To Top

Meet Paula Gaull of New Leaf Redesign in Marblehead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Gaull.

Paula, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had been in marketing/advertising for 25 years and was looking for a change. The startup software company I worked for was bought out by a giant company–and they basically squashed any creativity out of our department. I felt like my days were very “gray”…and I desperately wanted them to be in color–but didn’t exactly know what that meant. While looking for someone to help me redecorate my own house using furniture I already had, I discovered that there was a field called “redesign”–which did just that…and that there were training programs for redesigners. A light bulb went off in my head, and I knew this was what I wanted to do for my next “chapter”. Through a series of amazing coincidences, it turned out that someone from my past was actually a certified trainer out in Napa Valley. I reconnected, and 3 weeks later I was on a plane out to California to train in redesign and staging (preparing a house for the market so it shows better and sells faster). I loved my training, and my instructors were very encouraging–saying I was a natural…and when I got back, I quit my job and just started my own redesign and staging company.

Looking back, I kind of can’t believe I did it, but honestly, it felt so easy and right, I couldn’t NOT do it!! I started out using word of mouth and referrals for marketing–and 12+ later, that’s how I still get all my business. My business has shifted a bit over the years, so that I’m doing about 50% staging and 50% design and color consulting. Back when I started out, staging houses was kind of a foreign concept…but thanks to TV shows on HGTV, it’s pretty much the standard for smart sellers and brokers listing a house these days. I have a great group of clients–many of whom had used me for various projects over the years…many of my design clients started as staging clients–they loved how their houses looked when I staged them, and asked me to design their new houses.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I don’t think any new business journey can be exactly “smooth” the entire time…and mine is no different. Though there have been so many things that have come easily to me, and many doors almost “magically” opened…there have definitely been challenges. I’m basically a one-woman shop–which means I do almost everything myself–including lots of stuff I really don’t want to do. it can be hard to stay motivated without others to bounce things off of or get energy from. Staging is also a lot of hard physical work…so that’s another challenge. I’m lucky to have some great people help me with the physical end of things –but when they’re not available, it can really be tough! Probably the #1 challenge is staying motivated and disciplined. I think it’s can be even harder for creative people to stay on task and be disciplined with time management etc. (Or maybe I’m just making excuses!)

Every now and then I wonder if I’m ready for my next “chapter” and wonder what that will be…and then right about then, I’ll get a call for a really great project, and I think, “Nope…I’m good doing what I’m doing!”

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the New Leaf Redesign story. Tell us more about the business.
I have a staging, redesign and color consulting company. I basically help people make their spaces look and feel better, whether they are selling their houses or staying in them.

About 50% of my business is staging–getting a house ready for the market so it shows, and photographs better–and sells faster. I have a core group of brokers who use me consistently to prepare their listings and are great supporters, because they know the results I get for them. It’s great to have clients trust me so much–they know I always deliver–no matter how challenging the property is.

The other half of my business is helping people get “unstuck” with decorating and paint colors. I work with a lot of great people and help them realize their vision. I try to make it easy, fun, non-threatening…and infuse a good amount of humor. I think people like working with me because I often help them see that they were on the right track all along…they just needed a nudge to get them over the finish line. I think some people can be intimidated at the thought of working with traditional “designers”…and I’m different: I’m more like their best girlfriend, who happens to have a really good eye for design!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think I’m very lucky all around…I do realize it. First of all, I have a very supportive husband, who made it really easy for me to take this big leap, leave my old career and start something brand new on my own. I’m not sure how far I would have gone without his unconditional support…but beyond that, I think the fact that I connected with my trainers in California was unbelievably lucky–to have someone from my past (who I never thought I would see again) be so instrumental in my career change was incredible–and to me, a clear sign that the “universe” approved of this transition! It made it extremely easy for me to make the change and go in a totally new direction.

And I guess I’m lucky in the sense that I can honestly say that bad luck hasn’t been an issue for me (but of course, I’ve probably just jinxed that!)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kitchen Photo: Deb Herman

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in