Hello! I am Allyson Forrister — founder of Counterpane Interiors.
I started my business in 2011 with the vague desire to improve the lives of my clients. For several years I tried to offer all things to all people. Like many small business owners that take this route initially, somewhere along the way I realized that serving too broad of a client base was not serving myself and my business. It was time to do some soul-searching and find my niche.
I thought a lot about who I wanted to serve and what kind of work would be the most fulfilling for me. Eventually, I got to thinking about my own family and upbringing. I have a few members in my family that have special physical needs. For a few moments, I imagined myself in their shoes as they navigate a conventionally built world. I urge you to do this exercise for yourself and think about all the barriers in your own home that you would encounter if you were dependant on a walker or wheelchair or if you had limited use of your arms due to arthritis or stroke. It is frustrating. THIS is how I discovered that I had a great interest in universal design practices.
With aging comes physical challenges. We need to start building and modifying our homes to anticipate the future. An aging-friendly home is easier for EVERYONE to live in. We need to start making universal design practices the new normal for the way we live in our homes, shape our spaces and build our dwellings.
Today I typically serve a more focused group of clients:
- Empty nesters who want to update their long-time home or downsize to a smaller one.
- Families with multigenerational homes with or without an in-law suite.
- Couples or individuals nearing retirement or newly retired who want to craft the next chapter of their lives.
- People of any age who are living with a physical disability in a conventionally built home.
I believe that at its core, the practice of Interior Design is meant to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the souls who use the spaces that interior designers create. No one should feel challenged at home due to age or physical impairment. Home is meant to be our sanctuary, not our prison and we help our clients adapt their home to match their lifestyle.
All the best,
What does “Counterpane” mean?
“Counterpane” is not a mash-up of kitchen work surfaces and window parts but an old term used for bedspreads. The founder of Counterpane Interiors, Allyson Forrister, grew up in a Massachusetts mill town where counterpane was one of the products produced during the industrial revolution. It is also the name of a brook –once used to service the mills– that babbles through the neighborhood where she grew up.