ReDesign: Interior Styling Without Adding A Thing!

In today’s world of reduce, reuse, recyle, repurpose – so many ‘re’ words – what does it mean to you when you hear the word, redesign?

Depending on the professional you’re working with, redesign can take on many different meanings from a full-scale renovation to the reworking of a vignette, and everything in between. For me, redesign means to maximize what you already have in styling your space to create a look that’s fresh and new…  One of my favourite Home Stagers, Matthew Finlason says, “In an ever-evolving aesthetic trade, what is hot now is yesterday’s tomorrow.”

There is so much truth to Matthew’s statement, and it definitely works for staging, but where is the real value in taking that approach for your home? What about those special pieces you cherish, but which don’t fit into the current hot or trendy mould?

In HGTV’s ‘Selling New York’ Episode 8, designer legend Vicente Wolf transformed a space from, as he put it, “very boring, bland and static” to interesting, colourful and alive. What Mr. Wolf did was ‘stage’ this space for an evening gathering using apartment owner Mike Olson’s existing pieces – nothing borrowed, rented, or new, just the things that were already there.  This is staging for the ‘non-seller’, which is really redesign at its best!

Here is a ‘Before’ shot of the space:

Mike Olson's apartment featured on Episode 8 of ‘Selling New York’

Here you see the sofa, coffee table, audio table and area rug are squared to the room. The furniture is placed far apart, and snugged against the wall, including the lamp. The coffee table isn’t really anchored to anything in the space, and appears to be floating out in the middle of the nowhere. The chaise, even though angled into the space, actually draws the eye away from the core of the room to the white wall behind it. This room looks sparse, and cool. The hardwood floor, though it is warm and beautiful, actually detracts from the room in its current layout, because the visual lines of the flooring feed into the space feeling long and narrow. From this angle there is very little colour to greet you, and what colour there is gets lost because it has no impact – it’s too small, and is without context. Yes, very boring, bland, and static indeed.

And here is an ‘After’ shot of the same space!

...but now with Vicente Wolf's added touch!

Yes, this is the same room! To be fair, this image is shot from a different angle and the red artwork on the wall, which wasn’t captured in the first shot, definitely adds visual warmth and drama, but in spite of that, the changes that have been made create an amazing impact. It’s all about flow and focal points. Mr. Wolf has pulled everything away from the walls and angled them in to the room – did you notice that the area rug now sits at an angle to the hardwood strips? The seating has been pulled closer together and placed in a cozy conversational arrangement, and now the focus is towards the windows instead of away from them. Mr. Wolf pointed out that if you have windows, why would you have your back to them? Such a simple question, yet often overlooked.

And it is those simple things that are the essence of how redesign works. So many times all the pieces are there, they just need to be edited into ‘place’. Your home is collected over time, and that’s where your home finds its voice. And there is no ‘time’ in hot or trendy, just… here today, gone tomorrow. It’s in the things you hold dear that your stories are told. And it’s the stories that create that ‘feeling of home’.

If you haven’t seen Episode 8 of HGTV’s ‘Selling New York’, I recommend that you do. Click here to see what Vicente Wolf says about the episode himself, and the comments that viewers shared with him.

Photo Credit: ‘Before & After’ images courtesy of Curbed New York.

Wanting to reduce, reuse, recyle, repurpose your way to a redesign of your space? Not sure where to start? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!

Mary Fox: World Class Artist – Timeless Creations

The white crawl glaze spilling out like foam on a wave.

This is how Mary Fox describes her white textured crawl glaze that stretches and swirls its way around her stunning navy creations. To gaze at just one of these pieces is breathtaking, but to hold one in your hands takes your breath away.

Photo credit: Ladysmith Downtown Business Association

This weekend was the ‘only sale of the year’ event at Mary Fox’s Studio Gallery, and definitely on my outing list for Saturday. Everything was marked 25% off, with the bonus ‘seconds’ marked down even more – and for this weekend only! So, my husband and I vowed to be on time, promised to do the Saturday morning scramble to get out the door and be there for the 11:00am opening. And we were… well, about 10 minutes late – but at this event 10 minutes is definitely lost opportunity, though in no way a lost cause.

