New Business: Olive Hill Design


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Design's partners believe it's possible to have a home that's child-friendly, pet-friendly--and beautiful.
Olive Hill Design’s partners believe it’s possible to have a home that’s child-friendly, pet-friendly–and beautiful.

If you moved to Verona hoping to find good neighbors, know this–you might also find a good business partner.

That’s exactly what happened to Teresa Boyd and Helena Finkelstein, Forest-side residents who co-founded an interior design business, Olive Hill Design, after a chance meeting trick or treating with kids.

Both young women had fine arts backgrounds. Both had been designing for friends and family for years and wanted a broader horizon. Both hesitated. “Starting a business by yourself is daunting,” says Boyd.

So it was probably fate that the two would wind up in Verona just four houses apart. “We wish it was closer,” jokes Finkelstein, “then we could have a string with a tin can between us to talk.”

Their shared fondness for so-called traditional style is evident in Finkelstein’s own home. There’s a neutral, comfortable sofa, but also boldly patterned drapes. There’s art and even antiques–yes, in a home that includes children and a dog. “Some people think that if they have a young family and pets they can’t have a beautiful home, but that’s absolutely not the case,” says Boyd.

Their design process is equally family friendly. The pair will start by asking a prospective client to walk them through her house, showing them spaces she likes and spaces she’d like to improve. Then Finkelstein breaks out the fabric box, a collection of colors, patterns and textures that the pair has assembled, and they ask the client to select her favorites to give them design clues. (Boyd notes that the consistent favorite has been a pink ikat print, though neither she nor Finkelstein quite know why.)

Olive Hill Design can tackle a project as small as an entryway, or as big as an entire house.
Olive Hill Design can tackle a project as small as an entryway, or as big as an entire house.

And they have an upfront talk about budget, which doesn’t have to be pricey because they believe in creative combinations of pieces. A small room might need only $200 or $300 for a transformation, a large living room or bedroom could call for a $300 to $600 budget. “It’s the mix of high and low that makes a space look beautiful,” says Boyd.

They then put together a design package with a detailed price list, fabric samples and source addresses. If slipcovers or curtains need to be made, a piece re-upholstered or wallpaper hung, Boyd and Finkelstein will put the client in contact with a craftsman who can make it happen. They leave it up to their clients to order, and clients don’t have to order everything in their package immediately. “They know what the room will look like and they don’t have to make it all happen at once,” says Finkelstein.

Right now, Boyd and Finkelstein juggle family and company, but they have a vision that their enterprise will eventually be a full-time business. They’d also love to design their own line of textiles, with Verona’s needs in mind.

“This town,” says Finkelstein, “is really appealing to young families.”

To contact Olive Hill Design, see its Web site.

Olive Hill Design's Teresa Boyd and Helena Finkelstein
Olive Hill Design’s Teresa Boyd and Helena Finkelstein
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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


  1. Helena helped us with choosing a high quality sofa fabric that was beautiful yet functional for our lifestyle with having a toddler and 3 dogs who hike daily and also lay on the couch! Helena also gave us cheap and easy tips on how to best clean the fabric while maintaining the integrity of the fabric. Her eye for design is amazing! Highly recommend.


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