I recently sat down with Shelly, of Pro-Pack Contracting & Design. Shelly is a beautiful, bubbly, renovation designer, who thrives on helping her clients achieve the look and feel that they want in
their home. I was able to ask her a few questions about what she does, exactly, and get her advice on how we can achieve our look in our homes.
I’m curious to learn about your business. What is it exactly that you help people with?
I am a renovation designer, which is very different from a new home construction designer. It has had a negative connotation for many years because renovations have not had a level of professionalism added to them; it has been mostly handyman services.
When you think about renovation, you are usually thinking about one room or this or that, but because of my training, I look at the whole home and the period it was meant to be styled after and the bones that are really good and that is what is so cool about this. I love renovation design because you go in and you try to make the whole home flow, unless the clients are thinking about renovation the entire space. Most clients are doing piece work, so we ask, “What do you like about this space? What do you not like about this space? What is wrong with this space?” We usually then start from scratch, but are watching how it works with the rest of the home. And I love that. In the end, they can go to the next phase and the pieces all fit, instead of putting something in because its trendy and current.
Custom renovations means we work with your style and your look and your taste.
How long have you been in interior design?
I have been doing this in different avenues for 20 years!
What started you in this profession?
As a little, I would cut out pictures from the Sears catalogue and create a space. It just seemed like a natural fit.
What makes for a great day?
The affirmation and appreciation from clients. It is such a privilege because I enjoy what I do! I also love a collaboration, working with people you trust and like.
What kinds of projects do you like working on?
I enjoy ones where the client has researched and knows what they would like, but don’t know how to implement it and is hiring someone that they trust.
What was one of your favorite projects of this last year? Why?
I recently completed a kitchen reno. Its the one that made me the most stressed because it was my hardest project. There were days when I didn’t know how we were going to do it because of the elements that all had to come together, but it showed how team work, hard work, planning and taking the time to do it right can show the quality & beauty.
What is the process you use for choosing where art should go in a space? Which walls should have art on them?
It should go on a feature wall, whether featured with color or wallpaper.
How would you choose between a large canvas or a collage wall?
Feature pictures are harder. I have done a black and white photograph or a panoramic photograph as a feature. But if you are going to use a family photograph as a feature, alone, it has to be meaningful and work with the space because so often it can be overpowering, almost make you feel uncomfortable. When it is used in a collage or not on a feature wall, but in a designated area, you can create a spot where you and others can enjoy the photographs.
What are the dos and don’ts of putting up pictures in a home?
Depends on the space. In a living room, over the couch, it cannot be something that pushes you out of a space. Sometimes frame or the picture itself can be overpowering and that is the biggest don’t. The coffee table and seating should draw you in and you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable because there is something big and clunky over your head.
There needs to be flow. In a living room, if you are going to use landscape photography, you need to have it someplace else as well. Just one piece does not tell a story. You don’t want to just go to an art store and buy a bunch of different types of art and plunk them beside each other. I would rather see one room with the same style and then have fun in the other rooms or hallways.
Are there any other unique ways of displaying artwork and photos that you have seen or used?
I have a client who knows what she wants and does not like a lot of clutter. So we are creating custom furniture for her, for a small space, that incorporates shelves (at the exact height she wants) for photos of her grandchildren. You can also use a chalkboard/corkboard with frames that you can slip photos in and have a quote or words below each photo.
What is the importance of quality artwork & photography when decorating a space?
To be honest, we have moved away from having to buy a “Bateman”. It is now personal taste & how it speaks to you. It needs to invoke something in you. Find a piece of art you love and work around that.