Stacey Van Gundy and her family live and breath home design. Each room in her house reflects her creativity, which, over time, morphed into a thriving business. In the beginning, she apprenticed under another faux finisher. Not long after, Stacey said, “I partnered with my husband’s company, introducing them to the decorative arts.” She branched out into hand texture, decorative painting, and cabinets where her skills evolved and blossomed into Stacey Design, a business that she has run for over nineteen years. Stacey consults and works with homeowners, designers, and builders in Des Moines, Iowa, and the surrounding areas.
In the decorative industry, trends and techniques rapidly evolve. Stacey maintains a good balance of continued education to keep her business current. After meeting Kathy Carroll, she took several rewarding classes held at Faux by Kathy, including master classes, and private ones. “I’ve been there a couple of time and got my husband to come,” said Stacey. “For a private class, I picked out the finishes I wanted to do. I sold a strié glass bead sample board right away in a restaurant downtown. Kathy and her staff are so nice, helpful, and giving. I can call her and say I’ve got a client and whose looking for this finish or that and she’ll tell me what I need. Kathy doesn’t hold back, and I really appreciate that.”
There are several products Stacey purchases from Kathy, such as glass beads. “One of my favorites that she sells is glass beads. I also get a lot of her metallic plasters because I don’t have to worry about trying to match a color. I can pull out a paint deck and have it matched in a metallic. I do quite a bit of metallic textures. I can give Kathy a color the designer picks out and its super convenient. It saves a lot on making sure the client is getting what they want.”
Many areas of the decorative business, such a problem solving, are exciting to Stacey. “What I enjoy more than anything is when you go into someone’s house to alter a space they’re not really in love with. When you do something, and they come back, and they enjoy being in their home it gives me great satisfaction. For example, when doing a kitchen, they may say that they don’t like to cook, or even be in there. It’s not an enjoyable room. Then when you do the backsplash, the cabinets, or a full re-design, their whole attitude about being in the kitchen, even cooking, changes. They find enjoyment in the space. We’re supposed to enjoy our homes. I think that’s what I like more than anything, helping people create a space that they love to be in.”
Stacey’s creative skills with furniture restoration are in high demand by designers and clients. She often replicates high-end furniture for clients and designers that are found online. In addition, she works with wall finishes, foils, and textures. To gain insight into the business she loves, she highlights a few of her favorite jobs. The first she shares was in conjunction with her husband, where she utilized all the skills and techniques in her arsenal in one place. “I would say my favorite was when we did a sixty-foot glass bead strié wall in a downtown restaurant. I helped with the wood trim, cabinetry, and painting. It was a complete transformation.”
With each job, something exiting occurs. A job she did for a new home was just such an experience. “I had one recently that I did that was a metallic texture in the bathroom and basement. That was fun because it was in a new house and I was the only lady on the team. I did these two finishes and the electricians—all the men—would walk through and comment on much they liked it. That’s not something you think about with decorative painting—that it would appeal to men. I thought that was neat.”
Stacey mentioned that Des Moines, Iowa is a tad conservative, but peoples’ tastes change and she finds it thrilling to be a part of that. “When I first started going out on my own, my sister-in-law worked for me. We did a house in Des Moines where my husband did the decorative plaster, and I did the painting. They had this red brick fireplace, and we did arches and brick breakouts where the plaster exposed patches of brick. Every year they had me come back and do something else. We did the whole house. It was very Tuscan. Five years later, she had us return and re-do everything. She wanted light. I re-did the faux finishes and glazes, everything really, so it had more of a soft farmhouse look to it. I did a ceiling medallion that at the time was dark and we re-did it with glass beads. We left all of the same architectural finishes, and just by repainting everything, we changed it into modern farmhouse glam.” Stacey explains how it’s possible to alter former designs into updated ones with new paint and finishes. “I have photos of the dining room before it was updated. It’s beautiful both ways, but trends have changed. Our client also changed out all her furnishings. Nine times out of ten, you can re-do the paint, metallic, base layer, and things can be stenciled over. You don’t have to worry about completely tearing it out.”
While Stacey’s business continues to flourish in all aspects, she would like to expand and branch out to include new avenues. “I would like to start teaching a little bit. I get a lot of questions on how to paint cabinets and what to use. I want to share all my years of experience with homeowners about some of the popular finishes I’ve used over the years.” She already got her feet wet with a YouTube video soon to release called, “Beginners Guide to Spraying Cabinets Like a Pro. Its purpose is to help beginners and homeowners that would like to learn how to spray but are intimidated. Anyone can do it if you want to know how and have the right tools.