Photo credit: Ladysmith Downtown Business Association

The gallery was full, in fact filled to overflowing! We had no idea what we had already missed out on, but we certainly knew what was displayed before us. Where to begin? I had taken my camera hoping, with permission, to take photos for this article, but there were so many people that I didn’t dare make the attempt.

Click here to see close-ups of a few of Mary’s works of art, and learn about the inspiration behind each piece. And click here to see a few more… seriously – it’s worth the click!

Right from the beginning I was wishing, hoping, crossing my fingers to find a treasure to bring home (well, a treasure that our budget would say ‘yes’ to). My heart was secretly hoping for what Mary refers to as ‘contemplation’ pieces – they are pure art, meant to be viewed and contemplated, enjoyed for their beauty and intrigue. But the practical part of me was steering me toward the functional pieces – absolute works of art and beauty, of that there is no doubt, but created to be used. As we wove our way in and around, and through the clusters of people suddenly we found ourselves lined up with ‘destiny’. For there before us was an assortment of contemplation vessels, and dangerously within the negotiating of our budget!

Imagine the thrill and rush of being so close to our first Mary Fox purchase… well purchase just for us! We have purchased in the past ‘as gifts’, but never just for us. We narrowed our selection down to 4 pieces (yes, I said ‘narrowed’) – 3 navy white crawl pieces (2 vases and a bowl), and 1 chalice in earth tones. Oh, and there was also a great metallicy-gold vase that caught my eye, perfect for the Christmas season (wish I could’ve taken a photo to share with you). After a lot of discussion, and going back and forth between the four pieces…

The final choice is…

Front of the Vase. Yes, this is the one!

See what I mean about ‘breathtaking’?

Side of Vase. Love how it catches the light!

And eye-catching from every angle.

Don't you just love the detail?

This so reminds me of the ocean, the waves, the white foam…

Inside of Vase

Even the inside is beautifully finished with attention to detail.

I love this piece, and for me it’s symbolic of where I come from, and who I am. The ocean speaks to me; it’s what grounds me and takes me back to my roots.

Mystery of the Shadows

And aren’t the shadows dramatic? Can you hear the waves? Can you smell the ocean? Do you see the intensity in the changing colours of the water, the frothing of the foam?… Do you see the vast greatness of the ocean in this piece?

How about you, does it take your breath away too???

To read a little more about Mary Fox, click here and click here. To read what another artist has to say, click here.

Do you have a spectacular work of art? Not sure how to showcase it and tell your story through your space? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!

Function as a Feature: DIY Your Own Coat Rack!

What do you do when your search for a unique off-the-shelf item turns up empty?

I was working on a space that required a coat rack for its open concept entry, also the client seating area. As I began the sourcing process, it didn’t take long before I realized this item would be difficult to find, at least to find one ‘off-the-shelf’ that met all the criteria: a wall-mount; the right length; priced within budget; and unique, with visual character.

So you can imagine, how excited I was when I discovered a metal wall-mount shelf, technically a baker’s rack, and wondered if the slatted shelf would work in place of an actual rod for the hangers. A quick demo had me thinking this might just work.

As it turned out, when I held the unit against the wall the depth of the shelf was not quite enough for a hanger to fully clear the wall. However, the scroll detail on the sides of the rack opened up a whole new possibility for creative success. I could envision a rod resting in the scrolls, but would this really work? And how could I mount the rack so that the rod was far enough away from the wall to accommodate the hangers, and at the same time maintain its visual integrity?

Off to see Dad, my resourceful project partner.

After taking into consideration the criteria I mentioned earlier, Dad came up with a mounting solution that not only worked, but that was nearly invisible to the eye, and stayed within the budget!

DIY Coat Rack

If you look closely you will see shorter vertical pieces behind the frame the scroll is fastened to. These are pieces of box steel, 1″ in diameter that have been attached to the original frame. The box steel managed to bring the whole unit away from the wall just enough for the hangers to clear. The steel pieces were spray painted to match, and the ends were capped off with standard chair leg caps. A piece of clear Plexiglas was cut to fit on the rack and provide a solid shelf, as well as protection for coats hung below. And the rod, a piece of doweling stained to compliment, was secured into place with screws to keep it from sliding out of the scroll. The screws were camouflaged with wooden buttons stained to match the doweling.

