We had the good fortune of connecting with Mandy Straight and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mandy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I attribute the success of my business to making my business about the client, not about myself. To me, the fascinating part of my work is that each job is unique to the people who live in the space. I’m not designing their house for me, I’m looking through their eyes to create the place they come home to where they create moments and memories, The goal is to remind them who they are, what they love in life and how beautiful each moment is – even amid the chaos of the everyday. Any choices I make with my clients are to support that focus. I’m always asking, “How do you want to feel when you walk in the door? What do you want this room to help you do more of?
No client is one thing, like modern or traditional, each of us is a rich combination of elements – a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and probably a good handful of other elements too. I’m not trying to make some design statement for my own vision, my focus is to create homes that remind each client who they are – and who they want to become.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve learned that life is more beautiful when I include all the different parts of myself. It can be so easy to feel like I need to look perfect and polished in order for others (and myself) to see me as ‘professional’ or ‘acceptable’. When I let go of that and embrace my silly, absurd, flawed, whole self, I get to fall in love with those parts of myself too. I have reminders set up in my In my home and also in my daily routine so I don’t get too serious. I want to remember to laugh WITH myself as I go through this juicy human experience. I encourage that for my clients as well. We’re not designing a magazine cover, we’re shaping the environment for your life to happen. And if that less ‘perfect’ and more whole it can nourish all of who you are. When I embrace laughter and messiness, my home and my life both feel more happy and more full.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a die hard foodie. When I travel, I feel like that’s a major part of how I experience a culture and place. Right now, things are a little different with Covid, but typically I love a good speakeasy. My favorites are Williams & Graham and B&GC for both the ambiance and the true mixologists that cater to what I call my “80 year old man” liquor tastes (anything that tastes like campfires and gym socks). I just tried a new place called Famille in Westminster and fell in love. All the dishes we tried were delicious and the interior was beautiful (I’m of course a sucker for a gorgeous, inviting ambiance). Other go-to’s are Barcelona, Fish+Beer, Mister Oso, The Pig and the Sprout and Woody Fisher. I’m always on the hunt for something new. Aside from restaurants, Union Station and Red Rocks are a must. I feel like they embody the optimistic, free-thinking vibe of Denver so well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people I am fortunate to have in my life. They’ve supported me and seen me, loved me and held me accountable. I will be forever grateful that they continuously help me to discover the person I already am. There are two people who stands out above the rest. My partner Rob Bruce, who somehow has committed to navigating our life lessons together even when it gets at the deepest, toughest stories and fears that we have. He is the strongest man I’ve ever known and I value every second I get to share with him.
The second is a woman who both comforts and challenges me. Dawn Bower is giving, loving and inspiring on the next level. She holds the big picture and the little moments all at the same time. I’ve never met anyone as supportive and present. She’s both my inspiration and my kick in the pants when I need to get out of my own head. Dawn does Neuroplasticity coaching and founded Mobile Lighthouse, an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) coaching collective helping clients to get out of their own way to live a life that is fulfilling and enjoyable.
First 4 photos (with striped top): Britt Nemeth, Britt Nemeth Studios, http://www.brittnemethstudios.com/ Photo of my living room (with striped rug): Bryan Grant, Pixil Studio, https://www.pixilstudio.com/ TEDx Photo thanks to TEDx Mile High