Meet Mia

Mia Rao

Mia Rao is the founder and driving force for Mia Rao Design, a successful Chicago design firm launched in 2001.

Mia’s vision is to foster a collaborative environment with the client to create the ideal space. Her trademark intuitive nature allows her to tap into each client’s unique personality, interest and lifestyle. Mia utilizes that connection to transform each space into a true reflection of it’s occupants.

A wide range of creative endeavors lead Mia to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design. Her arts based education enriched her design awareness, affording her the ability to see a space as a blank canvas, ripe for artistic and creative expression.

Mia’s passion for travel has enabled her to curate a “notebook” of textures, patterns and colors that she weaves into her work. Her inspiration comes from spending time in Italy, France, Istanbul, Mykonos and Hawaii, deepening her love of art, architecture, fashion and food. She draws from favorite destinations closer to home, frequenting Colorado and California. She enjoys the surf, the mountains, the countryside, and camping — any experience that highlights the beauty of nature.

Mia draws deep design inspiration from her Italian and Finish heritage. Expertly blending these diverse cultural influences, she fuses each room into a cohesive, inviting environment. Mia’s designs elicit visual interest, depth and energy inspired by the world’s canvas.

Having spent time learning in her mother’s kitchen as a child, Mia developed a passion for food. Traveling to her uncle’s Italian villa outside Rome introduced her to culinary art. Drawing on her love of global cuisine and cooking, she recognizes that modern home often center around great food and entertainment. She feels, this must be flawlessly woven into an inviting space.

At her core, spending time with family and friends really grounds Mia. Her two young daughters inspire her lead by example as a thriving female entrepreneur.

Meet Robyn

Robyn Swanson

Robyn Swanson is the “yin” to Mia Rao’s “yang”.

Sharing a similar design aesthetic and philosophy, Robyn joined Mia Rao Design in 2007. As Mia leads the design direction of the company, Robyn leaves no stone unturned, focusing on the details. A combination of creativity and attention to details is Robyn’s philosophy for project perfection.

Viewing her creative tendencies as hobbies as a youngster, Robyn pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Business. After several years in the business word, Robyn decided she would prefer to focus on her creativity and do something she truly enjoyed. In pursuit of her passion, she earned a design degree in Chicago while running a construction company with her husband.

While studying in Europe during college, Robyn fell in love with architecture and art. The dichotomy of the modern and historic buildings of Berlin and the lush seaside villas in the south of France ignited her interest. Robyn's love of architecture shines through in her attention to architectural detail in her work. Her tropical wedding in Puerto Rico and trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica continue to inspire her use of color.

At the core, it is a love of dance and music that is the foundation of Robyn's creativity. A grandfather that played percussion for the Dorsey brothers introduced rhythm and dance as to her as a girl, and that early interest developed into a passion for choreography and the stage as a young adult. Knowing that dance and music often provoke emotion, Robyn discovered that an intriguing interior can set the mood a client is looking for.

Robyn's family of five, which includes three young boys, forms the base of Robyn’s personal and professional life — keeping a functional home and work environment is key. Well designed, functional spaces have become a special interest for Robyn, and a cornerstone at Mia Rao Design. To this end, custom built-in millwork, which adds unique and beautiful functionality to a home, is a feature in many projects.

Robyn's business degree and construction background give her added insight into the design process, making her an integral part of the Mia Rao Design team.

Meet Cristina

Cristina Biehr

Mia Rao Design would not be complete without Cristina Biehr. Meticulously executing the procurement of all furnishings, fixtures and finishes, she enjoys collaborating with the team to bring the vision to life.

A Chicago native, Cristina was born into a socially diverse family. Her mother, Mexican-American and her father of German and French decent, encouraged a respect for diversity as part of her upbringing. With a broad view of generational traits and customs, her parents instilled within her a love for travel, art and interest in diverse cultures.

Her love for culture evolved into a curiosity for understanding of family dynamics, cultural customs and human behavior. As a Psychology major at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Cristina’s passion grew with knowledge and respect for the variety of differences, which bind us together; art, literature, music, performance, and design.

Searching for a place where she could become an integral part of growth and success, Cristina capitalized on her knowledge of human behavior to connect with people and her passion for culture. A background in construction and the plumbing industry, gave her an appreciation for fine detail. Ultimately landing at Mia Rao Design, Cristina’s life portfolio gives her the perfect combination of both artistic passion and business experience to round off the team. She is the “glue” at Mia Rao Design, overlooking all orders and assuring their accuracy, and a key component in ensuring customer satisfaction. It is no surprise Cristina landed at Mia Rao Design, where business, art and culture become one.

Meet Regan

Regan Wiley

Regan Wiley is the latest addition to the Mia Rao Design team.

Joining the team in 2017, Regan shared a similar path to the world of design as Mia. Having a background on both the vendor and design side of the industry, she believes clear communication is the basis developing lasting partner relationships.

Regan grew up surrounded by painters and sculptors, in a family and community full of artists in Kansas City, MO. She pursued Architectural Studies at the University of Missouri — Columbia, and followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming an Interior Designer.

Before graduating, Regan traveled to India for a month. Immersed in the culture, she studied yoga, healing techniques, and auyrvedic medicine. Focusing on posture, human movement, and how spaces effect this, Regan incorporates this methodology to better develop the flow of a residence.

Upon returning to the states, Regan moved to Chicago almost instantly. In search of a larger city to nurture her creativity, she began her design career. Regan expresses her creativity through the variety of classes she teaches, including yoga, aerial silks, and acrobatics.

"Mia just finished designing my new Streeterville condo and I love it! Mia and her staff were a pleasure to work with. I would recommend Mia Rao Design to anyone."

L. Smith

"We recommended Mia to select furnishings, art and decorative objects for a new single family home in Lincoln Park, for which we were the architect. Mia immediately connected with the Owner and she and her team selected pieces that compliment and bring depth into all the living spaces of the home. She is professional, flexible, and enjoyable to work with. I especially appreciate her ability to understand and respond to the design work of the home, and to engage with and support the personality and interests of the Owner."

Blender Architecture