Mia Belotti, the designer behind Maison Warehouse, an interior and exterior design store and licensed Summer Classics and Gabby dealer in Sterling, Virginia, shares info about how she got her start, what the shop offers, design tips and current trends.
Q. How did you get your start?
Mia: My family opened Maison Warehouse as Maison et Jardin, Ltd. in 1998. My mom and dad originally started the store to help furnish and complete my dad’s amazing landscape designs. We used to travel to my dad’s home country of France to bring back antiques and accessories to complete the vision of his projects.
Q. We love your new space!
Mia: Thank you! After being in a strip mall for 10 years, we finally moved to our own warehouse building in 2014. We rebranded to encompass more indoor and outdoor lines to keep up with our growing business. Our focus has grown beyond simple landscapes to design/build and construction of additions and designer renovations inside and outside the home.
We have over 4,000 square feet of showroom space inside, and we have even more outside. We have two sides to our shop. The boutique has about 1600 sq ft. We have also a big section of the warehouse with painted concrete floors and exposed ceilings to feature more of our furnishings.
Q. What are the keys to creating a lived-in look and a well-layered interior or outdoor room?
Mia: Accessories! Designers know that accessories really make a house a home. Well-curated art (and the placement of it), greenery, and design accents really help to change a room. Soft goods like pillows, throws, and a nice area rug help unify a space with color and texture.
Q. What are some specific reasons clients shop your store for Summer Classics products?
Mia: Many of our customers come to us for Summer Classics after completing their exterior design projects. We have a lot of repeat business from clients who are adding on to existing collections or updating fabrics on their SC furniture that they have had for years. We even have customers buy outdoor fabrics by the yard from Summer Classics and have us recover their indoor sofas and chairs so they are more durable.
Q. What’s a favorite Summer Classics line (or two, or three)? Why?
Mia: This season I am really into the Coast Collection. I love the new take on teak! The white sling and early modern flair make it particularly beautiful. I also really dig the new Slate Gray color on Rustic wicker. The depth and variegated tones in the finish are intriguing.
Q. You also carry Gabby, our indoor line. What draws customers to Gabby?
Mia: Our Gabby customers and designers love to come in and get inspired with our store vignettes and pull their spaces together with unique and stylish furnishings. The Gabby Tailored Collection has been very well received. Clients find great value in the intricate detail and designs that come standard on the Tailored pieces. All of the “upgrades” that set custom/ fine upholstery apart from mass production are included in Gabby tailored pieces. Look for nailhead trim, upgraded seat cushions, and a fabulous array of quality family-friendly fabrics.
Q. What are some of the most popular GABBY products people shop for in your store?
Mia: Gabby lighting is hot! The style and price point make it unbeatable. From traditional with a twist to contemporary, the transitional styles offer something for everyone. Each piece is well crafted and adds charm to any room. Check out three new Gabby items below: From Left: Adler Chandelier (available 9/22/2016), Erin Lamp and Nora Floorlamp (available 9/22/2016).
Q. Do you also serve both retail clients and interior designers?
Mia: We do! We know these sisters (and brothers) in the industry often work from home and are independents that love coming to us for our great prices we offer as well as our service. We have our own warehouse and delivery crew that receives, unpacks, and sets up special ordered items. That is a huge value to local designers who don’t always have staff or large vehicles to transport and set up for them. We also have a large inventory for when they need to pick up a few things to pull a room together and they like having a local resource that is willing and able to help.
Q. Tell us about your design services.
Mia: I am the lead designer on staff, but we also have three other ladies that have experience passion and talent for design that help. Everyone has something unique to offer. We do not have a workroom on site, but we do custom paint furniture on site. We do a lot of customization from painting furniture to draperies to upholstery to wallpaper.
Q. If someone is on a budget, what pieces do you recommend buying first? Second? Third?
Mia: Sometimes you just have to get rid of that floral sofa from 1994. It’s never the same for everyone. If you are starting from scratch I would say start with a good sofa and art. Next, get the rug and the chairs. If you can’t afford the accent table, find some old piece at a thrift shop and paint it. There are always ways to pull a look together on any budget.
Q. We love that you offer classes! What a great way to get people into the store!
Our workshops are mostly geared around Chalk Paint® but so much about the paint filters into design, up-cycling, and home renovation. One of our more popular classes is Cabinetry Painting. Many people are looking for ways to update their homes without costly renovations and this workshop is great for people selling their homes as well as people who just bought new homes. We teach how to achieve different looks with the paint from the smooth modern finish to the rustic chippy look so there is something for everyone.
Q. Do Sterling, Virginia homes / clients have a certain look, ie: do they trend traditional or contemporary?
Mia: Many Virigina homes lean towards traditional design and are moving in a transitional direction. The vintage farmhouse or cottage look has taken off in our area because of its relaxed, casual, and family-friendly -it’s-ok-if-my-kids-touch-this distressed look. I have some younger clients that are more into the urban chic style with clean lines.
Q. What do you see trending now?
Mia: Metallic accents are very popular. I love stone and gold in combination with rustic woods. I love white. I love shades of white in wall colors and textiles and upholstery, and I love black walls! I’m also feeling emerald green these days. I’m usually such a blue person and I habitually gravitate to aqua, navy, ice blue, but green is coming around the corner.
Q. Anything else you would like readers to know about you?
Mia: I’m a busy mom of two little boys, I put my heart into my work and never take no for an answer. I chose to be closed on Sundays so I make sure I have a worry-free day when I don’t have to think about business and I can focus on my family. The most important gift I can give my family is my time. After long days at the shop I still pick my son up from his after school program and come home and cook dinner for my family. We always sit together at the kitchen table before we rush to bath story and bedtime.
Mia Belotti, Designer/ General Manager
21558 Stonetree Ct
Sterling, VA 20166