It would be inaccurate to call young interior decorator and entrepreneur Francesca Grace “up and coming” after its television debut in March 2022 on HGTV Fix my flip. Sit has officially arrived. You may not have heard her name yet, but reality TV fans will recognize Grace’s work from Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She is the designer of Kyle Richards and Mauricio Umansky’s new home in the San Fernando Valley.
Grace has a signature style that outsiders would probably describe as maximalist and charming yet sophisticated. After being invited to Grace’s Los Angeles home and meeting her, it’s clear that her interior style is a reflection of her fiery personality.
Amanda Lawrence: When did you first want to become an interior designer?
Francesca Grace: When I was about five years old, my mom, who is a real estate agent, would take me to see her listings. I loved looking at houses and thinking of ways to improve them. I often helped her move furniture and decorate.
We also moved over 20 times during my childhood, which allowed me to get creative with each unique space. Later, I started to lend my creative eye to my father who needed help renovating his restaurants. That’s when I remember really starting to realize how much I loved arranging spaces, finding materials, and designing things to create beautiful environments.
After working for a directing company, I became extremely motivated to start my own directing business. Shortly after, I entered the world of interior design and started my own business, Francesca Grace Home.
Lauren: How would you define your style?
Grace: My personal style is maximalism that meets cottagecore with a touch of European vintage. However, when dealing with 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 beyond their comfort level. Design is about taking risks.
Lauren: What interesting projects have you worked on recently?
Grace: One of my favorite projects right now is working with Mauricio Umansky, Founder and CEO of The Agency, and Kyle Richards of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I first staged their home, which sold out at record speed, and from there I was hired to design and decorate their new home. It was a very enriching experience, not only because their style resembles mine, but also because they are an amazing family to work with.
Lauren: Tell me about your HGTV show.
Grace: Repair my Flip is a new series on HGTV where we help buyers repair a property they’re considering flipping. The cast includes Page Turner, Mitch Glew and myself, and we offer advice and expertise to homeowners on getting the best selling price for their home. I stage and design each home, ensuring the home is a unique property while staying true to its bones.
Lauren: How did the casting go ?
Grace: Initially, the casting director contacted me via Instagram for an interview. After the initial interview, I knew I was in contention 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 on-camera chemistry. Next thing I knew, I was filming on location!
Lauren: What were the hardest parts of filming the series?
Grace: One of the biggest challenges was trying to keep running my business while filming. I’m super practical and not being with my team has really affected me. It certainly took time management skills and patience to be able to balance my career and filming the show.
Lauren: What were the biggest design mistakes the owners made on the show?
Grace: Investing in a repairman without getting professional advice from a general contractor can be a serious and costly mistake. General contractors can easily spot issues such as foundation problems, which can be expensive (in addition to standard turnarounds) 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 that doesn’t mean the design has 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 focus on the art.
Mix patterns and prints that complement each other. Go bold with wallpaper and simpler with a selection of furniture. A key part of maximalism is bringing in pieces from different eras, like vintage mixed with contemporary, 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 essential.
Lauren: What are some of your favorite places to shop for furniture and decor right now?
Grace: i really like what CB2 has been doing lately. They are perfect for staying on trend while achieving a timeless selection of products.
I also like 1stDibs. I’m a big proponent of vintage and antique shopping and their diversity of products never ceases to excite and inspire me.
Flea markets are another exciting shopping experience, similar to 1stDibs. I love shopping for unique vintage finds, especially when I find them for a lot!
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.