DIY Coat Rack

So what do you think? What would you do if you couldn’t find what you’re looking for? I’m dying to know!

Oh, BTW, the rock mat is also a little DIY. I took two prefabricated stone mats, and placed them on a rubber-backed runner with the rubberized side up, and the carpet side down. This way the carpet protected the floor, and the rubber back acted like a vapor barrier between any drips from wet coats and the hardwood beneath. Isn’t it fun to stretch function in this way?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

In & Out of the Closet

Something that comes up consistently in my consultations is the storage solution conundrum. With smaller footprint homes becoming the ‘norm’, clients are increasingly focussed on utilizing every nook and cranny in order to maximize their space. There are so many tips and strategies on this topic that a blog article could become a book. Read on to see three ‘before’ and ‘after’ mini projects where functional, and optimal storage was the ultimate goal for each of my clients.

Project #1 – Master Suite

This master suite was actually part of a larger redesign project, which included selecting new wall colour and window treatments, but the biggest obstacle was to create a truly functional closet from a standard closet design.

Master Closet - Before
  • This closet is 9½’ long x 2’ deep x 8’ high
  • The opening is 6’, which is accommodated with two 3’ bi-fold doors
  • There is also 20” of awkward-to-access space in each end of the closet to work with

The original closet system contained a single rod stretching the full length of the closet, a narrow unfinished shelf above the rod, and 2 lower shelves in the 20” space on the left side. The rest of the closet was unutilized dead space.

The Solution:

One 4– 8’ Rubbermaid closet kit, available at Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, and Home Depot. This kit includes two 4’ shelves and rods, and one 26” shelf and rod. The system is fully expandable, which provides the flexibility needed to set each shelf and rod to suit the storage needs and  really make the space in this closet go a long way.

In order to utilize the rest of the closet space, a piece of dowling was cut to size and mounted near the ceiling at the left end of the closet for out of season tops to be hung and stored. An extra shelf was added to the existing shelving for jeans and sweaters, and canvas lined wicker baskets (from Jysk) were incorporated for t-shirts and smaller items like scarves, etc.

Master Closet - Left End

The floor space under the shelves is left open enough to store a small carry-on size suitcase, and other items of similar size and bulk.

In the opposite end of the closet the 26” rod and shelf was mounted high enough to hang full length gowns. You can see here that dress pants hung full-length also take advantage of this space. The floor space that is left is roomy enough for shoes, though you can’t see the floor space in this picture.

Master Closet - Right End

Other add-on items that were incorporated: a tie rack (left of top shelf), and a hanger for belts (left of tie rack on back wall of closet).

Master Suite Closet - After

From a standard closet design to all-out function, every inch of this closet was maximized with a simple closet kit, a few add-ons, and a little creativity. And all this was done in a day!

Project #2 – Teen’s Closet

This bedroom is quite small, and only has room for a double bed and either a small dresser or a small desk, but not both. Previously the useable space of this room was expanded by placing a study desk in the closet area instead of having a functioning closet. There were shelves in the left end of the closet, but the rod had been removed.

Teen Closet - Before
  • This closet is 8’ long x 2’ deep x 8’ high
  • The opening is 5’, and does not have doors
  • There is also 27” of awkward-to-access space in the left end of the closet to work with

This space is now a teenager’s bedroom, one with a lot of clothing and accessories. So in desperate need of a closet system, she wanted a combination of solid shelving and double rods, room for her laundry hamper, and somewhere to store all her handbags. She was very clear that she didn’t want doors of any kind, because she wanted to have easy access to all her things.

The Solution:

Individual materials were purchased from Home Hardware to build the closet system with: two 4′ long x 1′ deep pre-cut pine boards; one 9′ piece of dowling to cut down to size for 2 rods; plastic rod cover; four shelf/rod mounting brackets; one 3′ pressure-fit rod. Canvas lined baskets were purchased from London Drugs.

Teen Closet - Left End

If you look at the reflection in the mirror you can see all the purses hung over a rod. This is where the pressure-fit rod was installed; it’s easy to remove and keeps the purses from being crushed, or squashed. Installing the mirror here was the teen’s idea!

