Lights, camera, renovation. Director, organizer, designer, and cottage/cabin (cabbage) restorer, Bea Copeland is not just comfortable wearing many hats at once — she prefers it. Learn more about how Bea views being handy as a means to improving sustainability and why the unconventional path is both exhausting and rewarding.
Where are you from? Where are you now and how did you end up there?
I’m originally from Garrison, NY, about one hour north of NYC. During the pandemic, I came home to be with my family. I ended up finding a perfectly-sized fixer upper nearby and I couldn’t be happier to be reestablishing my life in the Hudson Valley.
Tell us about your background and how you ended up being both behind the camera as a director and in front of it as an organizer and designer?
My split interests have a lot to do with my childhood. My mom is a theater producer and growing up I was captivated by the visual storytelling. My dad is an architect and I inherited his interest in design and spatial planning.
Once I became a freelancer, I decided I wasn’t going to make myself choose what path to pursue. As a director, I love working with other artists to create something out of nothing. As an organizer and designer, I love helping people improve their spaces. The fact that I get to do it on camera, surrounded by the camaraderie of a film crew, is just a bonus. It’s an unconventional career path(s) but I can’t imagine it any other way.
“Once I became a freelancer, I decided I wasn’t going to make myself choose what path to pursue.”
Have you always been handy? Did that come from desire or out of necessity?
Yes, my dad instilled in me a love of tinkering and design. As a kid, he taught me how to build things, and there was always a DIY project going on in the barn in our backyard. Sustainability has become increasingly important to me, so being handy is also a necessity. I try to live a low-waste lifestyle and that means getting creative about the things that I want/need - whether it’s fashioning s-hooks out of leftover wire hangers, or making my own concrete countertops.
“Sustainability has become increasingly important to me, so being handy is also a necessity.”
You are in the middle of a huge renovation project (The Cabbage) and we have had so much fun watching it all unfold. What has been your proudest moment? Most satisfying challenge so far?
Renovating a house with my dad was always on my bucket list. The Cabbage (which got its name because I couldn’t decide if it was a cabin or a cottage) has been a huge undertaking and, even though I suffer from daily decision and muscle fatigue, I am thrilled to be doing the work.
Knowing that construction is an incredibly wasteful industry, it was important to me to be able to restore and repurpose as much of the house as possible. I am proud of all of the materials we were able to reuse - things like the old deck lumber that is now used as framing inside the walls, or the 60s red oak parquet hidden under layers of vinyl, plywood, and carpet that I patched and refinished.
What’s next for the Millennial Martha Stewart? After you finish the cabbage renovation is there another project on the horizon?
Once I move into The Cabbage I am going to take a long, long nap. I have been working nonstop on this house since the first demo day on March 1, 2021. Once I’m settled inside, I’m going to turn outside! I love gardening and can’t wait to restore my barren 1 acre with native plantings for local creatures and a vegetable garden for me.