Friday, October 16, 2009

Seasonal & Life Changes

You may or may not have read that recently I made some decisions about my life and my business. The economy crisis in Portland has hit hard. In April, 2009 unemployment in the Portland-metro area was at 12.1%, and the state of Oregon at 12%. Unfortunately, luxury-based business, such as high-end decorative painting and murals have suffered.

Luckily I have many more talents to fall back on, and I made the decision that Shakti Space Designs will no longer be doing interior, decorative painting. Right now I'm trying to figure out how Shakti will exist in my life. It may be a while before that final decision is made, but right now I'm thinking that I will continue to do painted canvases and commissioned art pieces. Nor have I decided how this blog will continue. Obviously you will no longer see interior home projects created by us. Well dear readers, I'd like to ask your opinion.

What do you like about my blog?
Would you like to see me showcase and highlight other high-end decorative painters and their work?
Would you like to see highlighted interiors with some elements of decorative painting or furnishings?
Would you like to see various types of artists highlighted?
Would you like to see a more personal side of me?
Would you like to see more of my personal photography?

I just don't know yet... but I respect what you have to say and would love your feedback. Please.

For the immediate time being I am focusing on a new venture. I have re-entered the corporate workforce as a Database Marketing Program Manager. I have returned to my old corporate life and I have a fantastic six month contract with a prestigious software company. I just started last week... this is the end of my second week. My brain is fried and adjusting to the pace after six and a half years has challenged me. I am blessed in that I get to work remotely, so I'm not living the cube life. But I am working in solitude most days. I no longer have the freedom to go out and do what I want to do, when I want to do it. It's a whole different kind of self-discipline and time management game.

So, thank you for offering your opinions. Thank you for being loyal and supportive. I have the best support system. I'm so grateful for old and new friends, online and offline, nearby and far.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For The Love of LusterStone - Decorative Painting's Finest

Click picture to enlarge

Greetings all... I'm still here, and I'm here to show you a master bedroom wall that was completed in June. I've been waiting for the entire room to come together before I went for a photo shoot.

This project is a good example that demonstrates highlighting one wall can make all the difference in a beautiful design. The room would be lovely with painted walls, but in my opinion a little flat. We highlighted the headboard wall to add some dimension. This LusterStone plaster finish shows that decorative painting/faux finishes done right adds panache, sparkle, and luster. What do you think?

Click picture to enlarge

Below is a picture of the room before all of the new furniture was brought in and the decorative accessories. Big difference don't you think?

Photography and wall finishes by Shakti Space Designs. Interior designs by Whirlygig Designs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Small Cabinet Completed

Hey everyone! The cabinet is finished! To refresh your memory. I asked you to participate in the redo of this small cabinet. I gave you choices and you took a survey. 31% of you voted for the wood grain vinyl flower finish.

Here are the inspirational designs...

And here is the final piece! Ta-da!

It's cute right? I know, I know... it took long enough. But hey, it turned into a much busier summer than I anticipated. I've been unraveling, participating in the fishbowl, healing open wounds, sweating from record heat, dog/house sitting, and looking for corporate work.

If you're interested, here's how the cabinet progressed after my last post.

After my trip to Kinko's to use their oversize copier I had my 450%-sized copy ready to go. In order to transfer the copied design to the vinyl I used chalk on the back of the copy and rubbed the entire surface. Then turned the copy over and traced that design onto the vinyl. Once that was all traced I was ready to cut the design with an x-acto knife.

Applying the design was easy. A little more time consuming than I anticipated. I was hoping to stick the vinyl on the top, then pull the backing off in one fell swoop. However, with all of the drawers, doors and trim it would not have gone smoothly. So, it ended up being a puzzle. That's okay. It gave me time to ponder my dreams as I brought this cute creation to life.

So, now what? I'm going to sell it. Any takers?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For Nellie Ide Henry

The caterpillar dies so the butterfly could be born.
And, yet, the caterpillar lives in the butterfly and
they are but one. So, when I die, it will be that I
have been transformed from the caterpillar of earth to
the butterfly of the universe.
-- John Harricharan

My 98 year old grandmother, Nellie passed away the morning of August 29. She was the matriarch of my father's family. She had a strong and silent presence. When she spoke, she spoke with honesty and integrity. Many times with quick wit and often with a sharp tongue. She had a wicked sense of humor and loved practical jokes.

She hosted holidays with aunts, uncles and cousins until the family outgrew her small home. Ask any of us and we'll tell how much we loved her homemade noodles with chicken. My father would have raved about her oyster stuffing made special for Thanksgiving. She loved to cook, but most of all I remember her baked goods; pies, cakes and cookies. My favorites were her incredible date pinwheel cookies.

