Meet the Owners

Lena Helen

Principle owner and designer 

Lena Helen is an educator, designer, artist, gardener and entrepreneur. Formally trained in the arts, Lena has a masters degree from Maine College of Art in interdisciplinary studio art. Prior to receiving her graduate degree she spent her formative years teaching art to children and adults, while maintaining her own art practice as a landscape painter. After her interdisciplinary studies graduate work she pursued a teaching career at Moore College of art teaching Basic Design and Color Theory. Motivated to want to give back to the community she launched the Kensington Community Food Coop Grocer in 2007.   Her business start up skills that she acquired, along with her creative talent gave her the impetus for her to launch Close at Hand in 2016. Lena lives in Philadelphia with her husband Paul Filanowski and their son William with their 2 cats Buttons, Zipper and their 2 dogs Myra and Benji. 

See what inspires me on my Instagram. Check out our projects as we work on them.  It is also a log of visual inspiration.


Paul Filanowski – Owner, facilities manager and technician

A self-taught artist, mechanic, fabricator and toolmaker. He has decades of experience designing, engineering and fabricating one-of-a-kind structures, mechanical devices and tools for a variety of industries. Paul’s in-depth knowledge of materials- their plasticity and applications, his spatial fluency, as well as his proclivity for quality- gives him the professional edge customers can rely on. Paul maintains Close at Hand shop and assists the company with technical help, as well as oversight on more larger complex projects. Paul is the owner of Martha Street Mechanics who fabricates trellis’s, railings and provides other installation services for Close at Hand






Martha Street Mechanics  –Website for Paul’s metal work, fabrication, and mechanical services.


Meet our Staff – (Coming Soon)

Meet our 4, 6, 8 and 0 legged friends – (Coming Soon)

A snake friend