Elaine Folker certainly has an eye for beauty, order, style and impeccable design.

The 37-year-old photographer – who works with her husband Stephen and his business Giraffe Photography in the Village of East Davenport – is striking out on her own with her own venture, Moss + Mercantile Interiors.

Elaine Folker works with her husband Stephen on their business, Giraffe Photography.

“I’ve loved interior decorating since I was a kid and would watch Christopher Lowell every day,” Elaine Folker said this week. “I’ve always been artistic and have spent the last 13 years as a full-time photographer. I’m starting a decorating business because I think everyone should have a home they love that is both stylish and functional.

“I incorporate a lot of plants and natural materials into my designs, which is why I chose the name Moss and Mercantile,” she said, noting she has done interior design for family and friends. “Like my photography, I don’t follow a lot of rules.”

“I like to be conscious of our impact on the environment,” said the United Township alum, who has two sons with her husband, one just born in March. “I reuse a lot of things, pull something from another room, not necessarily throw it away.”

“It’s important to know some of the rules, but I’ve looked at them more as a guide,” Folker said. “Your home is something, your own little space in the world. It can be whatever you want it to be. If it’s perfect for you, it’s perfect. It doesn’t matter if you break decorating rules.”

Giraffe Photography is at 2302 E. 11th St., at Jersey Ridge Road, in the Village, and specializes in weddings, and portraits of babies, kids, families and graduating seniors. Of their portrait work, while usually it was done 60 percent outside, this year it

The logo for Moss + Mercantile Interiors.

was 90 percent outdoors.

Elaine focuses on wedding photography, plus all the marketing, graphic design, photo editing, and back end part of the business. All her wedding business pretty much vanished this year (except for a few small outdoor ones), due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I haven’t had an indoor wedding since January,” she said, noting at least 16 weddings she planned to shoot this year were postponed or canceled altogether. She and Stephen (who’s also an award-winning, independent filmmaker) have an 8-year-old, Levi, and gave birth to their son Rory on March 9, 2020.

“When we got to the hospital, just that weekend they started to implement no extra visitors,” Elaine recalled of Genesis East in Davenport. “We had our son with us. So you’re emotional anyway; you’re going to have a baby. Our son started crying, he wanted to meet his brother. It was fine, he could stay.”

“But it was when the pandemic just started to come here, which is difficult post-partum, when grandmas can come help,” she said, noting her baby was delivered C-section and she was discharged a day earlier than planned.

Since we are all spending more time at home than ever due to Covid, Elaine felt it was an ideal time to start her interior décor biz, to help

An example of Elaine Folker’s interior design work.

others organize their homes, show off a personality and be a space they can enjoy. That’s also more crucial as more people will be working from home long-term.

“People are trying to figure out how to separate spaces, to be more your own space, with quiet, more cohesive to getting work done,” Folker said. “They want to create more dedicated work space. People are just tired of sitting on their couch with their laptop, or trying to hide sitting on the kitchen table with no pants on. They want something more professional.

“It’s nice to have a work-home separation,” she said. “Even if you are home, you shouldn’t be working on your laptop in bed. Sometimes you have to…”

The birth of her boy and quarantine was actually a good combination.

“It’s kind of a blessing, so I get to spend more time with family,” Folker said. “It’s been a rough learning curve, and in other ways it’s really nice. I’ve been decorating since I was a kid; it was fun to pick out wallpaper. I have done some of that for friends and family.

“It’s kind of a time where people are reevaluating things that are  necessary to them,” she said. “We’re spending so much time at home, and

An example of Elaine Folker’s interior design work.

we want to make those spaces a haven, and peaceful, space you really love. That doesn’t mean you start from scratch, and it has to be expensive. It’s more pulling a room together, making it look cohesive, having it be a little more thought put into it.”

“If your space is cluttered, it makes you feel like you feel your mind or life is cluttered,” Folker said. “The space around you reflects what’s inside. It goes with priority, things we need, organized and accessible. It’s a really big trend to declutter, to have a little more sustainable, where you’re not constantly consuming. A lot of décor in my house I move all over the place, take something out of the dining room, to the bedroom.”

To help launch Moss + Mercantile, Folker is offering two prize packages, timed to the holiday season.

One grand prize (worth $595) is a custom-designed holiday room: a table centerpiece & florals, pillows, throw, candles, and holiday accessories, plus a family portrait with Giraffe Photography.

Three Custom Holiday Centerpieces ($80 value) will also be given out. To enter, visit www.mossandmercantile.com, go to the contest page, and enter your address and email, and submit a photo of your dining room. No purchase is necessary. The contest will run from Nov. 8 to 30.

An example of Elaine Folker’s interior design work.

Though Thanksgiving family get-togethers may change due to Covid restrictions, Folker thinks they won’t change much in the Quad-Cities.

“Honestly, I don’t think in this area, people are paying much attention to the rules, the masks,” she said. “People are going to do same thing this year as last year.”

On her website, Folker offers the following services:

paint consultation

Let me take away the stress of selecting the perfect paint color for your home. no matter the room or space, the right color is the starting point to any transformation.

room makeover

Have a space that needs spruced up – but don’t want to start over? This is the perfect route to go! We’ll blend your current furnishings and

A wedding photo at sunset by Elaine Folker.

accessorize your space. updating your layout and repurposing if needed.

start from scratch

Sometimes a new space, needs fresh ideas! an empty shell needs personality to make it your own. Let’s create something inspiring. Whether it’s a nursery, home office or living room. I’ll put together a design board and we’ll start creating!

with room redesigns, we’re utilizing furniture and accessories you already own and laying out everything in a fashion that is visibly appealing. and i’ll add some original flair. from window coverings, paint or wallpaper, repurposing furniture, or even mixing in new accessories. before we get to far down the rabbit hole, it’s a matter of setting up a consultation.

what about starting from scratch?

sometimes you just want the perfect space and don’t want to spend countless hours stressing over where to begin or how it should look. i’ll take your empty shell of a space and transform it into something you’ll love!

Rates are negotiable. For more information, visit www.mossandmercantile.com.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.