Interior Life: Inspirations for reimagining your space

photography by Bailey Koepsel

It took a pandemic for many of us to look around and see our living spaces with fresh eyes: that wall we always wanted to paint, those shelves we wanted to install, that piece of furniture we always wanted to refinish. Maybe we pushed the couch here and plunked a desk over there and called it a room, always intending to feng shui it for the look, energy and feel we desired.

Many of us are taking advantage of these interior times to reimagine our indoor spaces. Here, Bailey Koepsel inspires us with her special flair for interior design.

Designing Woman

This summer, Bailey Kopesel and her husband, Brady Olson, finished decorating their first home — a 95-year-old Tudor revival in Sevastopol.

Talking with Koepsel about textures, focal points, colors, greenery and different periods of design style, you’d never know she’s the executive director of the Door County Historical Society and not a professional interior designer. But it’s clear that design runs through her veins, injected no doubt by her antique-dealing parents, Dennis and Melissa, who own Koepsel’s Meadow Lane Antiques. 

Room design is an organic process for Koepsel that arises from the possibilities she sees in her most prized possessions. These pieces of furniture or art then become the focal point for the whole room.

“It’s important that everything else jibes with what you want the focal point to be,” she said.

The French Country style of the room she calls the “vanity” arose from the (1) white end table and (2) dresser, which were part of her mother’s childhood bedroom set; and from the (3) loveseat, which belonged to her great-grandmother and was reupholstered by her parents. 

Koepsel positioned the (4) curtain rod high above the window to create the illusion of a much taller window. The inexpensive sheer panels add light-filtering, understated romance and allow the drama of the gallery wall to take center stage. 

For the gallery, the eyelashes art piece (5) was the focal point. Koepsel then looked for relatively minimalist prints she could frame herself, searching locally and online at Etsy and Society6. Measuring while creating the configuration was optional. 

“My husband did a very good job of making sure things were relatively centered,” she said. “I just had an idea of where I want it to go, and he puts it where I want.”

The living room switches to contemporary. 

“I would love it to be modern contemporary, but our furniture isn’t quite that minimal,” she said. 

When their old couch didn’t fit through any doorway into their new home, they bought something neutral that set the tone for the room. 

The focal point is the quilt print. Koepsel’s grandmother made the squares, and her mother had them framed. It was the first piece she hung, requiring everything else to either match or complement it — with creams and pinks, and with the blue tones in the red of the quilt squares picked up by the blue/green in the chairs. 

Art and greenery are must-haves, Koepsel said, and added texture is another favorite that’s evident in every room: the chunky wool rug in the living room, the multicolored materials on throw pillows and the knickknacks she placed beside the art to interrupt the linearity of the gallery wall. 

Koepsel had several bits of advice for anyone undertaking a room redo. First, use what you already have. Second, when new items must be purchased, Koepsel relies on secondhand shops, antique stores and retailers with low price points.

“Higher price point does not equal higher quality,” she said. 

Finally, how families use their rooms should drive design decisions.

“It is important for your home to be functional,” she said. “Every piece should serve a purpose.”