Shelley Helms said her love of home decorating grew out of her love for Christmas.
“It was that magical time of year even though we didn’t have a lot of money growing up,” Helms recalled. “My mom always took pride in making things good for us.”
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Helms went all out with her Christmas decorations each year to make the holiday special for her husband and four children. Her friends and family took notice.
“People started asking me to help them decorate for Christmas,” she said. “I’d pick out the tree, decorate the house, hang the stockings — the whole gamut — for busy moms who didn’t have time to do it themselves.”
The word spread, and Helms began getting calls from friends of friends. And people weren’t just seeking her help at Christmastime.
“I’ve always been that one person people asked for help with decorating,” she said. “They’d ask me to help pick out paint colors or with room arrangements. They knew I enjoyed it and had a knack for it.”
Finally, last year, Helms decided to turn her skill into a business. With the encouragement and support of a friend who had established a house painting business a few years earlier, Helms founded Hearthstone Design, a home decorating and remodeling business. She runs the business out of her Fairfax home.
“I just decided life is too short and I wanted to do something I really enjoy,” she said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Hearthstone Design’s services range from selecting paint colors and furniture to major home renovations that involve installing new flooring and fireplaces, gutting bathrooms and replacing staircases.
“Some clients already have a plan and just need me to guide them through process and help with the details,” Helms said. “Other times I’ve taken on a whole project from the bare bones. Either way, it’s so much fun.”
As her projects have grown in scope, Helms has developed relationships with contractors to complete the physical labor under her supervision. Many of those referrals have come from her friend with the painting business or her son, who works for a carpet company.
“They’ve given me great people to work with,” she said. “It’s nice to have people I trust.”
In working with any client, Helms said she strives to create a space that meets the client’s needs and personal style while staying within a set budget. She charges for her services at an hourly rate and does not upcharge for goods and services she purchases on the client’s behalf.
Helms said her goal for the business is reflected in the name she chose for it.
“The word hearthstone evokes a feeling of home and warmth,” she said. “That’s exactly what I want to do — create a comforting, warm, inviting space for people.”
• Know a business open for less than a year that would make an interesting “Ground Floor”? Contact email@example.com.
At a Glance
• Owner: Shelley Helms
• Business: Hearthstone Design
• Phone: (319) 551-3157
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/hearthstonedesigniowa