Teen Closet - After

Here is the finished closet. Isn’t it neat and tidy? In front of the mirror is the laundry hamper, and under the bottom rod of clothing there are more baskets that hold smaller accessory items. This closet has a light inside, which makes the items on the top shelf easier to see.

Did you notice the great new colour on the walls? It’s Benjamin Moore’s ‘Tropicana Cabana’ 2048-50, also part of this project!

Project #3 – Laundry Room Storage and Styling

This laundry room is a very tiny 6′ x 7′ work-horse. It not only has a washer, dryer, and basin in it, but is home to the hot water tank, and also multi-tasks as storage too! The challenges were lack of counter space, and turning wasted vertical space into more functional storage.

Right away I wanted to find a solution to disguise the hotwater tank as much as possible, and remove the visual clutter from the top of the cabinets. I wanted to find a spot for the laundry basket that would keep it off the dryer, which could double as a valuable folding surface.

The Solution:

Baskets from London Drugs; Trolley and replacement laundry basket from Super Store

The baskets fit perfectly above the cabinets, and the smaller ones on the side complete the look.

Basket Storage - After

The trolley serves as quick and easy storage for smaller items that are used more often. The new laundry basket sits on top of the trolley and does a great job of hiding the hotwater tank – did you even remember it was there?

The space now has a more unified and finished look. The baskets not only serve a function, but they warm the room up as well. Adding colour to the walls would be a nice touch too, but that is part of another phase in the styling work.

What do you think? Have the challenges of these projects been met for the clients?

Can’t find the solution for your storage challenge? Maybe we can help. Contact us to schedule an introductory consultation – remember the first ½ hour is on the house!

Take Your Coat Off and Stay A While

Not long ago we had company joining us for a weekend, and with the anticipation of their arrival came the ‘extra’ tidying, tweaking, and putting things in order to welcome them. Our home is compact and its space maximized to the limit, so I decided we needed hooks where our guests could hang their jackets. With a bare wall in the foyer crying out for some attention, I had the perfect spot. Now all I had to do was find the perfect hooks…

This turned out to be easier said than done – yes, there are hooks in all shapes and sizes, but nothing leapt out at me as unique or different; none were really ‘perfect’. Not until I popped into Nancy’s Fashion & Furnishings – a very tiny boutique right here in Ladysmith. Who would have known? Voila! Tucked here and there throughout the store were the perfect decorative hooks, and even better, in a few different shapes and sizes!

Here’s what I chose in the end.

Next… the search for a piece of reclaimed wood to mount them on. And this proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. So, off to see my Dad. He has a little shop with all kinds of odds ‘n ends, and not only is he awesome, he’s also a great project partner. Next question, would he take on this project with me?

The answer. Dad not only took on the project with me, he actually did the project for me! He tore the spruce plank to the thickness needed, set to work lightly distressing it, and then did some stain samples for the colour. I chose red mahogany in the end, because I wanted the hooks to stand out, but I also wanted the look to work with the hall table.

Here is the finished masterpiece!

I would love to do a full-scale make-over in the foyer, but this is a rental home, so I shall save that for another time. In the mean time… welcome to our home. Take your coat off and stay a while!

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

What’s Special On Your Table?

Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come to an end, and as I put away the ‘special’ dishes, I find myself thinking about what makes each piece special. I gently set away a small bowl that used to be my grandmother’s and drift back to the family dinners we shared, getting lost for a moment back in that time.

My Grandmother’s Bowl

My eye catches another bowl; it was a wedding gift to my Mom and Dad 46 years ago. I had admired it once, and Mom insisted on giving it to me that night. Even though I protested, Mom always got her way, and so… the bowl came home with me! I cherish this piece and its story as Mom is no longer with us, but the memory of that night lives on strong and clear. And every time I pull out this bowl I think of her.

Mom’s Bowl, a genuine Staffordshire china piece handpainted by Shorter & Son Ltd.

It’s the stories we remember with our things that make them special, not the things themselves. And the feelings that connect with the story are what make the difference between a ‘house’ and your ‘home’. What is meaningful to you is what matters. That’s the power of telling your story through your space.

(Left) Gran’s bowl with homemade cranberry sauce ~and~ (Right) Mom’s bowl with mashed potatoes

It’s about coming home… do you have something special for your table?

