Meet March’s TCK Feature: Megan Metcalf of MaeMae Studios.
I was introduced to Megan back in 2014 when I was pregnant with Ella and wanted to do a maternity photo shoot. She was highly recommended and I immediately saw why! So fun and sweet and she got amazing pictures at a really special time for us.
What I didn’t know at the time is that Megan is also an Interior Designer. Her business, MaeMae Studios, is her main focus these days, along with her husband and three beautiful kids. Megan’s got great taste, a bold & colorful design style (you’ve got to check out her Instagram, @maemaestudios), and great tips for Spring that I’m so pleased to share with all of you now. Enjoy.
Hello Megan! Thank you so much for agreeing to be featured in the March Issue of The Curated Notebook.
Thank you so much for asking me to be a part of this!
I didn’t tell you this but when I first decided to feature other women on my blog, you were actually one of the first people I thought of. And then you posted a beautiful picture and story about your son that really inspired me and I thought my readers would love to hear from you as well. But before we get into all of that, tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
My family and I live North of Atlanta, on your way to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I actually knew pretty early on that I wanted to go to school for Interior Design and I was able to work in high school for a wholesale shop, so I was surrounded by designers all day. But after college, I didn’t immediately go into the field.
I doubted my abilities and other life choices lead me down another path for a while. However, after a divorce I knew I had to prove to myself I could make money doing design. I worked at a furniture store as a design consultant for four years before marrying my husband.
How did you and your husband meet?
We met rowing for Georgia State University where we had practice every morning at 4:30am on the Chattahoochee River.
4:30?! Must really be true love. And now you have 3 kids!
I know! Starting our family didn’t come easy but while my husband was in Grad School at UConn, we met some amazing people who introduced us to our birth mom. Becoming parents through adoption is such an honor and if you were to ask me who my hero is, it would be Birth-Moms.
Our middle child came to us when we finally found the right doctor. Fun fact: she weighed ten and a half pounds and I had a natural water birth.
Oh wow, major props to you. You just described my nightmare!
Well I figured I had worked so hard to get pregnant that I wanted to feel and be aware of every moment of delivery.
And now you have such a cute little boy.
Our baby boy came to us when we least expected it and little did we know that he was born with a disability. We found out when he was five months old that he has Microcephaly- which is a medical condition where the brain doesn’t develop properly. He’ll be two in April but he’s developmentally at the age of a 3-4 month old. Which means I still get ALL the cuddles! He has THE best smile and you can’t be mad or upset when you’re around him.
That is so sweet. And strong. How do you balance all of this and your business?
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a balance 100% of the time. However, I’m really lucky to have clients that understand I’m a mom first.
That is really lucky- to get to prioritize the people you love and do the creative things you love. What inspired you to turn this creative passion into a business?
I meddled with a business before and after my husband’s schooling, you know, just doing photography. It wasn’t until my husband lost his job that really pushed me over the edge to include design. And not even three weeks after I made this decision, a client I had worked with for years called and said, “Please tell me you’re still doing design!”
Yep, we ended up remodeling her office, kitchen, and bathrooms.
That sounds like a really big project. How do you know where to start, even?
One great starting point is asking yourself, “What is the purpose of this room?” If you are starting with nothing, find a rug first and work around it. Next, I always ask what’s the focal point and work around that piece/object. Once you add key pieces that you LOVE and that will serve you well, the room takes on its own personality and gives you direction (instead of the other way around). And it’s okay if the only purpose of an item is to bring you joy!
Well that’s definitely a relief for me- there are so many things I keep just because they make me happy. And I’m sure finding pieces and shopping around would be my favorite part of your job. Do you have favorite home decor stores you always use?
Thrift stores, antique stores, and HomeGoods. For myself, my most favorite is shopping my own home (or my mom’s basement!) and creating a happy space with the “crap” I had already. #usethecrapyougot
Excellent hashtag and philosophy! What’s your personal design style for your home, what does your happy space look like?
This is such a fun question because I love so many different styles. As designers, it can be really hard to narrow down your style in your own home. But I do love color, antiques, comfort, textures, and bold patterns. And anything sentimental- like a family heirloom or something special from a trip or kids art. My husband and I buy a plate every anniversary to put on our kitchen wall and it just adds to the cozy, colorful vibe I’m going for in my home.
I just love things that are imperfect– shows that we’re living in our home. My table top is always covered in paint and marker art that bleach can’t get out.
That’s something I’m trying to be better about. I love decorating my home and having everything in its proper place but I also want my kids to have fun and be kids.
There’s definitely a balance. My hope is that my girls will remember all the art and messes we made.
Do you have a favorite type of space to decorate?
I love kid spaces- bedrooms and playrooms! I can break any sort of “rules” in these spaces. Except space planning- I never break that rule!
Oh, what it space planning?
Space planning determines where each key piece in the room belongs or fits properly. Key pieces can be anything from a sofa, rug, chair, tv console, etc. And I say I never break this rule but here’s a little secret… each room has its own rules!
Okay so there’s something I didn’t know! Interior design is a creative endeavor but you definitely have to develop the talent for it. Do you have any tips for people looking to do a spring refresh of their homes?
Great question! First thing is to always declutter. Like Marie Kondo says to do- ask if the the item sparks JOY. But if that still doesn’t help, ask if it’s serving a purpose in your home and if it is, then ask how it can be made better. You can also try painting the room a new color or moving decor around to new spots.
My two main design tips are these: don’t be afraid. Just start and the room will take on a personality of it’s own, which sometimes means being patient to find the right piece at the right price point. And secondly, if you REALLY love a piece and only buy pieces you REALLY love- somehow it usually works together in the same space.
That’s great advice. It sounds like your profession as a designer and much of your journey really have centered around confidence. Just start, just go for it, don’t be afraid– which really apply to everything. What do you wish you had known when you were first starting out?
Oh all of the things. I’m still learning so much because business doesn’t come naturally to me. I mean, I have a creative business, you know? But it would have to be absolute clarity on who I am and what I can and will do for a client.
I love that. Because you’re a mom first, like you said, but also because knowing who you are helps you run your business. It’s an asset. I really am in awe of just your talent and your perspective on design and business. Thank you so much again for joining The Curated Kids this month.
To keep up with Megan, check her out on Instagram at @maemaestudios.
And if you’d like to be featured in The Curated Notebook, just email firstname.lastname@example.org