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Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Q&A With Modsy CEO and Founder Shanna Tellerman

While we use Women’s History Month as an opportunity to reflect on the courage of women from past generations, it is also a great time to celebrate the women who make a difference in our lives today—from our mothers, grandmothers, and sisters to teachers, bosses, mentors, and friends.

Modsy founder & CEO Shanna Tellerman

At Modsy, we are proud that over 75% of our employees are women, and today we particularly want to celebrate one woman on staff: our founder, Shanna. She balances motherhood and running a business with humility and passion, which we greatly admire. Read on for a short Q&A to get to know her better!

Shanna, her husband, and their dog in the nursery they designed using Modsy

What inspired you to create Modsy?

When my husband and I first moved into an apartment in San Francisco, we struggled to decorate it and buy the right furniture and decor. We knew we wanted to create a home that we truly loved, but we got stuck making each decision and felt like we didn’t have a clear vision of how everything would come together. That’s when the lightbulb went off for me. I realized that I could use my career passion and knowledge of 3D visualization to create an accessible interior design service that would modernize the way we design and shop for our homes. My goal was to make designing your home an easy and delightful experience!

Shanna’s mom and figure of inspiration, Donna

What woman, past or present, inspires you the most? Why?

I am inspired by my mom, who paved the way for me and my sister to have ambition and dreams that were never limited. In her own career path, she was constantly told what she could and could not do as a woman. When my sister was born, she decided to pursue her graduate degree while still working full time and somehow she found time to be an amazing mother as well. She modeled for us how much hard work and dedication it takes to go after your dreams—and that you should never let the world hold you back.

What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

Build something you love. Building a business is hard work and it will become a deep part of your life. If you build a product, service, team, company, and customer base that you love, your days will feel much less like work and more like your destiny.

The founders of Stichfix, Parachute, and TaskRabbit

What are some other female-founded brands that you love?

Some of my favorites are Stitch Fix, Parachute, TaskRabbit, and Winnie!

Just for fun—how would you describe your personal design style?

I am a mix of rustic and modern, with a touch of real life. I love a comfortable vibe but with modern accents. And, in our chaotic life, I prioritize a lot of places to store toys and clutter!

Ready to design a home you love?

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How Modsy’s CEO Turned Her Breakfast Nook into a Charming Nursery Design

nursery designs

In preparation for their first baby, Modsy CEO Shanna Tellerman and her husband, West, were in need of a nursery design. Like all expecting parents, they knew it would be a project that required time and attention. But, between life and busy work schedules, the project quickly began to feel overwhelming.

Enter our Modsy design team, who swooped in to help Shanna and her husband with the heavy-lifting. The challenge? Designing a space that worked for all their needs – from devising a layout inside what was previously their breakfast nook, to finding perfect-fit furniture.

Here, Shanna shares her nursery design journey as an expecting mom and a few lessons she learned along the way while working with the team to create a petite and charming nursery nook in her home.

nursery designs

Given their home’s odd layout of rooms, Shanna and her husband decided to turn their breakfast nook into the nursery for their new baby.

Lesson 1: Every Space Has Design Potential

“We live in a San Francisco cottage-style home on a very steep hill,  and any San Francsico interior designer  would tell you that means it has an unusual layout. Our bedroom is on the first floor and there are two more bedrooms one floor below. We definitely did not want to put the nursery downstairs as it would be too far from our bedroom. Of course, this left us with very few options for where it could go…

We have a breakfast nook next to our bedroom, but it is fairly small and has an awkward shape with tricky dimensions. Given that, we hadn’t considered it seriously as a possibility for the nursery, but after giving it some thought, we realized this nook was the perfect spot all along.

Not only was it right outside our bedroom, it also has great windows and gets beautiful light. So, despite the unusual shape and size, we decided to figure out the best way to make use of the space as our new nursery. It’s a good thing we didn’t rule it out from the start!”

“This felt like the perfect room for Modsy since we wanted to envision how an unusual space with tricky dimensions could go from a functioning kitchen seating area into a cozy nursery.”

nursery designs

nursery designs

Above left: A Modsy rendering of the breakfast nook-turned-nursery with furnishings that combining Shanna’s rustic style and her husband’s more modern taste. Right: After photo of Shanna’s real-life nursery now, fully furnished.

