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Decor diva turns drab to fab

Ginny Wenz
By Danielle Paine

Reminder Assistant Editor

HAMPDEN - With nearly 100 projects under her belt, Ginny Wenz is The Redesigning Woman.

With the eye of an interior decorating artist, Wenz is hired to redesign rooms using the homeowner's own possessions. Rearranging furniture, developing focal points and harmonizing a color pallet turn her client's spaces from average to adored, often without purchasing anything new.

"It is such a fun thing to rework everything," Wenz said. "I work with people who have had their furniture in the same place for 20 years amd when I'm done it feels like they have new furniture because everything is in a new location and is very well received."

This decor diva began her home based business in January 2002 shortly after she began teaching six-hour design workshops at Springfield Technical Community College. In these informal classes she still instructs, Wenz encourages participants to bring photos of their own dwelling's dilemmas to solve.

"I have several different conversations with them including color and staging," she said. "I like to build people's color schemes and I love giving them a direction."

Often, she explained, new homeowners haven't yet chosen a color pallet, design genre or plan. Wenz loves helping these people to define their style enough that each home makes a bold statement reflecting its owners individuality. Her own colors: very natural and earthy with khaki greens, warm topes and bright accents like red.

"I try not to impose my style on the people that I'm helping," she said. But Wenz is not shy about giving general pointers for avoiding common pitfalls. Don't be afraid of color, pair down your stuff, never hang pictures too high and most importantly, Wenz said to keep your home current.

"A home is the biggest invest you will make," she said. "You do routine maintenance on your car but you also need to refresh your home. Keep current on window treatments and wall color which become dated within five 10 years."

Though design is her career, Wenz said she is inspired by regular people who take on the task with the help of popular home design television shows. She said they encourage people to look at their homes in a new light and gives them permission to try new things.

"When they come to a hitch and don't know what to do, then they call me," Wenz said about these weekend warriors. "I like to try and get people before they make expensive mistakes and I'm happy to just steer people in the right direction."

The flip side of Wenz's world is designing to sell, or staging real estate to peak the interest (but not distract) potential buyers. This is when pairing down a flood of personal junk can be most critical.

"I simplify things so a potential buyer can envision living there," she said. "One of the most common mistakes is having too many personal items around that distract a buyer from seeing the bones of the room. Having someone stage your home is far less costly than having to lower the price."

She was recently consulted by a retired couple to do just that. The biggest impact there came from moving just two overstuffed chairs that completely blocked a much sought-after feature in the housing market, a fireplace.

Furniture is often the culprit of many decorating dead ends Wenz said. The best time someone should hire a design consultant, she explained, is right before making a major furniture purchase.

"It kills me to see people with the expensive furniture that is too big for the room," she said. "And measure, measure, measure your walls before you buy that 80 inch sofa or that 50 inch TV set."

This passion for innovating interiors came to Wenz as a child. While growing up in New York city Wenz said she was fascinated with moving her dollhouse furniture around and studying her father's building blueprints. Since completing study with the Interior Redesign Industry Specialists, she has shared that passion with customers from all of Western Massachusetts and Northern Conneticut.

"I truly get a lot of satisfaction in doing what I do," Wenz said.

For more information, contact Wenz at 566-8640 or visit her online at