Staging for the Seasons

Did you know that staging for a new season is upon us?

Staging is not simply tidying up and moving furniture around, or putting out fresh towels, and putting away the dishes. In fact, there is nothing ‘simple’ about staging. Staging is a very deliberate form of marketing; it not only is about suggesting value, but it also plays on emotion. We know that buying a home is a financial investment, clearly. But did you know the final decision about which home to buy really comes down to the feeling a buyer experiences when they view the home? Happiness, excitement, calm,  a sense of security… whatever the emotion, it’s about falling in love. And that’s why the art of staging is in creating a ‘feeling’ that a potential buyer will fall in love with; staging appeals to the senses, and that includes connecting with the seasonal ‘senses’ in the air.

So what does this mean, the season in the air? If you stop to think about it – when spring is just around the corner suddenly you begin to hear people talking about ‘spring cleaning’, lightening things up, waking up from the dark, cold days of winter hibernation. With spring is a feeling of rebirth, a burst of fresh energy, and a world of renewed colours emerging. And as summer sets in curb appeal takes on a whole new meaning. Suddenly there is a rainbow of live colour all around. You see gardens in full bloom, lush green trees, and of course people enjoying life outside. With summer comes a carefree sense of ‘fun’ in the sun. Staging for summer is about appealing to the ‘freshness’, the ‘fun’, the ‘light, and bright, and airy’ feeling of outdoor living…

But now with summer fading, and fall upon us, it’s time to shift the staging style to match the approaching season. It’s time to introduce warm, cozy textures, and deeper, richer palettes that make you want to curl up and relax. It’s time to appeal to the ‘comforts’ of home.

So how do you do this?

With the fall and winter months you want to maximize the feeling that first hits you when you step inside, out of the cold. You want potential buyers to be drawn further into the home by the warmth that greets them. The key is to focus on the ‘heart’ of the home.

How a room ‘feels’ when you step inside has more to do with its energy than its objects, but how objects are placed feeds that energy.  Staging uses furniture placement, artwork and accessories with intention: to draw a buyer’s eye to a great feature, and move them through to the next room. Play up features like fireplaces, window seats, cozy nooks and crannies, and of course, be strategic with colour. Colour can make or break the feeling in a room, and like it or not, colour sells. It is the canvas for the room, and as Matthew Finlason writes in his blog, must connect with the target market.

If you are selling your home in the fall and winter months, try a few of these tips:

  • Swap out area rugs for something with a deeper pile, or layer a smaller feature rug like a shag, or sheepskin on top of the existing rug.
  • Change out your lighter toss cushions to include some deeper colours, or add one or two with densely textured fabrics.
  • Drape a snugly throw over a chair, or at the foot of a bed.
  • Place lamps so they cast a warm glow over the surfaces and objects nearby.
  • Install drapery panels that blend with your wall colour, adding warmth without stealing attention.
  • Replace metallic coloured frames on artwork with assorted black frames.
  • Place a painting that captures the emotional colours of the season.
  • Add a few wooden or clay accessories in your focal areas, such as sculptures, bowls, or vases.

Questions to ask yourself when your home is ready to be listed:

  • Do you feel soothed, safe, protected from the elements outside?
  • Are you comfortable in this space?
  • Do you want to linger and move at your leisure, or do you feel like you can’t leave each room fast enough?
  • Do you feel welcome in this space? How would your friends, family…your associates connect with the space?

Staging suggests a lifestyle, and that includes tapping into the senses that go hand-in-hand with the season outside.

Contact Us to schedule a staging service that sells… creating a ‘welcome home’ feeling for buyers is our goal; showcasing your investment is what we do!

Designers ‘Rate’

Like anyone working in a profession, the longer you are ‘in it’, the more you learn. Whether it be learning with intention or vicarious learning, the point is a foundation of knowledge is built over time and is brought to each new project along the way.

In the world of interior styling, as in many creative industries, there is an inherent gray area when it comes to fees-for-service. Because design is conceptualizing, envisioning, and ultimately creating, it is hard to break down each of the interwoven steps that lead to the end result. What most clients see is when a project begins, and when it ends, but it’s the journey in between where the real work takes place and yet is hardest to see.

