PITTSBURGH - Shakespeare famously penned that "all the world's a stage." Veteran actresses Lisa Bansavage and Eliza Huffman say that also includes a messy closet or room in need of TLC.
They're the owners of Zhuzh it Up!, a consulting business that uses tricks of the trade from stage design and wardrobing to make the most use of the space in a home. They launched the business last month over Labor Day weekend.
"Especially during this time of COVID, when more people are working from home or have to school their children from home, we're there as a resource for them to help them make their space more efficient, more comfortable, more inviting, more beautiful and ultimately more productive," Bansavage says.
The pair also specializes in staging homes to get them ready for sale.
Bansavage recently moved back home after living and working in New York City. She's a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University who worked with several local theater organizations, including Pittsburgh CLO, Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival and City Theatre before continuing her career in the Big Apple. Since 2004, she's also performed more than 600 weddings and 200 funerals and baby blessings as an ordained interfaith minister.
Huffman, who was born in Monongahela, has been the artistic director for five classical theater companies and has worked in New York, Los Angeles, London and Portland, Oregon. She's designed more than 150 shows, in addition to acting and costume design. She returned to the area earlier this year.
So what exactly does theater design have in common with organizing a room? They say dressing a set is good practice for making a small room look bigger on a shoestring budget.
"And you have to make it look like you spent a fortune," Huffman says. "I used to be called the telephone book, because if you needed resources, I was the go-to person and knew how to shop and where to find the most beautiful lighting elements, where to get fabrics."
Their work with classical plays also has provided an education on different periods of architecture and design.
"When I go into someone's home, I know what period a piece of furniture is," Huffman says. "We try to work with what they have and know what their aesthetic is."