Skip to main content


Commemorating family stories and ancestral histories through thoughtful retrospectives, expert research, and curated design.

Commemorating ancestry through curated design. 

Renee Innis’ design career spans 25 plus years in the areas of branding, publication, campaigns, and a plethora of other design specialties. And over the last decade she has insatiably researched her own ancestral history and several lineages with prodigious discoveries  — some leading her to the 16th century and beyond.

This culmination of creative problem-solving experience, a passion for genealogy, and innate sensibility to tell a story, enable her to curate thoughtful retrospectives in the form of tailor-designed books, curated memorabilia boxes, and many more timeless remembrances. 


Essay by Renee Innis

She’s been here a long time, 110 years to be exact. She is poised between two hills, another house is about a half a mile west, and another a half mile east. She sits maybe twenty feet from the road, surrounded by a wooden split rail fence and a grassy lawn. Three oak trees make for a towering facade between her and the two-lane country road, they’ve been there nearly as long as she has.

She’s front and center on 300 acres of farmland that stretches in every direction, fields of soy beans, corn, alfalfa, wheat, and native grasses. A stream runs through this land, and above its steep walls there are forests of walnut and oak trees. Along the dirt road that leads to the back fields are the barns that shelter the farming equipment, an old car and hauling truck, and beyond that an old dumpsite holds disposed-of artifacts, the decrepit outhouse lingers along the tree line—its moon barely intact.

When I first met her about 12 years ago, it was a frigid, windy November day in Kansas, and we were anxious to get inside and out of the cold. I knew of her, but had never actually met her.

She is a traditional flat front two-story farmhouse with a white exterior and a green shingled roof. My husband and I stepped onto the front steps and walked through the dilapidated front entrance, an over-painted black door with three glass window panes and a brass-plated handle. We walked directly into a dining and living room area, the walls were covered with 70’s wood paneling and the original floors were concealed by moss green carpet, parts of the plaster ceiling were falling to the floor and there were remnants of expired items tossed about.

The kitchen was in rough shape, it was rodent-infested and filthy, and the bathroom’s condition was even worse. We tentatively stepped back through the living room and pushed open a small door at the base of the narrow wooden stairwell to make our way to the second story. The three bedrooms were also blanketed in age-old carpet, and the plaster walls were water-stained and peeling. The few pieces of furniture that remained were falling apart, and a neglected porcelain baby doll lay on the floor.

She had been in this terrible state for at least ten years, and had been in various phases of decay for almost fifty. The sadness of this place was permeable, knowing that she’d been uninhabited all this time, knowing that we had created her, and that her history was forever interwoven with ours. She had held my Grandmother, her two sisters, and my Great Grandparents in her rooms for nearly 36 years altogether. Little did I know then what she would come to mean to me.

My Dad had been focused on renovating, and even rebuilding, parts of her, for some time. This place meant a great deal to him — it was his Mother’s birthplace and her childhood home, he had fond memories of running around the farm with his cousins as a boy. It was during this time that I began my genealogy research in earnest—driven by the desire to learn more about how she came to be. Over the next five years, she would be completely transformed through a long list of restorative undertakings; plumbing, electrical, newly plastered walls, roof, a re-configured kitchen and bathroom, new appliances and windows, wood trim on windows and baseboards, interior paint, exterior paint, and refinishing the original floors that had been hidden under the moss green carpet. Eventually, I was able to contribute to the final finishes; paint color, fixtures, tile and floor treatments, it felt like such a privilege — to revitalize her in this way.

By the summer of 2013, she was ready for company. We moved in the furniture, made the beds, put up curtains, unpacked dishes, pots and pans, and put up artwork and memorabilia on the walls. She was now warm and inviting, she embraced us all — she had the family in her rooms again, finally.

Now, about two or three times a year we retreat to our ancestral home, sometimes it’s just my Son, Husband, and I, and sometimes we are joined by my Dad and Stepmom, my Mom, and my In-Laws.

She irrevocably binds us to my Grandmother, my Great Aunts, and my Great Grandparents who built her in 1911, and to my ancestors whom bought the land she rests on — nearly 150 years ago. I often lie in the upstairs bedroom that once belonged to my Grandmother and look out the east-facing window contemplating the significance of her and how we, as a family, came to land here — in this place.

Through her, I feel an overwhelming sense of belonging, even otherworldliness. And because of her, I have come to better understand my ancestors, their place in history, and the roles they played in settling on what was once called The Promised Land.

What They’re Saying

It was really fun getting to know the team during the project. They were all helpful in answering my questions and made me feel at ease. The design ended up being better than I could have envisioned!

Eve CrawfordProduct Designer

By far the best team I've ever worked with. They truly understood the look I was going for and completely nailed it! I would highly recommend them as a company, you simply just won't find any better team!

Aura BrooksGraphic Designer

Salient is by far the most astonishing WP theme out there! I literally could not be happier that I chose to buy your theme! Your regular updates and superb attention to detail blows me away every time I visit my new site!

Zak ReidInstructor, Skate Nao

I'm wondering why I never contacted these guys sooner! Seriously, they all have commendable talent in their respective fields and knocked my concept out of the ballpark. Thanks for an amazing experience!

Jack GrahamCo Founder, Coffee Inc
Get a Free Estimate Today

What Are You Waiting For?