may 29, 2017

A Minnesota Interior Design Studio Tour

A Tour of Our Newly Expanded Interior Design Studio

Why Mendota Heights

We are so excited to share with you today our studio tour!

4 years ago, a year after I started Bria Hammel Interiors, I moved into our studio space in Mendota Heights, just outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. I often get asked why I didn’t move into International Market Square, the design center in Minneapolis. When I talk about work/life balance, this is exactly how I do it. Living 3 minutes from my studio, and being 5 minutes away from my children’s school allows me to switch from mom to business owner in the matter of minutes. I can quickly swing by my son’s classroom for a party, meet a landscaper for a meeting at our house as we slowly work on our massive yard, or on the weekends swing into the office for an hour to get some work done.

Where Our Studio Started

When I first moved into our studio, it was a little over 1000 square feet. It seemed massive. I had no idea what to do with all the space, but it was the smallest office available at the time so I took it. At that time, I had 1 not quite full time assistant. We quickly hired a part time book keeper and then there were 3.

I loved our studio. There was space, it was pretty, and Louie loved to play here for hours!

About 6 months in, we realized that as beautiful as an open space is, Interior Designers have a lot of “stuff”. We needed more storage, and a place we didn’t have to look at everything. So we added a large storage closet.

Phase 2, Our First Expansion

1 year later, our team had grown. I had 2 assistants, a full time book keeper, and myself. We were starting to burst at the seems, and holding client meetings in an open space became somewhat challenging.

So, we decided to expand {click here to see a post about our expansion design}. Luckily no one had leased the empty space next to our studio, so there was room to grow. We left a dividing wall up, added french doors that led into the new space. We were able to keep a waiting area / mini showroom for our clients to see product. In addition to the showroom space, we added another storage closet, a conference room and a private office for me. This was definitely a game changer for us! We were able to multi task, hold multiple meetings at one time, and had room to grow.

Most of our studio is white, but we installed this faux boxwood wall in our entry to make a statement when our clients first arrive. The goal is to someday have our logo made and hung on the wall, but for now we have fun moving things around and using it as a backdrop for things.

Phase 3, Our Most Recent Expansion

2 years later, again we were ready for an expansion. Needing even more storage space, more room for desks, and dying for a kitchen (for the first 3 years we had to run down the hall to the bathroom to get any sort of water or use of a sink… it wasn’t pretty.

A lot of planning went into the space. Main priorities? Large storage closet, room for multiple desks, adding another private office for our Business Manager, and adding a kitchen of our very own.

Our poor team had to live thru a pretty rough remodel last summer, and they were such good sports! We crammed everyone into our small conference room as our old space got a major facelift. the adjoining wall on the opposite side of the studio was brought down {we were lucky enough to have the neighboring business move out the year before allowing us to once again expand the studio}.

The result? A beautiful, white, bright studio space with ample amounts of storage, large working tables, and a beautiful new kitchen.


Unfortunately when we did the 2nd expansion the floors we had originally installed were discontinued, so we had to start over. We chose a Mannington commercial vinyl product that has the look of wood, and installed them in a herringbone pattern to give our space a more residential feel.

We had fun with the light fixture in Kari’s office. Using one of our favorite go to lights, the Darlana, we had it powder coated in a soft pink that matched our brand.


We display as many design trends as possible to help our clients visualize while we are meeting in our space. One design concept we use a lot is mixing metals. In our studio, we have brass, bronze, polished nickel and polished chrome all in one large space. It adds layers of color and makes the space feel more collected.

In our kitchen we included 3″ floating shelves with a shiplap backsplash. One of our favorite countertops, Cambria, is installed in our kitchen in the Brittanica colorway. We designed the cabinets with inset doors and drawers, a popular cabinet style. We included a hidden coffee and toaster pull out that we incorporate into many of our kitchen designs.

When I first started dreaming of our new space, my goal was to create an environment that feels like home. We spend a lot of time in this studio, and I wanted this to be a special place for my team to come and feel comfortable, while encouraging creativity and organization.


After expanding the studio last summer, we’ve been creative with how we use our space. I intentionally designed an expansive workspace to accommodate a fast growing team. Over the last six months, we have gone from three studio desks to six {even though some of our designers are more comfortable designing on the floor!}.

What’s in Store for the Future

I can’t say how long we will be able to stay in this space. We are growing fast right now and somehow we keep quickly needing more room. But for now, this space is truly our home away from home.

Here are a few links to some of our favorite items in our studio!



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  • Jillian May 30, 2017, 8:27 am

    Interested in desks and file storage for my personal office. Please share if willing! The officeis beautiful. exactly what I am needing!

    • Bria Hammel May 30, 2017, 10:28 am

      Send us an email to and we can send you the links!

  • Paige May 31, 2017, 4:25 am

    Is that wallpaper is Kari's office? If so, can you share the brand?

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