Late in life she became a prolific quilter. Her works were crafted with great care, and always from the heart. I am happy to own one of her beautiful creations, and use it almost every day.

All her life she managed to get by without ever getting a drivers license. There was always someone willing to take her places. We often took her on family vacations. Sitting quietly in the car, she always seemed to enjoy the sights and sounds while tolerating my brother and I bickering in the back of the station wagon. Still tolerating us as young adults cranking Violent Femmes to rid our angst during long road trips.

When my father died I moved away from Ohio to find myself, establish my independence and put some much needed distance between some family dynamics. Unfortunately I didn't make it a priority to get back to Ohio much. When I started my business over six years ago, funds for travel just weren't available. I missed a lot of opportunities to learn about her, and vice-versa. I know she understood why I moved, but I will spend the rest of my life kicking myself for not seeing her before she passed.

Dear Grandma, you will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for inspiring me and showing me how to be a strong and independent woman. May you and dad watch over me as I continue my passage through life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Small Cabinet Continued...

Thanks for your patience and continued support everyone! I'm getting back on track. My thumb has healed. The weather has cooled. Portlanders don't do well during major heatwaves. Many of us don't have homes with a/c so we suffer through with swamp coolers, spritzer bottles and cold washcloths. Now that it's cooler I can turn the studio lights on and work comfortably. I've also been paying more attention to all the other millions of "to-dos" on my list. But here we are, moving onward!

The cabinet is painted - a nice fresh coat of white. The doors go back on tomorrow. I soaked the hinges in paint thinner to get the layers of paint and grime off of them.

The design for the vinyl has been selected. I decided on a grouping of chrysanthemums which are feminine and work with the feminine curves at the bottom of the cabinet. The design was chosen from a Dover Sampler and I increased the size on my copier to test the scale on a photocopy of a cabinet picture. 150% did the trick.

click on pictures to see larger size

I then traced the design onto tracing paper to visualize how the piece will turn out. I liked it. I measured the width of the design which is 6.5". Then I measured the actual cabinet which is 29.5" wide. Using my handy proportional scale I matched up the original size (6.5") with the size of the cabinet (29.5") and knew my design needed to be blown up 450% to transfer the design onto the cabinet.

450% copy increase requires a trip to FedEx/Kinkos to use their oversize black and white copier. Now I'm ready to transfer the design onto the vinyl.

Stay tuned for more....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's happened to the cabinet?

Wondering how the progress is coming along? Well, I confess, I'm a pussy when it comes to the heat and just as I was getting ready to work on the cabinet the heatwave hit Portland. Since many Portlanders don't have a/c we suffer through, complaining a lot. Three days in a row the thermostat inside our house registered over 90. So, I'm here, I just haven't been productive or moving much because I'm sick of sweating. Seriously, I don't even want to turn on the studio lights because I know they'll heat up the space. Don't you feel sorry for me? This week looks a lot more promising, forcasting 80s and possibly some rain on the way.

To top things off this week, I ended up in the ER on Thursday after the avocado pit won over the knife - too bad my thumb got in the way. No tendons harmed, and I talked them out of stitches - so I now have steristrips healing the deep cut.

I know, I know... you're going to tell me the best way to remove the pit from an avocado. I've done it the way chefs do it for years... this time it was just too slippery for my own good.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

in the meantime....

This brought a smile to my face this morning. See you all soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Painting is in progress. I know, it looks the same, except you saw pictures of it with primer. This last week did not progress as I had hoped. I dream of a separate spray booth inside my large, expansive and light-filled dream studio. For now, I have to spray in the wild outdoors. Good thing this cabinet has seen better days and I'm not claiming it's a perfect piece of furniture. Each time I had scheduled to spray a layer it would be extremely windy. I finally snatched a few still mornings to spray on some coats. Other moments of free time during the week were spent driving from store to store looking for wood grain vinyl. Who knew it would be so hard to find? Yesterday, Fred Meyer pulled through. I'm sure all the other locals and stores I visited are stocked up now that I've been there asking for wood grain contact paper.

During free time this week I will sit down and map out a design for the vinyl.

In the meantime I have resumes to post, a client to visit, transfer my website to a new host, continue my journey of unravelling, and catch up on my e-course with Marisa.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Survey Results - Vinyl Wood Grain Cut-Outs!

Looks like contemporary vinyl wood grain cut-outs are the winning selection, unless there's another surge of voters looking with interest in decoupage. So... next week I'm going to get crackin' on a finish inspired by these.

Thanks everyone for visiting and helping me make the selection. It was my choice too.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Survey - Refinished Furniture

This small cabinet needs help. It needs your help. Please help me decide what type of finish I should create. This will be fun. You help me choose, and I will take you on a step-by-step journey through its makeover. Are you game? Browse through the inspirations below and select your choice in the survey.

