When Zandra Zuraw and Karen June Grant met seven years ago when their sons were entering pre-school, they had no idea this meeting would turn into a full-fledged creative business. Dubbed Little Yellow Couch, their DIY, Lifestyle and Interior Design business is all about helping people find their personal style, repurposing unusual objects into beautiful things and straight up joy.
Zandra and Karen are two of the fine folks featured in the The Back Porch chapter of our book, Homemakers. This chapter of the book is where some of our favorite makers have stopped by to share their own awesome projects for living more beautifully and creatively.
Their project shows you how to repurpose a bunch of old wooden crates into an eclectic jewelry display. Of course, you’ll have to buy our book to see how to make it yourself! In the meantime, read on to learn all about what inspires Zandra and Karen.
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
We both feel a compulsion to work with our hands, imagine something we see in our minds and then make it happen in real life. For us, it’s just plain fun to change things up and play with our visual environments. We get a little restless with the look of a room, the traffic flows in our homes or even how we’re dressed. And that restlessness often translates into action. Designing and creating never feel like chores that need to be checked off a to-do list. Instead, the process is extremely energizing and we’re pretty much addicted to it!
What is Little Yellow Couch about?
Little Yellow Couch is all about developing a meaningful, purposeful and intentional style in your home for people who crave it. We help you articulate your “style story” by focusing on how your personality and the experiences of your life can be represented through decor. Then, we teach you how to find and stretch your creativity so that your home represents your unique aesthetic. By focusing on the narrative of your life, we take a non-traditional, non-product driven approach to the design and lifestyle you want to experience every day in your home.
How did Little Yellow Couch get its start?
Karen June Grant and Zandra Zuraw met seven years ago when their sons were in pre-school. They were drawn to each other because of their shared experience of parenting boys with special needs. Almost immediately, they recognized they were kindred spirits when it came to passion for style and design. They were both makers, and sold their creations online, in stores and in the juried craft show circuit in New England. They began meeting regularly to offer support and share business tips regarding their separate companies, Simply June and Zeal Aesthetic. Eventually, they came to realize their interests and talents would be more than doubled if they joined forces and began a business together. Little Yellow Couch was launched in 2013, and its primary focus has been a lifestyle blog where Karen June and Zandra have shared DIY projects, party planning, product and book reviews, floral arrangements and cocktail recipes. They are in the process restructuring their website with an emphasis on teaching creativity and personal style development in home decor.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Try everything, make a mess and don’t be afraid to ditch a project and start over! Not every DIY project you take on or vision you have is going to come out as you imagined it. It’s worth trying again for the exciting moment when all your crafty stars align and your vision comes to life. Craft on!
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
Technology has completely broadened our creative worlds, from learning new skills via blogs and YouTube videos to connecting with other artists and designers who get as excited about sharing their passions and aesthetics as we are. We also discovered Basecamp a little over a year ago and it has totally changed the way we work as well as majorly increased our workflow. Basecamp allows us to create projects, share files, create to-do lists and calendars and basically keep all of our communication in one place. We can’t imagine working without it now!
What’s on your studio playlist?
We both love radio programs and music that help us step back from our everyday tasks and focus on our creativity. Zandra is always tuned into NPR and Karen June’s favorite band, First Aid Kit, is on her turntable as we type.
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
We’re often inspired when seeing or experiencing something we’ve stumbled upon. A new color palette for a powder room might come from beautiful stationery we see in a boutique. The idea for combining materials such as marble, wood and brass for a table setting might come from a stunning photo of a Greek garden. A new DIY project might be inspired by a trip to the thrift store. Also, there’s a lot of magic in having a business partner. We do a lot of brainstorming and have found our best ideas are hatched when we’re in the same room, working together.
What do you love about teaching people to make? And inspiring people who don’t think they are traditionally creative?
A huge part of our business is about demystifying creativity. So many people have told us they aren’t “creative” and so they shy away from attempting to put together moments of surprise and delight in their own homes. We get so much out of this kind of creative act that we are passionate about helping others experience their own creativity in this way. We’re currently developing tools, classes and (hopefully!) weekend retreats to get people thinking differently about creativity and using it to develop their personal style and aesthetic.
Be sure to order Homemakers to check out Zandra and Karen’s project as well as over 1,000 tips and tricks for living more creatively, inside and outside the home.