Spend five minutes with Chelsea Andersson and you’ll understand what led the producers of Making It to select her for season three of the hit show hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. The show is full of pep and can-do attitude that is emblematic of Poehler’s brand, and Andersson oozes both, along with an authentic humility that makes you want to root for her from the start.
“I had never gone to school for art, never pursued it as a full-time job,” she says. “I always wanted to know if I could do it. When Making It came out, it was so different from anything I’d ever seen. I thought — this is my chance to see if I can do it.”
Early on, she proved her merit by winning a “Faster Craft” patch for an edible miniature glamp-site made primarily of fondant and cookies, inspired by summers spent with her father’s family in Sweden. “Winning a patch was a dream come true,” says Andersson. When judging Andersson in the competition, Simon Doonan, famous for designing the windows at Barney’s, compared the beauty and craftsmanship of Andersson’s project to an Hermès Birkin bag and a later craft to Frank Gehry. “To hear someone like Simon elevate your work to that level,” says Andersson, “was incredible.”
Andersson’s warmth, humor and vulnerability radiate from the screen and create plenty of opportunities for Poehler and Offerman to banter and riff. “The show has encouraged everyone to be the truest version of themselves, and I think they’ve done a really good job of capturing that,” she says.
Her formal training as a licensed landscape architect is evidenced in the precision of Andersson’s designs. When you visit her online store, it’s impossible not to be wooed by the elegant simplicity of her dollhouse kits and accompanying furniture, which are all intentionally age- and gender-neutral.
“I didn’t want anything to be too precious that a kid couldn’t enjoy it. The kits require some construction and I want girls to know construction is not just for boys, just like dollhouses are not just for girls.” The purposefulness of her designs extends to every material she uses. The lumber is all FSC certified and American processed. The packaging for her projects is sourced from other small businesses. And it was only on the heels of Making It that she left her job as a landscape architect to become a full-time maker.
Though Andersson recently returned to her hometown on New York’s Long Island, she lived in Marin for seven years and her product line and Instagram posts are full of the projects inspired by the region. “I wouldn’t be the maker I am if I didn’t live in Marin. The level of beauty and design here is unlike anywhere else. I’ll think about Marin’s natural beauty for the rest of my life.”
The whimsy and optimism of her work can be seen in her “Tiny Highways” project on Instagram where she reimagined highway signs for local destinations in miniature and installed them along various roadways. “It was my love letter to Marin,” she says.
Though Making It shone a light on Andersson, she’s not packing it all in for Hollywood just yet. “I’m focused on making things that make me happy and sharing them, as well as celebrating other makers. The ethos of Making It is lifting people up, and that’s what I’m all about.”