Keep in mind the cabinet has some challenging lines in the front - it's not completely symmetrical in design. The two small drawers on the top left don't align in the center of the cabinet like the doors. The top is enamel so it will remain white, with the black edge dictating the color choices.

Here are the inspired finishes. Click on the photos to enlarge.

A. Contemporary silhouettes with vinyl wood grain cut-outs

B. Stenciled silhouettes birds, people or landscape

C. Decoupage
D. Painted with highlighted trim

E. Crackle
F. Distressed painted finish with stencils in the center of the doors

G. Distressed metallic finish
H. Contemporary bold graphic all over design

Thank you for participating. I'm looking forward to your answers.

Picture sources:
A. Domino Magazine
B. Creative Home & Flickr (Workclothesband)
C. Martha Stewart
D. Domino Magazine
E. Country Home
F. Country Home
G. Metropolitan Home
H. House Beautiful

Friday, July 3, 2009

Unraveling, Self-Discovery, The Story Continues

Hi! I'm dropping in to say hello. I'm here. I don't want you to think this is a "shop" left unkept. I've been busy; reinventing, growing, finding anew, creating and living.

In May I started Unravelling with Susannah Conway which took me on a journey of self-discovery in a way that I did not anticipate. Before starting her 8-week course I was already at a crossroads. Wondering how to revive my business during this economy. Wondering how to reinvent myself professionally and artistically. Wondering if I should stay put or venture on. I've been stuck in a rut of comparison. The journey of unraveling took me on several highs and lows. Then of course when the work got tough I found a distraction and started purging. It all started when the course asked me to relive a memory and I went searching for a particular picture in my belongings. I cleaned out my entire storage space then carefully started to purge while spending time with all these material possessions which I had not seen in five years. There are now 18 boxes sitting in my living room and studio space waiting for next week's garage sale. I'm excited about having more space. Not space to fill with more belongings... I just wanted to feel lighter. During that exercise of purging I realized that many of the belongings I adore were tucked away and not visible for me to admire. Well, that has changed. My Suzy Root pieces are hanging up. My Tonka collection has been dusted and photographed. Now the purging is done, the unraveling continues...

So, just after I started Unravelling I signed up for In The Fish Bowl, an e-course offered by Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday. I'm finishing up an intense self-journey. I'm about to embark on reinventing myself and figure out how I can become an online artist, and the phone rings. It's a former client that wants to have their large master bedroom transformed. I was off working on that project for two solid weeks; painting their ceiling, skimming out the textured orange peel walls, and applying a LusterStone finish.

Well, I'm back and as I said before - I don't want you to think this "shop" is left unkept. I've got a few ideas for posts. Is there something you'd like to see from me? Have you been wondering about how many finishes I can create with LusterStone? Did you miss me talking about LusterStone and how much I love it? Is there another product or finish you'd like to hear about?

For now we have some celebrating of independence to do here in the States. I'm going to spend the weekend celebrating with friends and try to stay cool during our sunny, 90 degree heatwave. I'll have something to share next week.

Thank you for sticking around. And I'm serious... if you want to ask me anything, request some kind of finish, or need to know how to patch your plaster wall - just ask!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Portland Artist, Musician, & Philanthropist - Ryan Dobrowski

I just wanted to take a moment to share the works of the incredibly talented Ryan Dobrowski - an Oregonian native. I met Ryan's painting before I met Ryan and I was completely blown away. I was attending a crowded house party and entered the basement to use the bathroom and saw this incredibly expressive painting that took up an entire bedroom wall. That was around five years ago.

Fast forward and now you'll find Ryan evolving in many different directions at an incredibly fast pace!

Ryan: Artist currently exploring encaustic mediums.
Ryan: Owner of PiP Gallery in Old Town.
Ryan: Drummer of the up & coming band - Blind Pilot.

Photo courtesy of NPR Music

Ryan and Israel Nebeker started their two man show a year ago on a West Coast bike tour. That's right they toured the entire coast on bicycles hauling all their equipment with the bikes - no van driving behind them, no rescue car to provide shelter or snacks. And now, now they are in the middle of a full blown tour - just finishing up in the UK with the Counting Crows, and currently touring the U.S. with The Decemberists.

I love this song and video. Enjoy!

Keep your eye on this young man. He's a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations on all your successes Ryan - you're an impressive individual.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

8 Steps to Hiring a Decorative Painter (Faux Finisher)

Never hired a decorative painter (faux finisher) before? Not sure what to expect? Here are 8 steps to familiarize you with the process and what to expect when you work with us:


If you are an interior designer you should have an idea of the design you want to achieve for your client’s project. If you are a homeowner start with some reference pictures - ideas you've cut out of magazines, pictures of rooms you've taken on vacations, etc. If you don’t know the exact decorative finish, then know what rooms you want worked on. Prioritize them if there is more than one room.


