Jill Rae Designs moves out of owner’s home into downtown Ridgefield: ‘It’s just nice to be local’

RIDGEFIELD – It’s been three years since Jill Rae pursued her passion for design by opening Jill Rae Designs in her home.

By the end of January, Rae and her team will bring the design firm into downtown Ridgefield to create a local presence and get involved with the community they serve.

“What I’m looking forward to the most is being in the community … to be right downtown, right in the middle and the heart of where we all live and where we have children going to the schools,” said Rae, a Ridgefield resident. “It’s just nice to be local.”

Jill Rae Designs will open at 19 Governor St. by the end of the month, by appointment only. The new space will feature a showroom, an art gallery, a workspace and a boardroom where the Jill Rae Designs team will meet with clients.

Rae described her business as a full-service design firm that specializes in home renovation and home décor. Out of all the renovations her firm offers, she said kitchen and bathroom renovations are her favorite.

“I love anything that has to do with renovating,” Rae said. “I can look at a space and see the vision behind it. … We get to know our clients and how to utilize their space and what’s important to them and try to design something that will benefit everybody. … I take huge pride in giving my clients exactly a vision of what they were hoping for.”

Rae said she was inspired to bring her business to town because she's very involved with the community. Her firm sponsors many local organizations such as Kids in Crisis, Lounsbury House, Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield and Habitat for Humanity.

“I love Ridgefield,” Rae said. “We service mainly Ridgefield and the surrounding area so I knew giving back and having a spot in Ridgefield was important to me always. We were just growing so fast that we’re sort of busting out of the seams at the home office and I wanted to have more of a local presence. (I wanted to have) somewhere where our clients could come, have meetings, look and touch the products … I’d like to offer my employees a nice working environment as well.”

Regarding the space at on Governor Street, Rae said she and her team was looking for a large space where they could have storage and a large working room. “When that space opened up, it was perfect,” Rae said, adding the space is in walking distance from their homes.

'A natural growth'

Rae earned her business degree at Algonquin College in Toronto. Before opening Jill Rae Designs, Rae ran design events at Lounsbury House’s Tree Festival for many years and was encouraged by her friends and family to start her own business.

To gain more credentials for her business, Rae took online courses and earned her seasonal décor certificate. Jill Rae Designs officially became a company in January 2019 and her business “exploded” with time and the pandemic, she said.

“Honestly, COVID had a lot to do with it, with people being at home and their focus changing on where their money is going ... where they wanted to now invest in their home rather than traveling,” Rae said, “so it really had sort of a natural growth.’

Community events, side business

Rae said they’re hoping to host several community events in the new space and to draw in other local groups, such as women entrepreneur groups interested in hosting their meetings in the firm’s boardroom. She said the firm is working closely with Ridgefield Guild of Artists to feature the guild’s new artists in the firm’s showroom. 

Rae said the firm will also launch its side business, Premier Build-Ins, a custom built-in company where clients will be able to come into the showroom and physically see the product.

Clients can make an appointment with Jill Rae Designs by emailing jill@jillraedesigns.com or info@jillraedesigns.com. For more information, visit www.jillraedesigns.com.