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Maite Granda Entered the World of Interior Design at Age 39 and Never Looked Back

Interior Designer Maite Granda has embraced Houzz Pro, which she says has made her company more efficient.

Stephan Rabimov

Maite Granda’s journey into interior design took many turns. She lived in various countries and  worked in the hospitality industry for 17 years before she found her way into interior design at the age of 39, realizing a dream she had had since she was a young girl. But Granda doesn’t discard her previous life experience — rather, she uses it to her advantage. She now owns a renowned luxury design company, which celebrates her stylish mix of Spanish culture, modernism and zen.  

Granda, who was born in Cuba, moved with her family to Madrid when she was 12, arriving in the U.S. when she was 18. She initially studied hospitality, working in the industry in New York before moving to Miami to start her own travel and tourism company. “I was a tour operator for South America, mostly Machu Picchu, and all these interesting places in South America,” she says. She was forced to close the company when the recession hit in 2007. Recently remarried and with her daughter off to college, Granda chose to take advantage of her fresh start and went back to school to study interior design.

“[Interior design] was what I always dreamed of doing when I graduated high school,” Granda says, “but my father said, ‘Who do you know who’s rich, that you can design the house for?’ ” Granda notes that in those days, interior design was seen as a service for the elite, where you had to have wealthy friends and connections to succeed. Granda praises sites like Houzz for changing the perception of the interior design industry and connecting professionals of all backgrounds. Of her decision to start down that path later in life, she says with a chuckle: “Better late than never. [Just going for it] was the best thing I ever did.”

Once Granda had decided to pursue her dream, she wasted no time in getting her name out there. “Immediately as I enrolled, I opened my own website and started posting all my schoolwork there,” she says. She was asked to stay on at her various internships but declined the offers — “I wanted to be able to be creative with my own style.” Granda had a bigger vision for herself, and about a year and a half before graduating, she opened her own company - Interiors by Maite Granda.

She also signed up with Houzz, through which she got her very first project, from a woman in New York searching for a “magazine home” — all still before graduating. After her second project, in which she was commissioned to rebuild a beautiful penthouse for a Peruvian client in Sunny Isles Beach outside Miami, things really took off. “It’s been one after another since,” she says.

Granda says her previous career experience works to her advantage, in areas such as managing client relationships. “Being in the industry that I was in before, I dealt so much with customer service that I’m very used to dealing with all situations,” she says. Granda makes it a point to go the extra mile for her customers. “A client is a client, so I try to make them happy all the way to the end,” she says. She also notes the importance of client reviews in attracting new business on Houzz.

Villas of Vizcaya at The GroveInteriors by Maite Granda

Granda has another great advantage that came from studying later in life: She’s easily embraced all the incredible digital solutions available today. “I went to school with technology,” she says. “Everything you had, you showed with pictures.” Granda has a real love of design technology, in fact. “You can have access from anywhere, you can design from anywhere. Even before COVID happened, we were doing digital presentations, so we adapted very easily,” she says.  She has embraced Houzz Pro, which she says has made her company more efficient. “We use Houzz Pro for basically everything, from the room board to proposal to invoice to purchase orders — everything,” she says. 

Asked what she’s most looking forward to in 2021, Granda says a full return to the office would be the most exciting thing for her company. “Right now, we have 50% in the office and the other 50% at their house, but in this line of business it’s just a little bit more organized when you’re all in the office,” she says. In other words, Granda is ready to hit the ground running again soon with her team. 

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Stephan Rabimov

Stephan Rabimov leads Content Marketing at Houzz. Portland resident. Global citizen. Nature loving.

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