Wanda Furman: Don’t call her a “decorator”

This is the first of a series of blogs on some of the designers Hammertown works with.  We thought you’d like to get to know them and see some of their work.

Auntie M sat down with Wanda Furman and Joan to ask them a few questions…

Q: Why don’t you like being called a “decorator”?

Wanda: “I’m a stylist.  It’s different than being a decorator.  I was actually a photo stylist in the city and did a lot of work for magazines like Country Home, Victoria and other national shelter magazines.

Q: How did you two meet?

Joan: Wanda and I first met about 8 years ago when she bought her country house in Clinton Corners.  She was furnishing her house and I just loved everything she bought at the barn.   I could tell she had great design taste.  She bought my favorite old chalkboard from Vermont; the old basket I found when I was in Maine; the English ironstone china; and, the vintage French linen pillow.

Wanda: I remember getting to know Joan better when I was looking for furniture and antiques for an upcoming photo shoot.  I knew what beautiful things she had at Hammertown so I took a chance and asked her if she would lend me some pieces for the shoot.  And she did!

Q: What finally started your working relationship?

Joan: I love her sense of style…her aesthetic…she has a real gift. Then I had an idea.  So many of our customers were asking Rhonda and I to help them decorate their homes but I’m not a “decorator” and we just didn’t have the time.  So I contacted Wanda and encouraged her to take her styling skills and use them to help people decorate and put together their own homes.

Wanda: Joan became my manager!  She told me to print business cards and I did.  Joan’s first referrals led to many other jobs.  Every customer had a friend or family member they would in turn refer to me.  A customer with a country home would ask me to work on their city apartment…it’s very word of mouth and it’s kept me very busy.

Q: How do you work with your clients?

Wanda: As I said, I don’t think of myself as a decorator.  Sometimes decorators impose their own tastes on someone else’s home.  I’m more of an “editor”.  I’m able to go into someone’s home with a fresh eye and see what they already have — it gives me a sense of who they are.  And, that’s what many customers want; is to know how to work with the elements they have.  If they do need something new…a piece of furniture…a painting or a rug…I’ll help guide them.  Sometimes I’ll  bring items to their homes to see how they work or I’ll take the client right to the source (like Hammertown) to look at options which might be too large for me to bring with me.

Joan: She really gets the “soul of a person” and won’t make you get what you don’t need.

Wanda: The more I learn about how my customers really live in their homes, the better.  It needs to be right for YOU not me.

Joan: I go to Wanda often to ask for her “fresh eye” in my own home…what I need to keep…what’s working…what isn’t.  She styled my home for the APG Garden Tour this summer (see above & left)Wanda really does help you bring your soul, style and spirit into your home.  She’s helped me a lot with mine.

NEXT WEEK:  WANDA’S RENOVATION OF HAMMERTOWN’S GATEHOUSE

If you’re interested in working with Wanda, just email joan@hammertown.com


3 Comments

  • Mimi Dunne says:

    Wanda is the brilliant sister you wish lived down the street!

    She has a genius for clarifying desires, rearranging what you have, repurposing what you’re tired of, and intuiting what will bring it all together. And she has an infectious “let’s do it” spirit that keeps it fun! The results are beyond expectations, both fresh and timeless.

    It’s the best decorating money I’ve ever spent.

  • Jessica Churton says:

    Wanda’s Home in my eye’s has got to be one of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen. I love it!!! what talent.

  • Linda Scherr says:

    Wanda is amazing – we call her Wanda Woman at our house! I had worked with designers in the past who wanted to sell us as much furniture and window treatments as they could. Wanda came into our home, suggested some upholstery, an awesome paint color, and turned our living room into a space beyond my expectations (and at a reasonable price). Now we’ve done the master bedroom, daughter’s room and she’s helping us with a carriage house on our property. I love her work and am happy to call her my friend…

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