosing the right materials is important to minimize stains and scratches. There are so many beautiful, high performance fabrics out there that it’s easy to find the right fit.

There is nothing that is foolproof, so I try to encourage my clients to not live in fear, but to embrace imperfection. A new, beautifully furnished room with a few marks is better than hanging on to old, outdated furniture that doesn’t fit or reflect your style.

You’ve said: “If it doesn’t bring you joy then why live with it?” We love this Marie Kondo spark joy approach! What are your suggestions for making a space create a little more joy when the budget doesn’t allow for a full renovation?

Many times it’s not what we can add to a space, but it’s what we can take away. Editing is so important! Take inventory of what you like and what you don’t like. Hanging on to something you don’t even like won’t bring back what you paid for it, so just let it go. If the budget doesn’t allow for a full renovation, start with smaller items and work your way up to a plan for upgrading larger items later.

During what was likely the most challenging year of all our careers, there was a lot of time to think through ways to pivot, what we value most, and the lives we want. With that in mind, what does the future of Traci Biasotti Design look like? What can we expect to see next in your journey?

I’ve always put my family first before my career. It’s just something that I’ve prioritized as I run my business, so I’m used to moments where I’ve had to pull back in order to be there for my kids. This year more than ever, I’ve had to be there for them, so I’ve invested in ways to work smarter. I would love to see my business grow through more outsourcing and collaborations. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it is how important people are, and how we can achieve more together than alone.

What’s your favorite part of the process of designing a client’s home?

I love the beginning and the end of a project. When I walk in for the first time to see the space, my instincts take over, and I usually know exactly what needs to happen to make the space work. I immediately try to write it down before I start over-thinking it. Then I love seeing the vision come to life, and more importantly, my client’s reaction after install. It’s such a nice moment of gratitude after putting in all the hard work.

As fellow self-professed design blog lovers, we want to know: What are your favorite design blogs to turn to for inspiration?

There are so many good ones out there now, but I would say my top five have not changed much throughout the years. The Haven List (of course!) is great for seeing new work from designers with a similar aesthetic. Eye Swoon and All Sorts Of are really good for beautiful, unique inspiration. Studio McGee is my go to for design tips (they can do no wrong!), and I really appreciate the Identité Collective for all their great business advice.

What does a well lived home mean to you?

A well lived home means it’s comfortable, functional, and reflects your personal style. It has a natural warmth through layers of cohesive textures and colors. It has comfortable furnishings that work together and provide functionality for everyone who lives there. It has personal elements like family photos, meaningful artwork, or coffee table books about favorite hobbies or interests. It’s also imperfectly styled because, let’s face it, nothing in real life is perfect! 

Love what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Interior Design and Styling: Traci Biasotti Design · Photography: Madeline Harper Photography · Construction: American Builders and Blueline Custom Cabinets · Architecture: BARRY | WYNN Architects

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