Have you ever wandered through a department store, seeking out the perfect decoration to complete your home’s renovation? Often, it’s hard to find that item you’re looking for in stores. Most items are reproduced, and it’s hard to find exactly what you envisioned to tie together your favorite room. This is where Willow Barn Designs of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts comes in. Walking into the farmhouse, shelves and tables are filled with items, all arranged in a way that makes it easy to envision them in your own home. Photographs, flowers and rustic furniture bring a feeling of warmth and joy to the building, making the shop seem more like a home than a business.
Michele Martinelli, a mom, former elementary school teacher, and artist decided to make her dream of owning a business come true. It was in 2016 that Michele began to utilize her floral design skills to create silk floral arrangements that accented the homes of friends and customers. Her pieces were recognized in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and she knew turning her art into a career was the right thing to do. Incorporating her vision with memories, Willow Barn Designs’ name comes from fond memories of outdoor activities on Michele’s family farm as a child. Now, her own barn has become home to handmade decor and has been transformed into Willow Barn Designs’ showroom, showcasing her unique and stunning creations.
Before Willow Barn Designs, Michele was a preschool teacher. Even as a teacher, she had the creative bug, and used her artistic talents to brighten up her classrooms. “I loved to decorate, and I loved decorating the classroom for my students.” After becoming a mom, she decided to stay home and care for her children, while working on creative decorating projects for friends and parties.
As her children grew up and went off to take on their own adventures such as full-time jobs and education, Michele decided to make her passion a reality and open her showroom. “It’s been busy, but so fun,” Michele explains of her artistic venture. “When you have a creative gene, you just want to do it.”
Michele makes self-proclaimed “boutique-y, one-of-a-kind” pieces. She only uses the highest quality products to create her work. Incorporating products such as succulents and flowers, she always buys the best, even if that means traveling out of state to get them. She often travels to bigger places such as New York or Pennsylvania to hand pick items worthy of being used in her products. Being able to physically handle all items before taking them home allows her the chance to see what will be the best representation of her business. As Michele shared, “I’m very picky on quality.”
And it shows. The work featured in Michele’s showroom includes bountiful floral arrangements, wooden doors, succulents in unique pottery, mirrors, pictures, lamps, iron and more. But you won’t find many duplicate items, such as what you would find in a department store. She typically only creates one or two similar pieces at a time. This allows for each customer to have only the highest quality, and something that caters to their very own style. “Usually, big box stores will reproduce so much of the same item that they end up with an overabundance of them, and they have a hard time moving them.” Everything is made with special care by Michele. “For people who love to decorate, I want to give them a one-of-a-kind item.”
Not sure exactly what you’re looking for? Let Michele utilize her over fifteen years of creating beautiful pieces in order to help bring your vision to fruition. Sometimes, it’s hard to see what’s missing in your home, and typically, Michele can see just what will tie everything together. “It’s nice to have eyes and hands to say ‘This is what you need!’”
While some may hear “flowers” and think Willow Barn Designs’ work is exclusive to spring and summer, Michele creates wreaths and decorations for all seasons. “I bring in pieces that go with the season. For example, near the holidays, I will use winterberries and fresh wreaths.” All wreaths have a creative spin on them, ranging from red to gold and silver. She also crafts centerpieces certain to be the talk of the holiday table. For those seeking fresh bundles of holly, pine, cedar, and hemlock to create a holiday vision of their own, Willow Barn Designs also brings these items into the shop for the winter months.
The chic beauty of the many items filling the farmhouse of Willow Barn Designs also makes it a wonderful place to find the perfect gift. Flowers always make a great present, and Michele has a lively selection of expertly crafted arrangements. As she says, “I love making people happy.”
She has succeeded in her efforts to make people happy. The Willow Barn Designs’ Facebook page is alive with happy customers, showing their custom pieces with pride, and praising Michele’s ability to bring style to any home.
While Michele continues to craft one-of-a-kind pieces to fill her warm farmhouse, she also has plans for the future of her business. “We are planning to have night events such as make your own wreaths, where people can have something special that they made to bring home. It’s to bring people together.” With the wild popularity of “paint and sip” nights, the creative spin on craft parties is sure to draw in a crowd and be endless fun. Paired with Michele’s kind and outgoing personality, all guests will certainly feel welcome.
After a seemingly endless hot summer, Willow Barn Designs reopened on September 17. With products such as architectural wood wall pieces, home decor, fall floral arrangements and wreaths, shopping at Willow Barn Designs is fun for everyone. Stop on by during the farmhouse’s business hours, where you may find Michele hard at work on new products and decorations to feature in the shop. Looking for something custom? Michele is happy to create a piece just for you!
With a heart for her business and an unending passion for designing creative products, Willow Barn Designs will only grow and bloom.
WILLOW BARN DESIGNS • 283 ELM STREET • EAST LONGMEADOW, MA
(413) 301-2929 • facebook.com/willowbarndesigns