It would be inaccurate to call young interior designer and entrepreneur Francesca Grace “up and coming” after her television debut in March 2022 on HGTV’s Fix My Flip. She has officially arrived. You may not have heard her name yet, but reality television fans will recognize Grace’s work from Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She is the designer of Kyle Richards’ and Mauricio Umansky’s new San Fernando Valley home.
Grace has a signature style that outsiders would likely describe as maximalist and charming yet sophisticated. After being invited into Grace’s Los Angeles home and meeting her, it’s clear her interior style is a reflection of her spirited personality.
Amanda Lauren: When did you first want to become an interior designer?
Francesca Grace: When I was around five years old, my mom, who is a real estate agent, would take me to her listings. I loved looking at homes and thinking about ways to improve them. I would often help her move the furniture around and help decorate.
We also moved over 20 times during my childhood, which enabled me to get creative in each unique space. Later on, I started lending my creative eye to my dad who needed some help renovating his restaurants. That’s when I remember really starting to realize how much I enjoyed fixing up spaces, sourcing materials, and design elements to create beautiful environments.
After working for a staging company, I became extremely motivated to start my own business in the staging world. Shortly thereafter, I moved into the interior design world and started my own company, Francesca Grace Home.
Lauren: How would you define your style?
Grace: My personal style is maximalism meets cottagecore with a touch of European vintage. However, when I’m catering to clients I am very adaptable and can understand what they are looking for. But no matter what, I always try to push them a little past their comfort level. Design is all about taking risks.
Lauren: What are some interesting projects you’ve worked on recently?
Grace: Currently, one of my favorite projects is working with Mauricio Umansky Founder and CEO of The Agency, and Kyle Richards from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I first staged their home, which sold at a record speed, and from there I was hired to design and decorate their new home. It’s been a very rewarding experience, not only because their style resembles my own personal style, but because they are such a wonderful family to work with.
Lauren: Tell me about your HGTV show.
Grace: Fix my Flip is a new series on HGTV where we help buyers fix up a property they plan to flip. The cast includes Page Turner, Mitch Glew, and myself, and we offer advice and our expertise to the homeowners to garner the best selling price for their home. I stage and design each home, ensuring that the home is its own unique property while staying true to its bones.
Lauren: What was the casting process like?
Grace: Initially, the casting director reached out to me via Instagram for an interview. After the initial interview, I knew I was in the running with several other interior designers. The next step was an in-person, on-camera, compatibility test with Page Turner. We hit it off and the production team loved our chemistry on camera. Next thing I knew, I was on-site filming!
Lauren: What were the most challenging parts of filming the show?
Grace: One of the biggest challenges was trying to keep running my company while filming. I am super hands-on and not being around my team really affected me. It definitely took some time management skills and patience to be able to balance my career and filming for the show.
Lauren: What were some of the biggest design mistakes the homeowners made on the show?
Grace: Investing in a fixer-upper without getting professional advice from a general contractor can be a big and expensive mistake. General contractors can easily spot things like foundation issues, which can be costly (on top of standard flips) and time-consuming.
Lauren: Any tips for creating a maximalist space without it being too over the top?
Grace: Creating a maximalist space is all about being abundant in decor, prints, textures, and colors, but it doesn’t mean that the design needs to be overwhelming. It’s all about balance and flow. The trick is really to make everything feel cohesive. Keep your walls a neutral color and go heavy on the art.
Mix patterns and prints that complement each other. Go bold with wallpaper and more simple with furniture selection. A key component to maximalism is to bring in pieces from different eras, like vintage mixed with contemporary, in order to create a more unique atmosphere. The main thing to keep in mind is that this is your home, so keeping things personal and comfortable is key.
Lauren: What are some of your favorite spaces to shop for furniture and decor right now?
Grace: I really love what CB2 has been doing lately. They are great at staying on trend while achieving a timeless selection of products.
I also love 1stDibs. I am a big advocate of vintage and antique shopping and their product diversity never fails to excite and inspire me.
Another exciting shopping experience, similar to 1stDibs, is flea markets. I love shopping for vintage unique finds, especially when I find them for a great deal!
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.