Designing a Legacy: Shelley Walter’s Reflections on Women’s History Month

During this insightful interview, Shelley Walter, our owner, and creative director, graciously shares her intimate reflections on the significance of Women’s History Month, champions her personal inspirations, and discusses the legacy of empowerment she is pioneering and fostering in her professional and personal circles.

For you, why is it imperative to commemorate and celebrate the legacy of women’s history?

Women possess a unique social latitude, distinct from men, even amidst the burden of unfounded stereotypes. For instance, our societal framework often permits women to express unbridled creativity, nurture meaningful interpersonal connections, and exude empathy more openly. This not only enhances our professionally developed skill sets but also influences the manner in which we engage with our work, infusing it with profound impact. This distinct perspective, rather than being overshadowed by misconceptions, merits acknowledgment and celebration. Throughout history, women have exemplified diligence, capability, and ambition, and it’s crucial to honor the trailblazers, pioneers, and innovators who have forged new paths for us all.

Could you share a historical female figure who holds a special place in your admiration? What facets of her character inspire you most?

One woman that comes to my mind is Jackie Kennedy. To me, she epitomizes timeless elegance, grace, and resilience. Her unwavering strength, particularly in the aftermath of her husband’s tragic passing during a pivotal era, serves as a beacon of inspiration. Amidst adversity, she always displayed dignity and fortitude, and that has always stuck with me. She was also very outwardly cultured and worldly. She was a patron of the arts, well-traveled, spoke multiple languages, and obviously her eye for fashion is what most recall about her influence. Her well-rounded personality and strong character are so inspirational to me.

Among the influential women in your personal circle, who stands out to you the most, and what about her spirit motivates you?

Within my inner circle, my sister Niki is so inspiring to me.  She is a boundary-pusher by nature and has this innate and unwavering determination. Her commitment to pushing boundaries and achieving her goals commands respect and admiration from everyone around her especially me. Niki has a deep passion for art, and her recent endeavor in curating an exhibition for the late glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell truly reflects her tenacity and vision. Part of Niki’s initiative to preserve Powell’s legacy currently involves meeting with donors to gather money to purchase the remainder of his collection from his wife Michelle Powell, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that she will be able to make it happen. Witnessing her dedication in every project that she touches reaffirms my belief in her ability to effect meaningful change and that is so powerful to me.

Shelley and her sister, Niki.

As a professional in a predominantly female industry, do you encounter any misconceptions or stereotypes about your profession?

The field of interior design often falls victim to misconceptions, notably the trivialization of our work. Some fail to recognize the true value of an interior designer’s expertise and insights, mistakenly believing that “just anybody can do the work.” This misconception undermines the multifaceted skill set and years of education required to deliver exceptional service. Beyond technical proficiency and aesthetic sensibility, our craft demands a nuanced blend of interpersonal finesse, and the ability to manifest and exhibit boundless creativity, all of which are indispensable components of our profession. 

As a working mother, what aspirations do you hold for your daughter as she embarks on her own journey into the world?

When she and her brother were very young, I made the hard decision to separate from their father. I had lost myself and never wanted my daughter to see her mother as weak or not realizing my full potential. I came out of that relationship a much stronger person and was able to live my truth authentically. I hope to impart the same sentiment to her. I always aim to nurture her intuition and foster an unshakeable self-assurance that I believe is essential for all women but especially at her age. I just hope that seeing these characteristics in me inspires her to be her best self too.

What is your favorite trait to celebrate in yourself and other women?

The unparalleled capacity for empathy and solidarity among women resonates deeply with me. We influence each other, uplift each other, and we try to help each other as much as we can. I love to celebrate this essence of sisterhood that unites us across our professions, our social statuses, and our unique struggles.


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