From the time Fran Engle was a young girl, she loved to rearrange things.
"I loved taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary, whether it was painting it or using it in a unique way," she said.
She went to design school and has worked in decorating for 30-some years, including 25 in the Fox Valley.
Last month, she opened Inspiring Interiors at 111 N. Main St., in downtown Waupaca.
"My husband's family is from here. We moved back here a year ago," Engle said. "The first nine years of our marriage were in Waupaca. In some sense, it's us coming back home."
Her husband Rick is a chaplain at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King.
Last winter, she began thinking about opening a store here.
"I was looking for the right space. I wanted to be downtown," Engle said.
Two years ago, Engle and her daughter Jessica opened a store of the same name at 68 Racine St., in downtown Menasha. Her daughter now owns and operates that store.
Before opening Inspiring Interiors in Waupaca, Engle wandered through the downtown as a customer.
"I first checked to see if there was anything like this here," she said.
Engle said the concept of her business is to inspire people as they decorate their homes.
"We didn't want a store that just sold stuff," she said.
A home is a sanctuary - a place one goes to relax and find serenity - and colors and smells are among the things that can be used to create a relaxing atmosphere, Engle said.
Inspiring Interiors has home decor and gift items, but what she especially enjoys is helping people repurpose things.
Engle specializes in interior arrangement - the placement of furniture, art and accessories - and stages homes for real estate and makeovers.
"It's kind of a fun niche," she says. "When you're staging a home, it's neat to show off a home's best aspects."
Engle likes mixing the old and new, and her store helps others do just that.
She accepts furniture and home decor for consignment. Items must be gently used and in like new condition.
"People can bring up to 10 items at a time for consignment," she said.
The tagline of her business is "Breathing new life into you and your home."
Her website is www.inspiringinteriors.org and the business is also on Facebook under "Inspiring Interiors Waupaca."
As consignment items arrive at her store, she strives to get pictures of them on the Facebook page as soon as possible.
Engle loves the space her business in, saying she knew everything would look good on the oak floor.
"We got the space ready in five weeks. We removed walls to open up space and create rooms and refreshed the walls with warm and soothing colors," she said.
Engle said her store is not a gallery but will feature original art.
"Waupaca already has wonderful art galleries," she said.
What she wants to do is to inspire those who are creative to make artwork that works with her store.
Her seasonal hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Inspiring Interiors is closed on Sunday and Monday.
Engle may be reached at 715-942-2660.
She plans to show people how they may decorate their homes for the various seasons and also how regardless of their budget, their home can be their haven.
"What we put in our homes should nurture our spirit. Your home is a reflection and an extension of you," Engle said.
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