Lisa Colla Lets Us In On Her Home-Flipping Secrets

For International Women’s Month, we’re shining the spotlight on a handful of inspiring women who harness their feminine strengths in their work and personal lives.

For the next installment of our interview series, HerStory Unveiled: The Women Behind the Curated Spaces We Love, meet Lisa Colla (@redesigned89). An avid lover of real estate and home decor, Lisa boasts an extensive 33-year-long design journey that stems from her passion for flipping houses. Read on to learn more about her design philosophies, approach to home textiles, and how her background in women’s education has shaped her as a designer and homemaker.

You have an impressive 33-year-long journey in design and decor. Can you tell us about how you got into this field?

My parents owned a wood business, so as a little girl, I would attend craft fairs on the weekends where my parents sold their items.  I met and observed so many creative people during these years. My parents were always involved in DIY projects—not only to save money but due to the pride and accomplishment of creating on their own.  So, observing all of this, while my mom was wallpapering her bedroom, I was wallpapering my Barbie house!

My husband and I decided to start our staging business due to our love of real estate, DIY, and design. Our decor journey started in 1989 (yes, that is where the 89 in our name comes from) when we married and bought our first home. We flipped that first home in 6 months! We had no idea what we were doing and thankfully had a talented family who taught us the ropes.

Lisa’s first home

This first flip turned into flipping 6 more homes, a total of 7 homes flipped in 10 years. Meanwhile, our family was growing. We were blessed with our 4 daughters in those years and we both worked full-time jobs. After our last flip, we moved into a home and stayed there for 18 years, enjoying our daughters and all of their activities. Once they were grown and out of college, we ventured into our first new build which we call home now.

In the past 33 years, we have been consulted for many flips, renovations, and individual decor needs.  Some of my favorite interior designs were our grandchildren’s nurseries, a coffeehouse, a daycare, a high school, and our newly built home, just to name a few. Our DIY work has come full circle, as our 4 daughters and sons-in-law are homeowners and we are now assisting in their DIY journeys.


Lisa's vision comes to life in this enchanting nursery for their beloved grandchildren

It seems like the DIY approach to flipping homes has sharpened your eye for design over the years. What has your experience taught you about good home design and using textiles to create a mood?

I have learned so much in each home. Although at times quite a challenge, it is incredibly rewarding.  First and foremost, I learned to not be afraid to try. Researching the how-to and then creating a plan is crucial to having a positive result.  I have learned to never be too hard on myself.  I usually go from being so excited about the vision to then feeling a bit overwhelmed on the first day of whatever is being created, to then digging my heels in to get it done.

Texture is so important when creating home textiles and a mood.  We typically design with linen and cotton to create a sense of newness and freshness for the new homeowners, which lets them envision themselves in this particular home. Simplicity and budget-friendliness are also key when flipping homes.

An expensive-looking home does not need to break the bank. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know that I love simple, clean, modern, neutral design and often add in DIY thrift and vintage pieces to create the mood I am looking for. However, I love and appreciate so many design styles.

Aside from your extensive background in design, you also have a fascinating history as a retired teacher and principal. How does your experience in that completely unrelated field benefit the work you do now?

In my home staging business, I have learned acceptance and open-mindedness. Each person is unique, valuable, and has something special to bring to the table. Organizing, creating a plan with a vision, building a positive and trusting relationship, laughing and having fun, and communicating well are crucial to helping my clients have a successful sale and receive the largest profit possible. These same skills were also crucial in supporting my students and staff through my years in education.

You also wrote a fascinating book called ‘The Journey We Shared’ about your personal journey in creating a school climate that supports pregnant and parenting teens. What’s the most valuable thing you learned about young girls going through those struggles? And how has it influenced you as a parent and older role model?

The world can be a very judgmental place.  Often, our students were shamed and made to feel less than their peers. Our school community reduced barriers by providing hope and resources for these young parents so that they could meet both academic and parenting success.

The young parents that I have worked with through the years are truly amazing and desire to be the best possible version of themselves.  Our school had a 100% graduation rate and a daily attendance rate of 98%.  They were a second family (for some, our school was their only family) and a place where they were accepted and belonged. Our alumni have moved into a variety of successful careers, from police officers and nurses to teachers and financial planners.  Most importantly, they are fantastic parents and put family first.

Becoming an author was always a goal of mine.  I wanted to share what I learned to help others in similar situations. Although my book is about supporting teen parents and the creation of our school, it encourages all educators, families, students, and community members to promote knowledge and acceptance.

Lisa proudly holds her book, “The Journey We Shared”

Lisa at her book signing

That must be fulfilling work for you. Helping others is also often a gateway to learning how to better care for ourselves. Why is self-care important for you and how do you practice it in your own life? What are your most essential practices for nurturing your well-being?

If we are not taking care of ourselves, we cannot create our best work nor be the person we desire to be. My daily self-care plan is prayer (before even getting out of bed, I think about 5 things I am grateful for). I do 5 minutes of breath work, then it’s time to walk 3 miles or head to Zumba. Recently, I added lightweight training to my workout routine, which is definitely a challenge for me! Each night, I do 5-10 minutes of stretching or yoga.

Healthy fueling of our bodies is also so crucial to feeling good.  I love healthy cooking and trying new recipes, but I do not snack after 7 PM. I also find it important to spend quality time with those you love.  Family is always first and I definitely make sure to talk to each of my 4 daughters and grandchildren each day and host family dinners each Sunday.

For family dinners, our daughters and sons-in-law, as well as grandchildren, come home to enjoy a meal together.  My husband, who is truly my best friend, and I have been married for 34 years and love spending time together.  Be sure to find a partner who supports you in all you do. Make time for friends and fun.  In addition, get involved in activities outside of work that you are passionate about and help you feel a sense of purpose.

Sleep is a critical part of self-care, but one people often overlook, especially with the business of daily life. How do your bedding choices help you foster more peaceful sleep and energized mornings?

I love fresh and clean linens for our bedroom.  I make my bed each day and our sheets are changed weekly. Nothing like that fresh linen smell when crawling into bed after a long day.  When choosing bedding, I love coziness and comfort. Layering bedding helps me because I am always cold but my husband is typically always warm—having versatile bedding options helps us both feel happy and rested in the morning.  I do the same in our guest rooms by providing comfort, layers, and options, so our guests can have the best night of sleep possible.

How does creating a comfortable home environment play into your overall mental and emotional well-being?

We are so busy in our daily lives that coming home should create a sense of enjoyment and be a place to kick off your shoes, relax, unwind, and enjoy.  I believe it’s important that each person determines what comfort means for them.  For me, it’s light, bright, cozy and organized.  When things are in order, I feel happy and relaxed. I love just sitting on our front porch with a cup of coffee, or turning on our fireplace and reading a good book.

What’s your favorite HiEnd Accents product and what makes it stand out to you?

This is such a difficult question because HiEnd Accents is my go-to place for bedding.  Each time I receive a product, I think that it’s my favorite until I order the next!

I currently have our primary bedroom styled in the Verona Matelasse Bedding Super King set.  This is a perfect fit for our modern, vintage-style bedroom.  It provides that elegant, cozy, and comfortable feeling that I’m always aiming to provide.

Any last thoughts on how fellow influencers or artists can leverage their platforms to empower women in their communities?

Support each other! Bring each other up, share about others’ talents and creations, and truly be happy for the success of others. Be a mentor and seek a mentor when needed.  Learn from and with each other to grow together and never feel the need to compare yourself with others.  Each of us is creative and special in our way.