SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

October 31, 2012

Local designers race to redesign rooms to benefit the Furniture Bank

MARBLEHEAD — Paula Gaull is used to bringing tired rooms back to life. As a redesigner — someone who uses your own things to redecorate a room — she stages homes for sale and helps other clients rearrange what they have.

Tomorrow night, she’ll be doing it for a good cause. She is one of three North Shore designers taking part in a furniture challenge, presented by the North Shore Association of Realtors, to highlight the work of the Furniture Bank Program run by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

Each team will have one hour to create signature spaces from empty, 13-by-13-foot rooms using furniture that has been donated for use by low-income families or those making the transition from homelessness. The furniture used in the challenge will then be raffled off. The whole thing takes place in the group’s furniture warehouse in Lynn.

In addition to Gaull, who owns New Leaf Redesign of Marblehead, designers will include Danika Herrick of Beverly, who runs the Gorgeous Shiny Things blog, and A.J. Aubrey of the Pure and Simple Home store of Topsfield.

Gaull, who is originally from Marblehead, moved back to town four years ago after a number of years living in and around the North Shore.

She didn’t start her career as a redesigner. She had a 20-year career in marketing, public relations, advertising and real estate. Her last job in the corporate world was with the former software company called Groove Networks of Beverly at a time when Microsoft bought the company.

“I remember sitting in my cubicle there saying, ‘Oh, my God, everything is so gray. My days are completely gray. I need to be in color, I need to be surrounded by color,’” Gaull said.

At the time, she was looking for someone to help her redecorate a room, and she looked into using a redesigner, someone who uses your own stuff to redecorate. She found out there was training for this, and it was as if a light bulb went off in her head. She reconnected with a childhood friend who trained other redesigners in California, a move that led her to quit her job and start her company.

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