When folks come into The Design House and discover owner Jennifer Homeyer once was a career nurse and physical therapist, their confused reaction usually leads to an inquiry as to how and why she made this seemingly radical career leap.
It was a gutsy move and not without its share of road bumps. But today, a decade after ending her nursing career and 10 years into growing the former Carpets Plus store into a full-service interior renovation company, Homeyer sees a common thread between her two careers.
"I used to take care of people's health and help them to improve their health," Homeyer said. "Now, I'm helping to improve their home. Two of the largest assets a person has, in my opinion, besides their family, are home and health."
Since 2008, when Homeyer and her husband purchased the company at 2303 Colorado Blvd. in Denton, she has overseen her business expand from two employees to 24 — 12 of whom work for her other enterprise, Stonemeyer Granite — and has orchestrated its growth into a store that offers a wide range of products and services well beyond carpet.
As a result, Homeyer unveiled the store's new name — The Design House — last month to more accurately reflect how the focus her business has evolved over the years.
"It was something we had been thinking about for a long, long time," she said. "I never loved Carpets Plus. It sounded old. The only reason I kept it for the number of years that we did is because on Google, what is in your [business] name is very important. I was trying to grab any traction I could get.
"And back in the  recession, carpet was probably 75 percent of our business," Homeyer added. "When people would look up "Carpet in Denton," carpet was in our name [and] it would pull up No. 1 on the search. Se we kept the name, and I was scared to change."
A couple of years ago, she looked into expanding with a store in Southlake — a deal ultimately fell through — but she also realized a store named Carpets Plus probably would struggle to succeed in Southlake.
"But the name, The Design House, was born," Homeyer said. "To me, it just encompasses what we do now."
Operating a company that provides experienced design specialists to assist in home and commercial renovation projects in addition to handling all the products and installation involved is the realization of a dream for Homeyer and her husband, Ty.
"I knew when I married him that he wanted to own his own business," she said.
After graduating with her nursing degree in 1998, Homeyer worked for about 10 years in the nursing field, initially at hospitals in Austin and Seguin. She eventually accepted an opportunity to create and run a hospital health program geared around weight-loss surgery. It required her to learn the business side of operating a program, including marketing and budgeting.
"I had to teach myself," Homeyer said. "I coordinated everything. [I think] God was preparing me to own my own business. They don't teach you business things in nursing school."
In 2006, Ty Homeyer accepted an offer in national retail sales in Dallas, and the Homeyers — then with three young children — moved to Argyle. For the next three years, Jennifer continued to handle all the business side of her Seguin program out of a home office.
The itch to own their own business eventually became more than dinner table talk, so Homeyer began looking around the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a possible business to purchase. One day, she and her husband checked out five flooring businesses in the Denton area.
"We came and sat in front of every one of them and said, 'Is this it? Is this it?' " she said.
She liked the potential possibilities offered by the Carpets Plus location and asking price, so she investigated the store, which at the time focused most ofß its business on selling carpet, flooring and granite counter tops.
Her husband quit his job, and the couple purchased Carpets Plus. Within weeks after obtaining the store, however, the stock market cratered and the nation found itself in a recession. The first weekend the store was opened under the Homeyer ownership, zero customers came through the door.
"I went home, had a glass of wine and bawled my eyes out," recalled Jennifer.
She quickly realized she needed to advertise her store and what services it offered, a marketing plan the previous owner rarely relied on. Within a week after that first ad appeared, Homeyer sold a $25,000 home renovation job.
With her confidence revived, Homeyer since has poured her energy and ideas into broadening the scope of her store to the point where it now offers experienced design specialists, products ranging from flooring to cabinets to complete kitchen and bath renovation and warranty installation and building services.
"We still appeal to all budgets," Homeyer said. "That's the one thing I want to work to let our consumers know — just because our name changed, it might indicate that we have higher-end things. But we still appeal to everybody."
FEATURED PHOTO: Jennifer Homeyer decided 10 years ago she wanted to switch careers. She ended a nursing career in favor of retail sales and opened a store on Colorado Boulevard called Carpets Plus. Now, she is expanding her mission beyond flooring and has rebranding her business as The Design House. Jeff Woo/DRC