Once a design professional has committed to a project, that project becomes an extension of their thoughts and focus. The creative switch has been turned ‘ON’, and the vision begins to take shape. The designer (interior stylist, redesigner, stager…) is now absorbed in the details, the vision seldom far from thought. No matter where they go, or what they are doing, they are constantly keeping an eye out for that perfect piece to bring in, researching options to execute the plan, sourcing materials, and finally overseeing the implementation of the plan. This is what you are paying for: the knowledge and expertise of an interior specialist to transform your space. See what Design Great, Vicente Wolf says!

It’s this part of the journey, the work that happens between the ‘before’ and the ‘reveal’ that is gray, the abstract and intangible of the creative process.

So, back to the title of this article, Designers ‘Rate’.  How should a design professional respond to a seemingly innocent question, when the answer draws directly on their area of expertise? In other words, when the answer is in fact ‘what they do for a living’. Maria Killam has written two excellent articles that address this. The first, ‘Do You Dream About Decorating Your House?‘ was written in May, and the second, ‘Negotiating Lessons from Mad Men‘, was just posted two days ago. I think Maria has painted a very clear picture of how ‘gray’ the fees-for-service are in the world of interior styling, and really, in so many creative industries.

If you really are asking a design professional for their suggestions, ideas, input… for your space, remember they rate their ‘rate‘ to reply.

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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9/11: A New Tapestry

Today is the 9th anniversary of 9/11, and today I have a much more personal connection with that day than ever…

Just 3 weeks ago my family and I were in New York, and we took the time to go to St. Paul’s Chapel where, through the course of the 9/11 tragedy, it served as a refuge for the workers, the volunteers, the family of those lost or missing.

Today it remains as it was then, a place of worship, but since 9/11, new threads and fibres have been added to its tapestry. Stories of the people and events emerging from that time are captured in the “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero” exhibit you will find inside St. Paul’s Chapel. But it has more to do with the ‘feeling’ that is present, which words can’t begin to describe and images can only barely translate, that truly captures the spirit that lies within the story.

Timeline of St. Paul’s Chapel – created by ESI Designs

Taken outside of St. Paul’s Chapel, this shot captures visitors reading the timeline of the Chapel’s history up to 9/11 and in the months following. As we moved through the timeline the ‘feeling’ was an introduction to the story about to unfold inside.

Upon entering you are greeted by the banner below.

A banner made by students in Oklahoma

The banner is signed with many, many words of encouragement and hope. On each far side of the banner are more beautifully constructed messages…

THE PEWS sign below is attached to one of the pews and it describes the purpose the pews served throughout the 9/11 relief ministry.

The Pews

It says:

Fireman’s Jacket in Pew

THROUGHOUT THE 9/11 RELIEF MINISTRY, the Chapel’s pews became a refuge for Firefighters, Police Officers and rescue workers. Some came to sit quietly alone; others came to pray. Many came to sleep, stretching out with a blanket, pillow and teddy bear provided by volunteers.  Letters from children covered each pew, offering an uplifting message of hope.

Always ready to be called back to “the pit” at any moment, workers kept their boots and equipment belts on, creating deep scuff marks in the pews. When the Chapel was cleaned and refurbished in 2002, it was decided not to repair the pews, but to leave the marks as a witness and a tribute to the workers.

Today, St. Paul’s Chapel continues to honour the first responders of 9/11 by participating in the 9/11 Neediest Medical Campaign.

Though the photo of the fireman’s jacket in the pew is a little blurred, if you look closely you will see some scuff marks left behind as described above; another sign mentions that it was a common sight to see firemen’s jackets hung over the pews.

Uniform patches sent from across the country

This exhibit is called “Healing Hearts and Minds”. It is a policeman’s uniform covered with patches received from fellow officers, firefighters and others from all over the Country conveying a message of strength and solidarity.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands for the Tree of Hope… In this image of ‘helping hands’ the blue sign explains this exhibit.

It says:

In the Winter of 2003, thousands of our visitors took part in a holiday project to create ornaments for our Tree of Hope. The little hand-shaped cut-outs represented the countless hands that came together at St. Paul’s to pray, heal, comfort and embrace all those who walked through our doors after September 11th.                                                                                                                        

This next image is a fabric art piece. I think it is truly symbolic of the 9/11 tapestry that has been woven so tightly.

