Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Tonight’s Meet a Mom is Mandy Riggar, Mom of Elliott and owner of the interior design firm, Mandy Riggar Interiors. She shares with us what precipitated her move to CT, why she is now an official Connecticut devotee and how she shifted from the interiors industry, to Nike and now to entrepreneurship.
Inspired by Danish and Australian Design, Mandy Riggar Interiors is a boutique residential and commercial interior design firm, specializing in whole-home renovations, whole-home furnishings and female founded brands. They are on a mission to create unapologetically joyful spaces for our community – and she shares with us some ways she loves to do this, including wallpaper, color and vintage pieces!
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself personally? Names/ages of kids, etc.?
Hi! I’m Mandy – new to Greenwich and owner of my interior design firm, Mandy Riggar Interiors. My husband and I just moved to the east coast from the west coast with our 3.5 year old little boy, Elliott. I was born & raised in the Pacific Northwest, and my husband is also from the West Coast. We love Portland for many, many reasons, but we wanted to say yes to the chance at a new adventure. My husband received an incredible job offer based in Manhattan and after running my studio for 5 years in Portland, I was thrilled to have NYC + Greenwich as my design playground. We decided to take a leap of faith as a family and so far, are truly loving it here.
Where do you live in Greenwich and what do you love about Greenwich and your neighborhood/ how long have you been there?
We moved in January 2023 – we’re fresh! We landed in Cos Cob and love how family-centric this neighborhood is. We also love that it’s right in-between Greenwich Ave & Old Greenwich, both areas we’re spending a lot of time exploring! We fell in love with the access to nature in Connecticut, particularly the beach & trails. We also love the easy + quick access to NYC and all that New England has to offer. We are officially Connecticut devotees now. 😊
For those of us who aren’t familiar, how would you describe Mandy Riggar Interiors and what makes it unique?
Mandy Riggar Interiors is a boutique residential and commercial interior design firm, specializing in whole-home renovations, whole-home furnishings and female founded brands. We’re on a mission to create unapologetically joyful spaces for our community. We started in Portland, Oregon, are currently based in Greenwich/NYC and serve clients coast-to-coast.
Our commercial focus has always been female-founded small businesses. We work hand-in-hand with women founders launching their business to create their interior brand identity & execute this vision throughout their commercial or franchise buildout. We’ve worked with fitness studios, female coworking spaces, stationary boutiques, wellness spas, and more!
Can you please share about your professional background and career highlights – how did you come to start Mandy Riggar Interiors?
I received my bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and worked in the industry for a fantastic design/build firm in Portland for 5 years. I shifted from the interiors industry to work in client project management at a creative agency and then retail brand strategy for Nike. However, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and always knew I’d work for myself one day. Eventually, my passion for both interior design and entrepreneurship led me to starting my own firm. I quit my corporate job on my 30th birthday and haven’t looked back since.
What are some design trends you’re loving (both for living spaces and commercial spaces)?
Color & wallpaper! I think color is making a comeback after years of a neutral palette dominating the design scene. Wallpaper has long been loved by our industry, but the accessibility of direct-to-consumer wallpaper brands (and removable!) has brought it back to the forefront.
If someone would like to work with you, can you please describe the process?
In short, we handle everything for you, and we have fun while we’re at it. We focus on your client experience as much as we focus on creating a bold, unexpected design unique to each of our clients. Our spreadsheets and client processes are just as robust as our creative mood boards and material palettes. We work in tandem with architects + builders on renovation projects, from the very beginning to the very end of construction. We procure and install all furniture + décor, handling the logistics the entire way. We also work with a range of localized makers to global brands while sourcing for both renovation & furniture projects. Our goal is to deliver a design that makes you joyful every day, created with feel-good products and to do so with as minimal stress as possible. It’s possible, I promise!
What is your absolute favorite design tip or trick when working with private homes?
