Every time I host a project tour live on Instagram, share a post of my red-haired, snuggly little ones assisting me in the kitchen, or take my followers into the homes of my design clients, I’m welcoming everyone to the most intimate parts of my life and the inspirations for my work. Sharing what matters most is my biggest privilege and blessing. Even when I didn’t run my own design firm or have my own house, I understood the power of beauty to nourish and heal hearts, bodies, and spirits.
I’ve always desired to create a sense of comfort in the spaces around me. I found small ways to do this for my sisters and brothers and myself when my childhood home was a place of abuse and neglect. I was the second oldest of seven kids born to a father who was physically and emotionally abusive and a mom who struggled to parent us while she too was stuck in a cycle of control.
We fiercely looked after each other. I made it my role to bring love and beauty into my siblings’ lives in whatever way I could. Knowing that dinner for the seven of us would be prepared from a single box of macaroni and cheese, I set the table with place mats, cups, and silverware to give my family the security and comfort of being cared for. I created order wherever possible—making my bed, helping my mom with the laundry, and showing my siblings how to keep their spaces neat— hoping to usher in a sense of stability and joy amid uncertainty. We moved from a run-down apartment to a run-down house while our dad worked in a variety of sales jobs. When I was ten, my dad’s career stabilized, and my parents bought a two-story home in a suburban development in Fort Worth. I had my own bedroom for the very first time, and I couldn’t wait to make it my refuge.
I did everything I could to hang on to the privilege of enjoying that sweet space. I watched my mom be creative with very little and find ways to refresh areas of the home, so I did the same in my little sanctuary. Each morning after rising, I made my bed with care, folding the top sheet and comforter just so, smoothing away any wrinkles, and then carefully arranging all my pillows before adding the throw blanket at the foot of the bed. If a sibling wanted to push my buttons, they would hurl themselves onto my bed and mess up that day’s creation of beauty and order.
After school, I hurried back to my room, where I would continue to plan, create, and dream. This was when I first experienced the healing power of beautiful spaces and discovered that a home can express contentment and happiness—and safety.
When my father put us in harm’s way, I retreated to my refuge and calmed myself by singing the hymns we learned in church. I communed with the Lord, feeling protected, defended, and cherished. It still moves me deeply to know that in that sparse, tiny room, God was preparing me for how he wanted to use my life.
In time, my father became a man of committed faith and love. He has received my forgiveness, and God has restored our relationship. Redemption is the ultimate emergence of beauty from brokenness. In the decades that followed my childhood, I watched God continue to work through my love of home to show others how worthy they are of his goodness. I’m created to host a meal for people who need a table to gather round. I’m designed to build a piece of furniture from discarded items to make our house feel like home. I’m shaped to help other people’s hopes become reality.
Ginger Curtis is the founder of Urbanology Designs in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas and has twice been awarded First Place Designer of the Year by the Interior Design Society. She was also a two-time finalist for HGTV’s Faces of Design awards. In addition to design, Ginger brings her passion to her many charitable efforts, including nonprofits working to help victims of global sex trafficking and abuse and several cancer research and awareness organizations.
Ginger’s new book, Beauty by Design, is now available. Drawing on lessons learned both personally and professionally, award-winning designer Ginger walks you through every step of the home design process, from decluttering your space to adding finishing touches that create character and charm.