There's more demand for home-prettification projects than Sarah Waddell expected when she opened Pomeroy House Interiors last fall.
The recovering real estate market has brought her a steady supply of work - especially staging homes that are listed for sale.
The 43-year-old Boise woman says she has a passion for matching a client's living space to the client's personality and a knack for rehabbing old furniture.
"From the age of 9, I was inspired by my grandmother, who was a talented painter living on Long Island," Waddell says.
Her grandmother, who attended Parsons School of Design and worked in New York City in the 1940s, introduced her to the craft she loves. She took the young Waddell to designer showhouses in the Hamptons and gave her old issues of Architectural Digest.
Waddell took a deliberate path to starting the new business, which she runs from home. Waddell saved up her commissions from a 10-year career as a licensed Realtor and enrolled in an online design course. She honed her skills on the homes of friends and family. In the early days, she got word out by posting before-and-after photos on Facebook and Houzz.com. She advertised the company at her children's elementary school holiday bazaar and tapped into her network of Realtor friends.
Q: How is your process unique?
A: I spend a lot of time online, reading magazines and visiting Treasure Valley thrift shops and design stores. My concepts and designs ... evoke feelings of serenity and real life. That includes kids. And pets. The demographic of our community demands affordability and comfort before high style and cutting-edge ideas. I design for real people.
I have a network of Realtors throughout the Treasure Valley who hire me to prepare their clients' homes. In two hours, I provide advice to homeowners about furniture placement, decluttering and artwork arrangements.
Q: What challenges have you faced, and how have you met them?
A: Ramping up during a real estate Renaissance! Word is spreading among agents about my niche for staging occupied listings. I've even staged multiple listings for one agent in the same day. I also stage model homes for a local builder.
(I spend time on) marketing, bookkeeping, purchasing office supplies, carving out work space at home.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in the next three to five years?
A: A sphere of repeat clients who hire me as their lifestyles evolve. Perhaps adding a nursery, transitioning their college-aged kids' rooms to dens or guest rooms, redesigning their kid-friendly spaces to empty nesters' retreats. And, definitely, at least 1,000 "likes" on Facebook.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448