Tapestry of 9/11

I find this piece haunting and a stunning work of art.

The images I have shared are just a snap-shot of what you will find at St. Paul’s Chapel. You truly have to experience this for yourself in order to feel the story that unfolds; words simply can’t describe it. With each exhibit there is a sense of strength, a feeling of hope that is bound by unity and bonded by commitment.

Construction underway at Ground Zero

The conclusion is yet to unfold… but new beginnings are taking shape. With the construction of a new tower underway at Ground Zero, fresh meaning is brought to the words above the entrance of St. Paul’s Chapel, ‘Out of the Dust’.

And the memorial that is St. Paul’s in Manhattan is powerful in the story it tells. While there is no sense of deliberate “design” in the traditional sense, the company behind “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero”, ESI Designs, has done a remarkable job. All one experiences are the displays of loving memorabilia in the most direct way, yet the whole exhibit was in fact carefully designed to tell the story without intruding. The exhibits at St. Paul’s Chapel are not only a testimony to those lost that day, and to those who made such a huge difference in the days and months following the attacks of 9/11…

Crane in the distance sits at Ground Zero

They are also a testimony to united strength, the will for rebirth, and the determination to move forward.

Just Say ‘Yes’

Just Say 'Yes'

When you hire an interior specialist (designer, stylist, decorator, redesigner, stager, organizer, etc.) chances are that you will hear ideas and suggestions you have not considered or even thought of. And that is why you hired the professional! Let your mantra for this journey be to say ‘yes’ first, and stay open for amazing results.

If you have done your homework prior to hiring Sheila Zeller Interiors, then you will know that we listen, create, and connect. In order for us to do this successfully, your part is to be as open, candid and clear as possible in the consultation. The more you are able to tell us about your hopes and desires for your space; your uses and needs for it; and the feeling you want created, the better informed we will be to help achieve your vision. A few things to keep in mind so that we can do our best work for you are:

1. Know your likes and dislikes

Before we can create a space that works for you, we need to have a sense of who you are, and what makes you, YOU. What colours and textures do you prefer? What kind of artwork do you tend toward? Do you like antiques or steer clear of them? What is your personal style and flair – jeans or suits or somewhere in between? Do you like nature, the city, landscapes, seascapes, or sky scrapers? What are your hobbies and interests? This is all about you, and the more we learn, the more your space will reflect YOU!

2. Understand how you plan to use the space

Is this a new space for you or an existing one? What kind of space is this? For example, are we styling a bedroom, an office or den, a living room, or are we doing a few rooms? Does the space need to be multi-functional or is it single purpose only? Does it need to be pet-friendly, child and/or teen-friendly? Will you be using it to entertain in, or is this your oasis?

3. Prioritize your existing furniture, artwork, and accessories

We will need to know which existing pieces must be, can be, and definitely won’t be incorporated in the fresh look (do you love it, like it, or really want to let it go?). We want to learn what things are meaningful to you, and which pieces hold a special sentimental value. We would love to know their stories so that we can better tell your story. We will ask if we can ‘shop your house’:  can we remove items from other rooms and incorporate them into the space we’re working on?  We need to be clear where the boundaries are: what is off-limits, what is negotiable, and what is fair game. And of course, we’ll want to know if adding any new pieces is an option, so shopping for and purchasing new items, and/or refurbishing existing ones… which leads next to the budget.

4. Be budget-conscious and budget-clear

All too often a project will begin with mutual enthusiasm and excitement, only to wane when the beast of the budget enters in. And this is why being budget-clear before we begin is critical: what is most important to accomplish (key areas of focus), what is the time line for completion (haste makes waste), and what is the $$$ allocation (a range between $ and $)? It’s our job to create a space that you connect with within these parameters; it’s up to all of us to be mutually clear on what these parameters are.

5. Enjoy the Journey: Just say ‘Yes’

Relax and trust the professional that you have hired. Expect the unexpected, and allow yourself to think outside of the box. By saying yes to new ideas and being clear about the process, you make it possible for us to create something remarkable for you!


It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!


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