What began as a simple side hustle has evolved to be an award-winning interior design, decluttering, and home staging firm in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Kira Vanderlan, owner of Zestful Design, strives to create more “zest” in her client’s lives through this variety of services—hence the company’s name.
While working full-time in another field, Vanderlan started helping people declutter, organize, and redesign their homes. “As I was doing this work, I began to see how an uninspired and disorganized space left people feeling stressed and even embarrassed,” Vanderlan recalls. “I really wanted people to feel energetic and amazed by transformation in their living and working spaces.”
As a Native American in the industry, Vanderlan provides a unique perspective and success story, being one of the only such companies in Minnesota. Her role as a professional of numerous specialties has led her to serve with multiple industry associations, including her position as vice president/president-elect for the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing, and her involvement with the Minnesota chapter of the Real Estate Staging Association.
At Zestful Design, you offer numerous different services for clients. Do you have a favorite?
I love decluttering because not only are the physical changes in the space amazing, but the emotional changes are [also] simply remarkable. People truly become zestful when they let go of the things that weigh them down. When a cluttered space transforms into a place of beauty, people’s level of wellness always improves.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Hands down, [it’s] seeing the physical and emotional changes a person goes through when I transform their living or working environments. Of course the space looks great, but how it makes a person feel is more important. I love my clients, and [I] get to know them throughout the process.
Do you have any decluttering or organization tips to share?
Clutter makes you feel stuck, and you don’t know where to begin. It can be overwhelming. Hiring a professional to help you get started and keep on track is worth the investment. I also recommend starting easy and working your way up to the more challenging items. I have my clients begin with trash and slowly work up to the sentimental things. Just like weightlifting, you need to train those “declutter muscles” and build slowly but progressively.
Are there any other projects or endeavors you’re involved in outside of Zestful Design?
I am invested in the Indigenous community in the Twin Cities and Northern Minnesota. I volunteer regularly with First Nations Kitchen to serve high-quality, fresh, organic food to the Indigenous peoples of Minneapolis.