Meet Stefanie Mustian : Owner + Designer at Mustian A + D

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Quellus_letter_QHow do you describe your style of design?

A I love things that are comfortable but clean feeling. Modern but classic. Having a base of a “traditional design framework” and then using clean, modern elements helps make spaces feel timeless but also current. In general, it’s nice when buildings and roomsare a blank slate and the interchangeable furniture and fixtures are the things that rotate in and out and change with whim/time/new owners/etc. Ideally, buildings are around for generations, but the furnishings can constantly update, and in that spirit they should be timeless

Quellus_letter_Q   What made you want to get started in the design field? 

A  It’s interesting, but future architects tend to show signs that they would be suited for the design field at a young age. I was in fourth grade when I started pulling my mom’s ornamental houses off the shelves and drawing out what the floor plans were. It wasn’t long after that that I started my first of thousands of versions of “my dream house.”

Quellus_letter_Q What do you do in your spare time?

AI love working with my hands – it’s a great way to break up long days at the computer. So woodworking and pottery are great relaxing past times. I also love reading and going on adventures with my dogs (finding cool places for them to go hiking and swimming with the family). Weekend getaways to cute little towns with my husband are a treat I look forward to as well.

Quellus_letter_Q What are some of your favorite things? 

A I like keeping it simple. I’ve probably got too many books and magazine clippings, but I keep them organized and filed. I love being home and in my office where everything is comfortable and has its place. My happy dogs keep me happy during the work day, and cooking a nice dinner is a great way to wrap up the day. Yeah, simple things – they’re really the only things that one can’t take for granted.

Quellus_letter_Q What is a quote you live by?

A I love this Renaissance Man from from the 1400s named Leon Battista Alberti. Because he had numerous interests in addition to architecture, he included those interests in his book on Architecture called On the Art of Building. In it he talks about nature, harmony and proportion and how they all come together in a word he calls “concinnitas.” In summary, it is the perfection of all of the parts to the whole. As an architect we have to start large picture, then work down to the minutest detail. If we’re going to do our job right as designers and have the outcome be not only beautiful, but also feel right to everyone who uses/inhabits our spaces, we need to think of everything from the part to the whole and make sure they are in consonance with each other. It’s a big ask, but keeping that in the back of my mind tends to refocus me.

Quellus_letter_Q Your career “aha” moment– what made you know this is what you were meant to do? 

A My high school career test came back with the results that I should either be a woodworker, architect or engineer. To this day I can’t believe this, but the test result also said that architects are poorly paid and that I should consider that when making my career decision. With confusion (did this test just tell me not to do what I’m interested in?) I figured maybe I should explore pre-med since I was already volunteering at the local hospital. Driving home from an exhausting tour of colleges with my mother, she noticed something wasn’t right and prodded me a little further. She could tell I wasn’t really excited about the programs, especially after raising me and seeing me draw countless floor plans over the years. She convinced me to pursue my passion, and that with that passion for my work the money would come. To this day, I’m still so grateful that she noticed what got me excited and convinced me that was what I should be doing.

Quellus_letter_QWhat’s your scene when designing? Music? A location? What inspires you for your projects?

AWhen I need to focus and crank out work I love working on my favorite sofa with some of my favorite movies on in the background. Since I’ve seen them hundreds of times they don’t distract me, but make the environment comforting and more interesting. When I need to get creative I pop open every book, magazine and design page I’ve saved (I have binders full of imagery) and start spreading images out of the floor. Solving design problems is easier when you understand that someone has already been in your shoes before, and seeing how they solved things can help get your head in the right place. Tons and tons of really rough initial sketches get me further into the mood and off on the right foot.

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