By Kitty Golding
Kitty & Company will be conducting a series of short interviews with Chelsea Residents for 52 weeks, bringing to light differing personalities and design styles in our community. Perhaps you will meet someone new through these weekly interviews or perhaps it will be YOU! Stay tuned and follow us each week – we now introduce you to Stephen W. Manchester (Steve).
What is your current profession? I have been a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones for 18 years.
Your family members: I have been married to my wife, Kim, for 28 years. We have three children; Thomas (20), Eleanor (17) and Margaret (16).
People think of me as: comfortable in a crowd, but I am really more comfortable talking with a smaller group or one on one.
When did you move to Chelsea and where did you live prior to coming to Chelsea? My wife and I both grew up in Ypsilanti and lived there until we moved to Chelsea in May of 2014. We regularly drove out here with our kids when they were young to spend time at the Waterloo Nature Center and hiking the trails throughout the greater Waterloo area.
What do you love about where you currently live? I love everything about where I currently live. Our home is a half-mile from the Waterloo Recreation Area. I love the natural beauty of the area and the open spaces all around me. It brings peace to my soul. It seems as though everywhere I look I see a picture that I would love to hang on my wall. I love the people, whom I have found to be kind and good-hearted. I also love Chelsea's downtown area, a beautiful town full of fun and unique shops and dining options.
If you could have a second home anywhere, where would it be? After years of dreaming of a home in the area surrounding Waterloo Recreation Area, there is really no place I would rather be than right where I am. I feel really blessed to be here.
What three words describe your style? Welcoming, family-oriented and peaceful.
Who most influenced your design styles? My wife and I have very similar design styles and, fortunately, she has the amazing talent needed to actually put it all together and make it a reality.
What are you most inspired by in your design/decor? Elements of nature
As you think about the home in which you grew up, what elements did you like and do you think you have incorporated some of them in your own home? My home growing up was always open and welcoming and was a regular gathering place for large groups of family and friends. It was beautiful but never ostentatious. It was full of art created by my aunt over the years, and its design and style were fully focused on family time. Every room was used regularly and it's furnishings were beautiful but casual enough to be welcoming and comfortably used. We have incorporated a lot of these same ideas into our own home.
What is one element or trend in design you do not like? I don't care for a setting that is too fragile or formal to be lived in and enjoyed.
What is the biggest design issue you struggle with? I know when I see a design piece that I love. My challenge is putting all of the individual pieces together to create a consistent look and feel, a complete experience.
Have you ever built a new home or remodeled an existing one? * I have not built or remodeled a home, but I have recently redecorated the interior of my office.
Have you ever sought professional help with the interior design of your home - if so, what did you find most helpful? I sought professional help from Kitty & Company with the interior re-design of my office. It is important to me that my clients feel welcomed, peaceful and respected when they come into my office. Kitty was able to create the atmosphere that provides these intangibles through design.
If you were moving and could only select one item from your home to keep, what would it be? I would work really hard to take two items. The first is a set of DVDs that I downloaded all of our old 8-millimeter videotapes on to from when our kids were young. The second is our hard-drive because it holds literally thousands of digital photos of not only our kids but also scanned old family photos from generations past.
Which room in your home gets the most use? The main common area of our home is more "open concept" and includes the living room, kitchen and dining room, and there is a terrific see-through gas fireplace right in the middle of it all. This area definitely gets the most use, and it fosters family interaction and conversation.
No room is complete without: Family and great friends.
Name an item you purchased for your home that you regret buying: *Really, nothing. We have been very intentional about what we have brought in and, fortunately, it has all worked very well.
If you are a pet owner, how has that influenced your choices in design, if it has? * We are pet owners, and our pets play a big part in every day at our home. We have been blessed with two wonderfully friendly and social horses, three hilarious dwarf goats, two cats that are very unique and full of personality, and an adorable eight-week-old standard poodle puppy. One necessary part of our home is our mud room, where we can transition from the barn and outdoor life to the indoors. We didn't have a mud room in our previous home and this one is appreciated every day.
What did you do to pass the time during the COVID-19 State shutdown? * I spent more time with my family. We talked and laughed more, kayaked and fished on our local lakes, hiked more at Waterloo and spent time getting to know our local area better.
If you were given $1,000 to buy a new piece of art, what would it be? *
A landscape or wilderness scene
A few of your favorite things!
Movie – The Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Favorite Historical Place You have visited – Washington D.C.
Scent –In order: Fresh coffee, vanilla, a fresh spring morning.
Music– Currently, favorite style of music is solo light guitar.
TV Show- Parks & Rec.
Meal – Lasagna!
Travel Destination (on your bucket list)– The Rocky Mountains, from Colorado up to Alaska.
Season –Spring, definitely spring.
Color- A deep, rich blue
Favorite thing to Collect – Photos of special times with family & friends.
Museum –Smithsonian in D.C.
Hobbies-Fishing, cycling, hiking, being outdoors.
Item on a bookshelf – Fun family photos.
Tree -A large, stately oak tree.
Pets- Dog, 2 cats, 3 goats, 2 horses and a ball python (my son's).
Kitty’s Note: Steve and I met through his office renovation last year. Chelsea is filled with nice people, and Steve is on the top of that list! I know that any of you that personally know Steve realize he is genuinely interested in people and what they have to say, plus a kind person. A personal example was when we lost our sweet dog last year and Steve dropped off a heart felt card to my office! I love seeing the themes that come out of each interview we have conducted, and I would have to say that Steve’s is, ‘a love of family’. I am reminded by this interview of the quote from Mother Teresa, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”