Kelly Penuita’s life long love all of things home decor and her entrepreneural upbringing made home staging a natural career choice. The Winnipeg-based home stager, designer and RESA Member took a minute out of her busy schedule at DecoChic Interiors and sat down with me today to talk about her home, her favorite colours/trends and some of her favourite staging projects. Read on to see what Kelly had to say. – Crystal Williams
Kelly at Home
Have you always had an interest in home decor?
Absolutely! When I was young I would rearrange my room at least once a month. As I got older I started to find myself gravitating towards design magazines & design shows. My interest grew from there until I realized that I needed to be doing something creative that was decor related. My family is comprised of many entrepreneurs so it only seemed natural to start my own business.
How would you describe your personal decor style?
I don’t necessarily have one personal decor style. It is mostly transitional, comfortable and modern with some retro mixed in. Everything I own has to look good but also be practical, useful & functional. Life is too short to not sit comfortably on your sofa! I also love the Victorian era but from a distance as I do not find it practical.
What one room in your home would you say is your favorite and why?
I would have to say that right now my favorite room is our family room. It is the most complete at this point. The mix of neutral earth tones is warm and calming. The pops of red provide colour and interest with the neutrals background. Also the mostly neutral earth tones allow for quick and easy accent colour changes!
If you could pick one room in your home that needs to be redone, which room would it be and why?
Since we are in a new home no room needs to be “redone” – they all need to be done! Builder beige is my least favorite colour but has proven to be a good neutral backdrop to allow us to find the feeling of each room and choose the colours & furnishings accordingly. The one room that will be done this fall is the powder room. I plan to do a bold wallpaper to add some wow! Painting is also on the to-do list!
If you could have a designer come into your home, who would you pick and why?
Hands down Sarah Richardson! She has been my inspiration – you could even say idol – for many years. She has such a no-nonsense approach to every project. She is very down to earth and real. Her ability to effortlessly pair patterns and textures is fantastic. She does not always go straight for the over-the-top-break-the-bank brand new items – she encourages repurposing, whether it be something the client already has or something from an antique store or auction. I see potential in everything – much the same way she does.
If you could pick one piece in your home that would be your favorite, what would it be?
My favorite piece would be the canvas art in our family room that we purchased shortly after moving in. This was the first piece of art we purchased specifically for our home.
Kelly on Trends & Inspiration
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere! I like to look to nature for colour combos, design magazines for the latest trends, retail stores for variety and second hand or thrift stores for unique pieces.
What current home decor trends do you love?
I’m LOVING this year’s hot colours – Tangerine & Purple! Tangerine is a great pop of colour that can be used in so many combinations; paired with white and yellow it is so light and refreshing. Purple can be so mysterious and sultry when paired with pewter or charcoal. I’m also very happy to see wallpaper being used again. It is such a great way to add colour and interest.
[Pics: Graham & Brown Wallpaper]
What current home decor trends do you think should go?
The return of BRASS!
[Pic is from www.thedecorologist.com]
If you could pick the next big trend or hot colour, what would it be?
I am a big fan of warm neutrals so I would bring back burnt orange to be the next hot colour paired with chocolate brown and a mustard yellow or mix it with blue for a great contrast!
[Pic is from blog.styleestate.com]
What are your favorite websites/blogs for design inspiration right now?
I’m always checking out sarahrichardsondesign.com to see what she’s up to. I belong to a few design/staging groups on Facebook where we share ideas and trends. Hgtv.ca is always a great stop for so many different projects.
Kelly at Work
How did you get involved in the Home Staging industry?
After starting my decorating business I quickly realized that diversification was the key to growth. I saw an ad for Canadian Staging Professionals in a design magazine and decided to request the information booklet to learn more about the course. After reading the booklet I enrolled right away. The course was fantastic! I learned so much about the industry and how to market not only my staging services but my decorating services as well.
Can you share before and after photos of one or two of your favorite staging projects and tell us a little about them?
I would be more than happy to!
The 1st before and after is a property that we staged using only what the seller had – no rental items were brought it. We rearranged the furniture in the living room to create a better focal point and to open up the space to show off the great size of the room. It is always a lot of fun being able to stage using what the seller has. Most times we rearrange furniture or repurpose pieces in ways that the seller never thought of.
The 2nd before and after is a condo that the seller was moving out of before putting it on the market. The existing furniture was in good condition but was too large for the room it was being used in. DecoChic Interiors repurposed one piece in another room and brought in rental furniture that was a better fit for the space. Vacant spaces are also fun as they are like a blank canvas allowing us to bring in specific items to highlight the features of the space and they allow for a different degree of creativity.
What is the biggest thing you have learned about design as a home stager?
The biggest thing I have learned is the technique of using colours as well as combining patterns.
What is your favourite part of the staging process?
I enjoy every step of the process, planning, prep and execution, but the best part is the reveal: when my clients return after the transformation is complete and they are thrilled with the outcome! My favorite thing to hear is “I love it! I don’t want to move now!” Happy clients are the greatest outcome of every project!