Lesson 2: You Can Have a Vision And Still Struggle With It

“Like many new moms-to-be, I spent my fair share of time gathering inspiration on Pinterest. I found that I really liked all the gender-neutral nurseries with gray tones, but my husband and I also wanted some splashes of color to keep the space bright and lively.

That’s when I realized we didn’t actually have a strong vision for how we wanted the space to look. As much as I thought we knew what we wanted, it became clear to me that we needed help finding products and pulling the actual space together. After all, this is our first baby and first nursery!”

Struggling to design your nursery? Modsy designers can help you imagine the possibilities for your space. Click here to start your project.

nursery designsLesson 3: Trust (And Enjoy!) The Design Process

“When our Modsy team stepped in to help with the nursery design, I was reminded how designing a space is never an instant journey from zero to perfection. It’s not about everything being exactly the way I want, right from the start; it’s about being open to fresh perspectives and surprises. And as it was, I wanted all the input I could get.

The next thing I knew, the team surprised us with an initial 3D design that was so sweet and spot-on, that my husband and I immediately fell in love. In particular, we loved the baby animal prints on the back wall. These were not part of our plan, but seeing them in the space (virtually) helped us decide to give the nursery an animal theme.”

“[My husband] West was involved at every step. There were moments when I got really hung up deciding between the different options for our space, and he was always good at making a final call.”

nursery designs

nursery designs

After seeing baby animal prints in their 3D design, Shanna and her husband decided to go with an animal theme in their nursery design.

Lesson 4: Finding The Right Furniture Is Worth Your Time

“I’m not going to lie, I did a TON of research on baby furniture because I wanted to ensure the pieces we chose would be safe and functional. But I was nonetheless amazed to learn that we really only needed to purchase three key pieces: A bassinet, a recliner, and a changing table. This actually made perfect sense for our small space and was really everything we needed.

One of the first things I learned as an expecting mom, which may be obvious to everyone else, was that babies don’t sleep in cribs until they’re six months or older. This was actually a relief given our tiny space. So instead, we purchased the Halo Swivel Sleeper bassinet that can easily be moved from our room to the nursery (we’ll hold off on tackling the crib until we set up the baby’s downstairs bedroom).

Recliners are very much a personal choice, and my research really helped me understand which features most people appreciate. We knew we wanted one with a footrest and a tall back that we could lean our heads against. I was able to pass this information on to the team, and they helped us find an option – the DaVinci Olive Swivel Glider – that perfectly fit our needs.

Knowing what furniture we needed really helped things come together quickly. Then, we were able to focus on the fun part – accessorizing the space!”

nursery designs

“Safety and functionality concerns are a big part of the decision-making process for many new parents when designing a nursery. I realized that the more I was able to communicate my ideas and hesitations about the design along the way, the easier it became for my designer to understand what the perfect nursery was for me.”  

nursery designs

nursery designs

Lesson 5: Personal Touches Make All The Difference

“Our parents sent us a big box of all the books they read us when we were young (some are even the original copies). We filled the bookshelves with them to make it a prominent part of the space.

We love that our nursery is filled with memories from our own childhoods. It’s the perfect special touch that helps personalize the space.”

nursery designsLesson 6: Always Leave Room to Grow (And Redesign!)

“We definitely hope to keep several parts of the room throughout our baby’s childhood. And we specifically picked pieces that would have longevity beyond the nursery years.

The changing table is actually the Ever Simple Wide Dresser with a perfectly fitted changing table topper from Crate & Kids. We really liked this option because we can secure and remove the topper as needed, and even convert the whole thing into a regular dresser once we move beyond the diaper phase.

We chose the Denim Rag Rug from Dash & Albert because it’s especially durable (it can withstand traffic and is easy to clean) and it added the right color and warmth to the space. The side table, animal prints, and bookshelves are all super versatile and will also likely make the move into a toddler and, eventually, big kid room as well.

Ultimately, everything we chose for this room could be used again if we have a second child in a few years because we’ve kept it so gender neutral – and we love that.”

Shop Shanna’s Nursery Look

Need help finding the perfect nursery design for your space?

Starting at just $59, we can help you envision your little one’s nursery in an exact 3D version of your space. Modsy designers can show you how different layouts and products will look in your space, and you can shop your look all in one checkout, knowing exactly how everything will look and fit in your space.