'Dream Home Makeover' Star Shea McGee Drops Major News About Her Experience

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Does Shea McGee Have a Design Degree?Frazer Harrison - Getty Images

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From the very first episode of the Netflix series Dream Home Makeover, Salt Lake City-based interior designer Shea McGee has wowed viewers with her ability to create beautifully comfortable spaces that fit her clients to a tee. From transforming an awkward room into a functional family hangout to infusing a new build with warmth and personality, she can seemingly tackle any design challenge.

But there's one fact about the design star's background that might surprise you: McGee earned her degree in public relations, not interior design. "But I took a couple of years’ worth of interior design classes at a community college by our house, picking the ones I thought were going to help me build confidence and understand the more technical aspects of that work," she told the shelter publication Domino.

Building on her studies, she forged a career in interior design through passion, experience, and good old-fashioned hard work. She began by renovating her first home with husband (and college sweetheart) Syd and sharing her work on the then-fledgling social media platform Instagram. Gradually, she took on client projects and built her portfolio. In 2014, the couple sold their California home and moved their family to Utah to launch their interior design firm Studio McGee.

Though McGee's path to an interior design career may be unconventional, the proof is in the pudding. By 2020, the year Dream Home Makeover debuted on Netflix, Studio McGee had over a million Instagram followers (now it's 3.6 million), a thriving YouTube channel, and an exclusive line at Target. Today, Studio McGee has completed hundreds of projects across 33 states and has grown to about 140 employees, reports Monograph.

The secret to McGee's success? "Shea's superpower is her undying love for design," Syd told oprahdaily.com about his wife and business partner. "Pair that with her sheer work ethic and determination, that combination is incredible to behold. I do my best to support and keep up with that."

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Encouraging other budding designers, McGee has been vocal about busting the myth that one must have a degree in interior design to be successful in the industry. "There are so many resources available to be self-taught," reads one Studio McGee blog post, which clarifies that while commercial interior design requires a degree, residential interior design does not. "There are a lot of resources to take classes online these days. Learning on the job is important too, and if you don’t have any formal education, designing your own home is a great way to learn!"

Interested in learning more about McGee's path to interior design superstardom? She and Syd share their story in the New York Times bestselling autobiography Make Life Beautiful.

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