Teri Zodda loves what she does. She’s been at it for almost 22 years and she’s good at it. Roomscapes by Tz gives her the opportunity to help others and it feels rewarding.
Zodda used to sell real estate, but times were changing back in the 70s and 80s. “Everybody kept saying I had a natural gift and needed to go into design,” she says. And so, Zodda started Roomscapes by Tz, in 1997. She marketed herself through realtors she knew.
At that time, home staging was a hard sell. The realtors recommending it to clients didn’t understand the concept. Selling home staging was even harder during years when homes sold easily.
“I reinvented myself and began in-home decorating using people’s furnishings,” Zodda says. “I did room makeovers and purchased items to fill in the blanks.”
She found more business there, but continued home staging part-time. When the real estate downturn happened, and houses weren’t selling, staging was easy to sell.
In 2003/2004, Zodda handled the downsizing, home staging for resale and in-home decorating for Hampton Roads senior residents, Elizabeth and Lewis Parsons. “That was the biggest job I’ve ever undertaken,” she says. “And, the greatest satisfaction of anything I’d done in my career because they gave me carte blanche.”
This was the beginning of Golden Years/Golden Changes, her former senior move management company. She exclusively worked with seniors to downsize and move into smaller homes or retirement communities.
“When I downsize seniors, I ask them to show me five pieces in their home that they absolutely love and tell me the stories behind them,” Zodda says. “You should build your home around those pieces. Every home ought to reflect the people who live there, and it should function.”
After six years of senior moves, Zodda was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and could no longer do physically demanding work such as going into attics, sorting/dispersing possessions, and moving/unpacking clients and setting up their new spaces.
“I put my business on hold and got healthy,” she says.
About three years ago, Zodda began working with realtor Bo Parrish.
“I stage all of his upper-end listings while doing a few senior moves in between.”
Zodda works on her own and hires furniture movers and extra contractors to get the big stuff done as needed. She is organized and well-versed in strategic planning.
“I go into so many homes to do downsizing and some are hoarders,” she says. “Teaching people what to do and where to start when they’re like that isn’t easy.”
Once she works her magic, clients realize they’re less stressed and can appreciate things they love again.
“Teri turned our 90s décor into a bright, modern, comfortable and stylish place to live,” says client Betsy Game. “She ensures her ideas jive with what you want and need for your home.”
“I believe a home has an energy,” Zodda explains. “When you move things around, it takes on a whole different personality. I can go in a client’s home and know their design style. I know their favorite color by going into their closet.”
Zodda considers herself “a designer on a quarter, instead of a designer on a dime.”
“I give that middle-of-the-road client the realization that they can afford a decorator,” she says. “I give them the same look as those high-end pictures they see.”
Zodda emphasizes that a home’s decor must function for her client’s lifestyle. She recently repurposed a Richmond home’s little-used living room into a game room, library and space for piano lessons.
Roomscapes by Tz’s business is mostly referral-based. Zodda gained publicity on a former Parade of Homes residence in Taylor Farms for which she won 11 awards in partnership with another designer.
In her free time, Zodda enjoys reading “sappy Nicholas Sparks or thrilling David Baldacci.” She also likes working out, good food, good wine, uncovering information on nutrition and gardening.
“I’m looking forward to teaching my twin grandbabies how to plant and grow food,” she says.
Zodda loves dogs and occasionally dog sits for friends. She would like to revisit Italy and South Africa and swim in crystal-clear, aqua waters on any exotic beach.
“I want to find a male designer who is handy,” Zodda says of her dream work partner. “I would love to be a contractor/partner and do combination work with design.”
She visualizes bringing together the male and female design aspect.
“I can’t handle the tools I used to,” she says. “I could do different design work if I had some hands and a workshop. Repurposing furniture gives me a sense of accomplishment which is probably why I enjoy my work so much,” she explains. “Resale staging and home makeovers are my giddy-up. That’s what excites me.”
Roomscapes by Tz
Contact: Teri Zodda