Comfortable, Original, Affordable, Stylish and Timeless

Article by Karen Justice

Photography by T. Kowalsky Photography

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

Reappearing in a different way seems to be a theme of Wendy Campbell’s life. As a child, she moved to Frederick with her military family. After college, she never returned to Frederick. That is not until her husband landed a job in the Washington, D.C. area. Of all their metropolitan choices, with the support of her family, Wendy returned to Frederick. This time as a wife and mother and with a new idea in mind.

When her children were young, Wendy had been a teacher. Then she worked in real estate, buying “fixer-upper” homes to make them reappear as welcoming and comfortable options for a new family. Doing so on a reasonable budget was a critical key. Many of the aspects of the old homes were repurposed and a passion emerged.

Wendy loves the challenge of taking something old and changing it to something with a new design, style and/or purpose. She began repurposing furniture and selling it in two booths at a shop in Savannah. She took college courses in Interior Design from a graduate of the highly regarded  Savannah College of Art and Design. Her friends would ask for some advice and assistance, then shower her with compliments on the appeal of her design ideas. Over time Wendy developed her eclectic style.

Because she loves the coast, Wendy’s design business and shop are called Coast Designs. “It is also an acronym for my goals,” she shared. “The letters stand for Comfortable, Original, Accessible, Stylish and Timeless.” The primary objective in her design work is Comfort, first and foremost. “A comfortable and welcoming home is essential,” she said. “After all, it’s where my clients begin and end their day.”

Many of her design projects are quite Original because of her repurposing passion and skill. With a really slow supply chain and lead time problems for furniture these days, repurposing provides a new look with nearly immediate gratification. You’ve heard the saying “They just don’t make things like they used to.” Wendy says that’s particularly true for real, solid wood casework and upholstered goods. “In addition to reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing, the end result of a repurposed item is something with history and a long future,” she says.

Wendy believes everyone deserves to love where they live. Making design services Accessible to all is essential to her. A one-hour consultation for choosing a new color for a wall or a room is an easy step toward a smile-generating new look. Uniquely, she offers a menu of services from ideas to major projects to make design services at some level possible for whatever fits her clients’ dreams and budgets.

Speaking of dreams, if you share a home with someone, you know one person’s vision of a change doesn’t always match the co-resident’s vision. In fact, changing the look of your home means giving up some control over your living space and your comfort zone. It’s uncomfortable. “Sometimes I feel like a therapist or marriage counselor,” Wendy commented. “But everyone deserves to have a space or product that brings them joy. I’m married. I have children. I understand. Everyone deserves to love where they live.” 

Style is so personal. We often doubt that a designer will “get” us. “Some people wonder how a designer will really know what appeals to them. But, I’m usually intuitive about a client’s style. We all give away little clues,” Wendy said.  "I’ve lived in coastal, cottage and colonial. I love modern and mid-century,” she stated. “No matter what the period or style, good design is Timeless.” 

Having people visit her brick and mortar Coast Designs shop is helpful. She can conduct some of her design meetings there. Plus, it’s also easy for most people to find elements in the shop that fits their taste. It’s very eclectic and creates conversational clues in style. Just like in a home where designers like Wendy will focus on a color or piece the client frequently mentions, there are pieces in her shop that draw focus to a style preference.

It’s amazing how a great designer can totally refresh your home by simply moving things around. Those of us who have furnished and then lived in a home for fifteen or twenty years see the status quo. The fresh eyes of a designer can repurpose a chair, a lamp, a painting or even an entire room, thereby totally enlivening one’s living space.  Too often we think of staging as only something we do when selling a home. Wendy is quite skilled at that, but she can also give you new reasons to fall in love with the home you currently have. She is very creative at using something in the same way in a different place, modifying the original intended use of something or totally changing the look and form of an object.

“My goal is to provide a home that is affordable, inspiring, beautiful, functional, practical and comfortable for the entire family,” Wendy shared. That’s a big job. Her favorite thing about being a designer is helping people create a home that they will love. As a former teacher and mother of a special needs child, it’s part of her style. 


• While neutral paint colors are still in for walls, add colorful accent accessories. 

• Add color and seasonal texture to your textiles, like velvets and corduroys for colder months and silks, linens, cottons for the warmer months. 

• A great way to make high impact is with wallpaper. It’s a great design element that can add color and a perceived texture. The newest ones are easy to install and remove. Add them to the walls, but also to a tabletop under glass or inside a box. Use one with woodgrain on a cabinet door.

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