Natural Light- Open the curtains, hang mirrors opposite your windows to maximize natural light and views of the outdoors. Natural light helps us produce Vitamin D which helps us focus so we can get more done. I feel happier and calmer.
As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ruth Schuster of Ruth Schuster Interiors.
Award-winning designer Ruth Schuster is one of Southwest Florida’s premier tastemakers.
She has been the recipient of the prestigious Miromar Design Center Designer of Distinction Award and her interiors have been featured in numerous publications.
Ruth earned her degree in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. For over three decades, she has created beautiful homes for distinguished clients in the greater Naples area. Her background in construction management and residential design enable her to understand the building process.
Ruth’s expertise includes assisting the homeowner with building material selections, lighting/electric plans and architectural revisions. Homes designed by Ruth have been featured numerous times in both the Lee and Collier Building Industry Associations’ Parades of Homes.
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I loved decorating ever since I can remember. I loved picking out the paint color for my bedroom and choosing all the accessories. My aunt Oliverose was a decorator and she designed rooms in my uncle’s hotel chain. After she took me to the design district in Miami I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I was asked to design a home located in a flying community. Instead of driveways, my clients needed to taxi into their hangar. The best part, I got to see John Travolta every day.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
About 25 years ago, I installed a blue and white small ticking stripe wallpaper in a child’s room. You couldn’t tell from the small sample, but once it was installed on the large walls, the pattern of small dots and stripes appeared to be moving. The visual effect was dizzying. The placement of furniture and art helped break up the pattern and alleviate the problem a bit. In case you are wondering, we offered to change the wallcovering but the client opted to keep it. The lesson learned was that I have avoided small striped wallcoverings ever since.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Right now I’m working on a 19th-century farmhouse that is the home my niece shares with her husband and three children. She is the 6th generation of her family to live in the home that was previously occupied by my late sister. So I’ve known this dwelling for about 50 years and have seen many iterations of it. The Victorian red carpets of a long-ago era made way for more neutral tones along with Mod yellow and green flowered wallpaper in the ’70s. There was a country theme in the ’80s with stenciled rust and delft blue borders on the walls and pierced tin light fixtures. About 20 years ago, the old house was moved some 500 yards from its original location and now sits on a wooded lot by a creek. I’m overjoyed to be a part of reimagining these spaces for the current generations who occupy it. I hope to help make spaces comfortable and functional in a way that relates to modern living while respecting the home’s history that is so meaningful to the family that lives there.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilized, meaningful environment, not about the fashion of what’s in or what’s out. This is not an easy job.”- Albert Hadley. A few years ago I designed a model home. A great big beautiful house. It sat empty and silent. Until the opening party. Then the house came to life as it was filled with people, laughter, live music, bartenders, catered food stations and valet parking attendants in the driveway.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Early on in my career I remember picking up my son at his friend’s house. While chatting with the boy’s parents, they learned that I was an Interior Designer. Actually, I was working in a related field at the time and dreaming of having my own business. The boy’s mother stated that they were about to make a lot of expensive mistakes with the home’s interior and would like my help. Without hesitation and with no formal agreement, she handed me a retainer check! Suddenly my dream came true. I was in business!
Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Natural Light- Open the curtains, hang mirrors opposite your windows to maximize natural light and views of the outdoors. Natural light helps us produce Vitamin D which helps us focus so we can get more done. I feel happier and calmer.
- Music- Play your favorite music that reminds you of happy and fun times. Music helps us all cope with life at a time when we are all need a little spark of joy.
- Flowers- I always have several orchids in bloom and love forsythia branches in the spring. Did you know that flowers give off oxygen and can actually help you sleep better at night?
- Soft Pillows and Throws- I love to cozy up with my faux fur throw in the evening while reading or watching movies.
- Make Dinner Special- Use the good china, crystal and cloth napkins. Eat in the dining room. It’s also a great way to get everyone away from social media and actually talking to one another.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would like to see people slow down and appreciate the blessings they have, help others who have less and stop envying those who have more.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
🙂 Jim Tressel, former head football coach at Ohio State University. The reason is because he was not only a winning coach but an all-around first-class gentleman who cared about his players. He is a role model in a time where there are so few. My late father was also a football coach and played ball at OSU after serving in the USMC in WWII.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!