Inspired by her grandmother Mary’s fabulous upholstery skills, Candace Mary Griffin realized early on that her eye for design was more than a passion. “From a young age, I appreciated a space that felt good and remember being really into the set design when watching movies,” she recalls. As a self-taught designer, Griffin had to learn to trust herself from the start. “I strive to create spaces that encourage people to stay awhile,” says the designer, who takes a friend’s advice to “stay flexible” to heart. “If I’m overwhelmed, I think back to that. It helps me come up with creative solutions.”
After decorating her own spaces and assisting friends, Griffin learned how to work under pressure during her experience working for a staging company in Chicago. "On the first day, they put me onto a job with no direction. It was scary but I also learned I thrive in those environments," she recalls. Letting go of the notion that everything must be figured out before moving forward, her experience working full-time in top staging and design firms offered Griffin a chance to get her career off the ground. She branched out to start her namesake, Candace Mary Interiors, in 2018.
"I think working hard to create opportunities for myself, sometimes before I felt “ready” has been one of the best things to get my career off the ground. The more I learned to trust myself, the more things started to take shape," says Griffin. With the ability to dance to the beat of her own drum, the Michigan-based designer doesn't miss a step.
Get to Know Candace Griffin:
What project are you the proudest of and why?
I’m proudest of the work I’ve done within my own homes. It’s special being able to live-in and experience the designs once they’re complete. Both homes were challenging with differing styles– 1920s Detroit historic home vs 1990s faux prairie with a lot of wooded trim. In both homes, I asked “what did I get myself into” but they both came together in a way that I’m proud of.
How do you want your clients to feel in their space?
I want them to feel excited to come home. And I want them to feel like it’s reflective of who they are and how they live.
What or who was your first design crush? Your current design crush?
Furniture stores were my first crush. I felt inspired walking into stores like HD Buttercup or CB2. It gives me life. There are so many but just to name a few: Kelly Wearstler, Corey Damen Jenkins, and Forbes Masters.
What’s your favorite room, anywhere, of all time, and why?
The first room that comes to mind was from a Detroit showhouse. It was the library in the historic 18,000 sq. foot Charles T. Fischer mansion designed by Jeanine Haith of Show House Interiors. It took your breath away when you walked in. Everything just worked. The color, the texture, the lighting, the artwork. It was calming yet powerful, they had to pull me out of there."
Where do you look for inspiration?
Travel, fashion, music. I try to find inspiration in everything.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
If I wasn’t a designer, I would love to be a D.J. I’m a huge music lover and love curating a good time.
For under $100—or even for free!—what decorating trick has the most impact?
Paint and lighting! There are so many affordable lighting options out there. Those two simple changes can give your space an entirely new feel.
What’s the first thing someone should do when they move into a new space?
Sage it and pop a bottle. You want to bring in the good vibes right away!
What’s overrated in decorating?
Playing it safe.
What’s underrated in decorating?
What do you think will be the defining design trend of 2022?
I think we’re going to continue to see curvature and lots of color.
What’s your favorite—and why?
Thing to collect:
Records, I find so much inspiration in music!
Snowbound by Sherwin Williams. It works with everything
Artist or piece of art:
Ijania Cortez. She’s a friend and her use of color is everything.
Local shopping destination:
Italy–I love the food and the culture.
Decor item you buy from Amazon:
Cabinet Hardware and inexpensive frames.
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