Industry Experts

Interview with Candice Olson

May 15, 2024

Our team recently sat down with Candice Olson to discuss her celebrated work in interior design, from her HGTV transformations to her innovative approach blending organic elegance with modern flair. Known for warmth, natural materials, and creative use of light and space, Candice shared her journey from early art passions to a successful design career. Join us in exploring the creative world of Candice Olson and her inspiring designs.

MDC: Candice, thanks for sitting down with us today! So, tell us: did you know from an early age that you had a knack for design?

Candice: I was always very good at art — drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. But, I honestly just didn’t have the fortitude to pursue a career as a struggling artist. I wanted a more stable and diverse profession. Interior design ticked the art, planning and construction boxes and was the perfect fit!

MDC: What is your favorite kind of project to design and why?

Candice: I think people know me most for transforming dated and dysfunctional homes on HGTV. However, my company has a design/build focus and we specialize in ground-up construction. I love having total control of the complete design of a home — figuring out how to orient the structure and its spaces to best capitalize on sunlight and sightlines. We go right down to the details, too, specifying interior finishes, furnishings and other accents.

“Design is an investment in time, energy and money. It is my job as a designer to ensure clients get the best return on that investment.”

MDC: Of all of your designs in the MDC Candice Olson collection, can you pick a favorite? Or a few top contenders?

Candice: My pattern Regalwood contrasts the warmth of wood with a subtle modern metallic accent. It’s the look of Mother Nature getting her glam on, and she’s a beauty! Pure organic elegance.

MDC: Do you have a design mantra, and if so, what is it?

Candice: Design is an investment in time, energy and money. It is my job as a designer to ensure clients get the best return on that investment. And, spend your client’s money as if it were your own!

MDC: What have you learned from your time filming design-related shows for HGTV? Would you suggest taking this or a similar route for up-and-coming designers?

Candice: Renovations are, to say the least, challenging and stressful at the best of times. Throwing in an entire television crew with production deadlines and broadcast schedules, let’s just say, had me questioning my sanity more than once!
I had worked for several contract design firms and had been running my own successful company for almost 15 years before I was approached to do my own show. I think that experience and authenticity was what resonated with viewers and was one of the big reasons why we were such a hit. Viewers could see that I was a “real deal” designer and not just a TV personality… thank goodness for editing!
I certainly think TV is a great platform to get your work out there, but with the explosion of social media, there’s so many more options now.

MDC: How has your interior design style influenced your own personal style, fashion and accessory choices?

Candice: I think there is an easy, everyday elegance that permeates both my interior design and my personal style. I gravitate towards a look that is rooted in natural materials and is casual in nature, with elements of glamour that help to refine the relaxed and rustic.

MDC: Outside of design, what else do you enjoy spending your time doing?

Candice: I love to stay active — biking, hiking, running, skiing, tennis. Frankly, any sport with a ball, too. I think I must have been a golden retriever in a previous life!

MDC: Before we wrap up, can you leave us with your favorite appetizer recipe? Or a go-to, tried-and-true recipe for a potluck that you love?

Candice: Oh, Curtis Stone’s watermelon and mint salad is my go-to. It is so fast and easy. I like to add a ½ cup of cubed feta cheese to it when my feta-phobic husband isn’t on the guest list!