Vintage anything! You can never beat the charm of adding a vintage rug to a space or a vintage mirror to a freshly renovated bathroom. That, and a fresh coat of white paint is a true game-changer! My go-to is Benjamin Moore Simply White.
What do you find the most challenging and most rewarding parts of being a designer?
The most rewarding part of designing client spaces is the long-term positive impact their new home has on their daily happiness. To have a space that functions exactly how you need it to and is filled with design elements you love, absolutely contributes to feeling at peace each day. The most challenging is the seemingly endless delays in construction or furniture, which prevents our clients from getting to the most rewarding part!
Favorite project that you have completed?
I love designing vacation homes! Clients are always extra excited & a bit more relaxed; there seems to be less pressure with a vacation home than a primary home. Clients are also more willing to take design risks. I just finished a killer powder bathroom as part of a larger vacation home project…we used a dark & dramatic beetle wallpaper with a forest green concrete pedestal sink, a custom mirror and a funky brass sconce. It’s WOW!
I’m also feeling nostalgic for our personal home in Portland, which we just sold to a lovely new family. It was my husband and my first home together – over 10 years we renovated nearly every inch of that home. It started as a classic 1960’s half-traditional, half-midcentury ranch at 1500 sq ft, and ended as a contemporary mid-century 2500 sq ft home. It’s full of our memories from such a pivotal point of our lives – that home will forever have a place in my heart. A home tour is online here!
Any designers/ aesthetics that inspire your work?
I love both Danish design and Australian design. I find both cultures incorporate color, modern-style and a bit of funkiness without feeling cold, nor over-the-top. Travel is always my favorite way to feel inspired. I love getting out of whatever little bubble I’m in and reminded how big & beautiful the world is!
How do you find a balance with motherhood and your incredible career as an interior designer and entrepreneur?
I found early on in my journey that I work best within strict boundaries for myself. I hold firm business hours and try to rarely work outside these hours – and if I do, it’s me catching up or spontaneously feeling creative, it’s never client meetings, site visits, etc. I communicate these standards and expectations with clients at the beginning of our project together; the respect is mutual on our time together. Having boundaries lets me be 100% present at whatever I am doing; whether working, being with my kid each day, being present with my family & friends, or unplugging on a vacation.
Any tips for the rest of the Moms out there?
If you don’t make the time for yourself, no one else will. Find whatever brief moment of solitude you need each day and guard it fiercely. Take that vacation – with your family, with your girlfriends, without your kid(s)! It won’t be easy, but it never will be. There will always be reasons to say no, but there will always be reasons to say yes too (I apply this mantra to many areas of life!).
Always, always try to be as gracious with yourself as you are with your best girlfriends. It’s easy to tell your best friend she’s doing a great job at juggling it all; tell yourself this too.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Random Facts: I’m an avid traveler and am always up for an adventure! I married my high-school sweetheart and we just celebrated our 11 year wedding anniversary by renewing our vows at the top of Sun Valley mountain while skiing (in formal wedding wear!). I cannot cook to save my soul, but if you need help with your Profit & Loss Report, call me.
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places when you are in Greenwich to:
Grab coffee: Coffee for Good! We love a good bakery + coffee shop. Plus, the company mission is wonderful and the building is gorgeous too. 😉
Workout: Kaia Yoga every week with Rachel. She’s hilarious and a great yoga instructor.
Go on a date night: East End!
Go out for a girls night: Anywhere with wine & a beautiful interior 😉 Happy Monkey is a fun vibe!
Go out to dinner as a family: The Little Pub, or as my 3.5 year old calls it “the club!” Delish pub food, great service, super cozy vibe with the fire and always full of other kiddos.
Get your hair done: Indulge Salon in Old Greenwich
Get your nails done: Coco Nails Salon, which I found from reading another Meet-a-Mom blog post!
Have fun as a family: Tod’s Point Beach or Pomerance Park. We love being outside year-round and both of these parks provide endless adventures for our family (the dog included!).