GLADE SPRING, Va. — A Washington County woman has launched an interior design business after posting her home makeover photos on social media.
Three years ago, Jenifer Stuart and her husband Brent purchased a farmhouse at auction in Glade Spring. “It needed a lot of love and cosmetic updates,” she said.
When Stuart shared before and after photos of renovations to her home, her friends on Facebook were amazed at her work and wanted to see more.
“Friends would comment to please come and decorate their homes,” said Stuart.
After posting photos of her new laundry room, Stuart received a direct message from a home owner offering to pay her to decorate her home.
“That’s how it all started,” said the 35-year-old wife and mother of two.
Stuart eventually was able to quit her office manager job for a local commercial construction company and devote her time to helping people transform their homes.
“It’s kind of a happy accident. It was never something I set out to do. I’ve always loved decorating. I just never thought it was something I could do as a career.”
She traded her office computer for a toolbox on wheels. “It rolls around with me wherever I go,” she said with laughter.
In August 2020, she opened Freckled Farmhouse Interior Design, a name the businesswoman chose because she’s often admired for her youthful, freckled face.
In just months, she had dozens of clients asking for her help.
“Some clients have older homes that need sprucing up and updating. Some clients have brand-new homes. But the majority of clients struggle with knowing how to decorate on their own. They know what they want but don’t know how to execute it.”
She specializes in farmhouse designs, but occasionally, her clients ask for traditional and craftsman designs.
Stuart said one of her most exciting jobs has been designing the interior of a 1800s farm house in Abingdon. “The clients have completely gutted and restored the home, and I am helping them choose things like paint colors, flooring and countertops. It’s been a really fun project.”
Her portfolio covers most all of the rooms in the house from living rooms and kitchens to bedrooms and bathrooms.
“I have a house that’s not quite stepped out of the 1980s. I’m redoing their kitchen and living room,” she said.
Stuart is doing a complete office refresh at Kennedy & Stuart Law Firm in Bristol, Tennessee, choosing new furniture, paint and wall décor. She’s also redoing the porch on a local farmhouse in Washington County.
Stuart doesn’t have to look far to be inspired to create.
She’s energized by the natural settings around her house. The backyard view from her home captures the splendor of Whitetop Mountain.
“I want to create spaces for clients that are joyful and peaceful. I’d like every room my clients walk into to be a place they can relax and feel at home,” said Stuart, whose memories of her grandparent’s dairy farm also give her inspiration.
“Almost everything I create, I think of my grandmother and the farm. I guess that’s why I love farmhouse designs so much.”
It comes natural
Decorating just comes natural for the entrepreneur who has a keen eye for design.
Stuart grew up in a construction family, watching — and sometimes helping — her parents choose everything from light fixtures to flooring for the new homes they built.
“As I got older, I played with my room constantly, changing out the colors and arranging the furniture.”
She continued to put her own spin on decorating when she and her husband married and lived in multiple places.
“Every place we have lived, I’ve wanted to create a space that feels cozy and inviting for my family.”
She enjoys making use of used pieces of furniture either handed down to her or discovered at an auction or thrift store.
“I fall in love with imagining the story behind each piece I find — the families who owned them and how I can restore them back to life.
“I just love taking these treasures and creating beautiful spaces,” said Stuart, who’s thankful her dream job found her.
Her next dream is to open a local retail décor store she will name Freckled Farmhouse Gifts & Goods.
“It’s so neat to do something I really love and get paid for it.”
Check out Freckled Farmhouse Interior Design on Facebook. Contact Jenifer Stuart at email@example.com or at 276-492-0030.
Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.