Paula Smail. Creator of Interesting Stories, Spaces and Content.  

Based in St.John, US Virgin Islands , I draw on extensive communications, design and business experience and strong visual and written skills to tell stories about people, families and brands.  I am passionate about the power of visual storytelling to create personal and memorable brand connections in the world of social media and digital marketing.  Similarly, my interior design work blends colors, eras, textures and styles to create unique homes and commercial spaces that reflect the the personality and interests of the people who live, play and work in them.  

This online portfolio is named after a house I grew up in called Like Topsy.  The expression "it grow'd like Topsy" appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and now is used to describe something that grew without design or grand plan.  In the case of my childhood home in South Africa, its' evolution included stables and a garage before it became a home.  In turn, my career has been a wonderful adventure fueled by curiosity, hard work and a tendency to trust and act on ideas that come way out of left field.

Since my childhood, I have traveled the world and included London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles in the list of places I've been lucky enough to call home.  I sailed the high seas of the Caribbean as crew on a yacht and earned branding,  communications and management credentials as an IBM corporate executive.   I've been a waitress, an au pair and a speechwriter as well as an entrepreneur, textile designer and shopkeeper at my former design studio and store, Henry Road. 

My design work has appeared in multiple publications including Elle Decor, Living etc, CA Home+Design, InStyle, Domino, Bon Appetit, HGTV Magazine, Better Living, Los Angeles Times, Apartment Therapy, and Design Sponge.  Products I designed have appeared in numerous film and television projects and patterns licensed by Modwalls (tiles) and Galison (stationery).

Mural created at Gifft Hill School, St John, USVI post-Irma/Maria #lovecitystrong

Mural created at Gifft Hill School, St John, USVI post-Irma/Maria #lovecitystrong