DuBOIS — Life’s challenges for nationally recognized interior designer Ginger Curtis have tremendously helped shape her perspective on life. She’s looking forward to sharing that message during an inspirational keynote presentation, entitled “Well Designed: A Conversation To Inspire Your Sense of Wellness & Home For a New Decade,” from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday in the lobby of the historic Deposit Bank building in downtown DuBois.
Curtis founded her now-internationally recognized business, Urbanology Designs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas in 2015, after completing 18 months of chemotherapy treatments for advanced breast cancer.
Prior to that, Curtis’ infant daughter, Avery, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 at 5 months old. Today, she is a healthy and happy 9-year-old with long red curly hair, said Curtis.
Two years after her daughter’s leukemia diagnosis, Curtis was diagnosed with breast cancer and said having to go through treatment was one of the hardest things she’s ever done in her life.
Though doctors still watch her closely and always will, she said she is very grateful to be cancer free today.
“I don’t take my health for granted, but I also don’t live in fear,” said Curtis.
At the end of her treatment, Curtis decided she needed to do something different with her career and so she launched Urbanology Designs.
“It connected in a way. Having cancer refocuses your life,” said Curtis. “I get to the other side of this really aggressive cancer business right after I’d just had my fifth child. I’m running around doing all of that. Just before I had been diagnosed, I was designing and building furniture and it came to a screeching halt. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to design and be an entrepreneur. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Curtis quickly gained a significant social media following, and within a short time, a room she designed became one of the most popular children’s rooms on Houzz.com, the world’s biggest online community for home design.
“The room got shared and ended up going viral,” said Curtis, noting that it has become one of the most popular children’s rooms in the world.
From that point, Urbanology Designs was flooded with business and stays booked a minimum of three months in advance most of the time.
After that, the interior design firm received the 2016 “Best Of” award for customer service from Houzz, said Curtis, noting less than 3 percent in her industry receive this award. Urbanology Designs is also the recipient of the 2017 and 2018 Houzz “Best Of” Winner for Design and Service and the Interior Design Society’s Designer of the Year Award winner for 2016, 2017 and 2018. This past December, Houzz also recognized one of Urbanology’s designs among the top 10 most popular living rooms in 2019.
“Looking back, one of the things that I really believe in is doing the small things really well. I think that’s what allowed us to grow quickly,” said Curtis.
“Well Designed” is being organized and presented by area author Kristine Gasbarre in partnership with Penn Highlands Healthcare.
“She’s a very dear friend,” said Curtis, noting that she and Gasbarre worked on a book project together.
So when the opportunity came up to speak at the “Well Designed” event in DuBois, Curtis enthusiastically accepted the invitation from Gasbarre.
In addition to talking about how she launched her award-winning design firm, Curtis will discuss a number of topics with the audience of “Well Designed,” including:
- An interactive exercise to define one’s authentic design style
- The role of faith and close support in the life of every woman
- Organizing tips to transform the flow of one’s home in 2020, including an illustrated room-by-room tour
“I think what is number one is a sense of authenticity. I feel that is extremely important to me,” said Curtis. “I want to share a message that I feel is compelling because it’s about becoming stronger but also extraordinarily inspirational because of the overcoming. This is life and it’s relatable ... facing our struggles and battles. I used my own struggle to propel me forward.”
Gasbarre weighed in on why she felt Curtis would be received so warmly here.
“This community is always so supportive of my work, and I wanted to give them a chance to meet the colleague who brightens my days when I need inspiration the most, whether that means some good strong wisdom or just something new and beautiful to imagine for my home,” said Gasbarre. “It’s amazing to me that most of Ginger’s followers don’t even know quite the amount of value she has to bring to our lives, but I think the world will soon find out. I’m just giving my hometown a sneak preview.
“The transformation of Ginger’s life from a history of heartbreak and terminal illness to her current success — all while managing life as a wife and mom of five — is a story that I feel will resonate with many women throughout our community,” Gasbarre said. “Plus, home design is such a hot focus in the media right now because we want to make the most of our lives every day. It’s one of the great honors of my career to bring this event right to the heart of our region.”
Following Curtis’s keynote, Penn Highlands Healthcare will present a panel discussion between the designer and several Penn Highlands physicians whose practices focus on women’s health. Appearing on the panel with Curtis will be:
- Dr. Kelley Smith, general surgeon specializing in breast surgery
- Dr. Kelly Snyder, OB/GYN at Penn Highlands Life’s Journey
- Dr. Ryan Rice, cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon
Gasbarre explained what inspired her to bring “Well Designed” to the area.
“Rose Campbell, the chief nursing officer at Penn Highlands Healthcare, shared with me in 2018 that the woman drives the decision about healthcare in the majority of households today,” said Gasbarre. “When I heard that, I realized how important it is for us to know what services and treatments are available to us and our loved ones, so I wanted to bring this conversation to the forefront for our community. I’ve experienced my own journey related to women’s health, and I think it’s so exciting for women in our area to learn that Penn Highlands is really focusing on our lifestyles and needs with the services they offer.
“But even aside from our prowess and patterns as consumers, in my work as a writer I aim to give women a voice that our society will listen to,” said Gasbarre. “I hope to continue to bring events here to inform and enlighten women and girls, and it’s been gratifying to see some of the most prominent businesses in our area, like Penn Highlands, Brady Street Florist, and the NorthCentral PA Launchbox, so on board with this cause.”
Tickets, which must be purchased by Tuesday, are on sale at Brady Street Florist or at https://tinyurl.com/welldesigned for $45. The cost includes an onsite lunch catered by the Soul Platter Cafe. The public can visit www.kristinegasbarre.com for more details.