Welcome to my Mod Home Ec Studio! I’m right here in the heart of the Great Midwest, the Crossroads of America,  Indianapolis, Indiana. If you don’t think you know anything about Indiana, you might remember that we are  home to the world famous Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, David Letterman, Babyface, David Wolf, the astronaut, Kurt Vonnegut (who I met once), James Whitcomb Riley, Butler University (my alma mater) and much more.  We Hoosiers are also crazy about basketball (the movie Hoosiers!!) and we also still love Peyton Manning. Can you tell I grew up as the younger sister with three older, rather athletic brothers, as well as two parents born and raised here? It’s home.

I am Shelly Leer, designer, writer, upholsterer, maker and blogger. I’ve been blogging since 2007 when I became a paid writer for the DIY website, and the now defunct DIY Life on AOL.  As I was figuring out the whole blog tutorial thing, I also became a DIY weekly columnist for The Indianapolis Star, where I created DIY projects every week for five years. During this time, I was working on getting up and running while I was feverishly creating and photographing DIY tutorials for my other jobs.  I also spent some time as a paid DIY contributor to ApartmentTherapy Chicago and Huff Post Home. Most of that was going on back in the early days of blogging when websites were clamoring for content and content creators were few and far between. And this helped alot–prior to the start of my online blogging career, I owned my own custom upholstery business for twenty years.  So imagine back seven years ago, nobody was writing about upholstery. I couldn’t get anyone to even think about upholstering a kitchen chair. Lucky for me because people like Grace Bonney of Design Sponge were also making their way in the blogosphere. Still, it was difficult to sell ‘DIY Upholstery’ back then. Grace was most generous about posting some of my early projects and even asked me to contribute a slipcover project for her book, DesignSponge at Home. From there, things just started to snowball.

As far back as I can remember, I was trying to create calm, serene spaces somewhere in a hectic household of five kids. I had my little space under the basement stairs, up in the garage attic and even over in the woods across the street from our house. I cleared out my bedroom closet and tried to create the original ‘small space’ living quarters where I could hide out. I never even considered that I could build furniture, but I found out early that there was a machine in the dining room where my mom took fabric and made clothes for herself and for me. Bingo! I could hardly wait for the day when she would teach me how to use that. The rest is history.

After blogging about upholstery projects for a couple of years, it was obvious that upholstery would slowly move into the DIY realm and I was already transitioning my custom upholstery business into a teaching business. I started out in the basement, but soon had to lease space because my husband would cook giant meals for my students, and load everything on a tray and bring it down to everyone right in the middle of class. Nice gesture, but it wasn’t looking very professional. It was time to create the Mod Home Ec Studio and I knew the perfect place–a burgeoning trendy artsy area in Midtown Indy called SoBro (South Broad Ripple).

ModHomeEc is a modern hybrid of Home Ec and Shop Class.

My studio in Indianapolis is home to upholstery and sewing classes for the casual DIY-er all the way up to  students who have started their own upholstery business. I share what I know and try to make it understandable and inspirational to students searching for creative expression in their lives.
Being a sewer and creator all my life, starting my own custom upholstery business was a natural evolution of my interests. As I was feathering my own nest with a young family, I became adept at hunting down discarded furniture, as well as other pieces to restyle, redesign and reupholster. As my custom upholstery business was growing, I created a small line of upholstered children’s furniture and accessories which were sold through, a high end online children’s furniture website based in Richmond, Virginia.

In addition to all that fun, I currently write DIY projects for and am busy creating, filming, editing and producing my online upholstery classes, Upholstery Knockouts.

Here’s where you can find us.

1101 E. 54th Street, Studio D
Indianapolis, Indiana 46220

We are just east of the Monon Trail and east of Reese Kitchens, and right behind Surroundings.
Here is a map to my shop. Turn south off of 54th street between Reese and Surroundings. Look for the green and white striped door.

“A moving picture is worth a thousand still photos of upholstery techniques.” Shelly Miller Leer


“Look forward to Fridays not just because it is the weekend…
but because I get to go to Upholstery Class!!!!!!” Katie Tuohy Rochford

We love to hear feedback from our readers as well as seeing your projects and home improvements.

Shelly Leer

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