Mike Mousel has mastered the art of starting over. When he bought a 1940s bungalow in Devonshire six years ago, he embarked on a major renovation that included moving walls, remodeling bathrooms, and installing new flooring. But a short three years later, he was at it again.
 
“The house was bought with two people in mind,” Mousel says. “But then, as life goes, things turned a little sour. That relationship ended, and I was stuck with this house that was half full of furniture.”

begin_02 (above) The master bedroom boasts a Baker chest, a patchwork carpet from Interior Resources, a painting found at a Dallas estate sale, and the “notorious white chair.” Covered in Manuel Canovas velvet, the white chair is a no-touch zone and has become a joke among Mousel’s family and friends. “I wanted something that was artful,” he says. “I sat in it once.” The headboard fabric and pillow are Kelly Wearstler, the lamp is vintage, and the painting is by local artist Jo Green. (below) A wall of books frames the television in the second living area. The sofa is covered in Kelly Wearstler fabric, the painting is by local artist Greg Barker, and the burlwood coffee table is by Milo Baughman. The Milo Baughman chairs are covered in David Hicks fabric for Lee Jofa. The side chairs are covered in Jane Churchill fabric, and the glazed lamp is from Sputnik Modern. photography by Nathan Schroder


So Mousel scrapped the remaining furniture—save for one midsize French sofa—and started fresh. He redid both bathrooms again and removed the large mantel from the living room fireplace. “My neighbors thought I was absolutely crazy,” he says. “At all hours of the night, I’d always be dragging something in or out.”

The one couch that made the cut did not do so unscathed. Mousel reupholstered it in a “God Bless America” graffiti print that transformed the sofa as well as the living room. Above the now-minimalist mantel, he hung an abstract painting that helped guide the rest of his decorating decisions. “I love the texture of it, and I love all the colors,” he says. “That was kind of a map for the color story of the whole house.”

Mousel calls the final result sophisticated but not stuffy. “I think I ended up with an eclectic mix of beautiful, classic pieces,” he says.

“Whatever period they are, they will stand the test of time.”

begin_03 (clockwise from top right) Mousel says the screened-in back porch was the reason he bought the house. The outdoor fabrics are Perennials, the woven table is vintage, and the chairs are from IKEA. “The thing about this room is that it had to withstand the elements,” he says. he breakfast nook features Osbourne & Little wallpaper, Texas tree photographs by James Malone, a Poul Henningsen pendant lamp, a tulip table, and Norman Cherner for Plycraft chairs. photography by Nathan Schroder


But before Mousel knew it, he was starting over again. He put the house on the market, and the offers came posthaste. Soon he was packing up his belongings and rearranging them in a new place.

Luckily, that’s what Mousel loves most. After 20 years in the fashion business—which included a stint with Ralph Lauren in New York, some multiline sales representation, and the launch of his own clothing label—Mousel is ready for his second act. Although he’s been helping friends and family with their houses off and on for years, recently he’s kept busy doing interior design work for a growing list of clients.

“I have a dual role right now,” he says. “But I would like to think that in the next year or so that I’m a full-time interior designer. I know where my passion is, and that is in spaces. And it’s with connecting with people. And it’s with taking people’s homes and making them into places that they are really proud of.”