Having an established budget makes it a lot easier to help you achieve your desired goals. Understanding your budget allows us to offer you several options that fit that price range which eliminates surprises when we present the final samples with costs. You can expect to see several options within the budget. If you don’t have an exact budget but have a range in mind we can help you select treatments within that range.

The cost of decorative painting varies widely. It depends on such factors as the technique/application you choose, the artisan’s experience and training, the complexity of the technique, the cost of materials, and the location of the painting.

We will always want to see the space before we provide you with any costs.

Be prepared to pay more than a few hundred dollars to have custom wall treatments in a powder room. Don’t be surprised if you are charged more to work in awkward spaces like two-story rooms or ceilings, which sometimes require scaffolding. There may also be additional costs due to size of a space, tight deadlines or crew requirements required to complete the job.

High-end finishes like gilding, wood graining, Venetian plaster, murals, and tromp l’oeil cost more because there are more steps involved. Some of these finishes may involve five or more layers to complete, or a highly detailed mural may take months to finish.


During the first phone call with Shakti Space Designs we will discuss the project briefs and set a date for the initial meeting with all the decision makers (the designers involved and homeowners). There is no fee for the first consultation.


Expect us to ask a lot of questions about your project and request a full tour of the home or commercial space. We will review your designs, and take necessary measurements and photographs for reference. You will get the opportunity to review our portfolios and possibly select a finish from the samples. Have fun, relax, you should feel comfortable – we are developing a professional relationship and may be spending several weeks working within your the space completing the project. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long-term relationship.


Before Shakti Space Designs begins any project we create a custom sample board (unless it is something you've chosen from our portfolio). Once the sample board is completed we set a date to present the sample with the final proposal. Architectural finish samples cost $100 per sample. Mural and trompe l’oeil renderings costs vary according to level of detail. It is not uncommon to be charged several hundred dollars for a full color rendering for mural designs. These costs cover the time and material to create samples you or the client you will sign. Sample boards may sometimes take a few weeks to complete, depending on our schedule.

All sample boards remain property of Shakti Space Designs.


Once all parties agree on the final samples, then a contract is signed.


Once the contract is signed we set a date for the project to begin. Before the project commences we will review the project and make a few requests; removal of furniture, electrical, other contractors deadlines and schedules, etc. But we'll go over all those details with you in person.


We are professional artisans creating a custom finish to enhance your design. We want you to enjoy it as much as we do.

Hiring Shakti Space Designs to create architectural finishes that will enhance your designs is a great choice. You are hiring an artist with years of experience and training, an artist who understands the chemistry of color and the modern, industry materials available. Many artisans specialize in different styles and mediums. We offer expertise in various techniques, ranging from trompe l’oeil, murals, marbling, wood graining, stenciling, and specialty plaster finishes like Venetian Plaster or LusterStone (a specialty plaster).

Shakti Space Designs is licensed, bonded and insured to work in Oregon - CCB#: 154545

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Old Fireplaces Are New Again - Part 3

Here is another renovated project. This fireplace is in a home that was built in the early 80s. The original fireplace was floor to ceiling red brick. I'm sure you're familiar with this type of design. Most people consider it an eye sore.

What can you do with an outdated fireplace? Rip it out, patch the walls with drywall, redesign the surround, the mantel and the hearth? Sure, but that's a lot of work, a lot of mess, and can get expensive.

We plastered with Marmorino right over the brick on this fireplace. No more grout lines. Smooth stone-like feel and texture.

What do you think?

Thank you Michelle @ Whirlygig Designs for making this project possible and making the rest of the room look so fantastic.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interior Designer, Frank Roop - Master of Texture

I'm continuing the search for class act interior designers that understand the value of using decorative painting and plasters incorporated into their designs.

Meet Frank Roop. You may have seen his work highlighted in the May issue of Metropolitan Home. Frank is a young designer based in Boston. His style is fresh with a mix of antiques, incredible vintage pieces, various textures, and an ending statement with just the right punch of color. He states it is his goal to create environments that stir his client's senses.

Enjoy his work.

photo courtesy of Met Home by Eric Roth

photo courtesy of Met Home by Eric Roth

All other photos courtesy of

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yellow - Color of the Year

Back in December Pantone announced 2009's color of the year. PANTONE® 14-0848 Mimosa, a warm, engaging yellow. No other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow. I'm still feeling hopeful are you?

A couple of months ago I was inspired to play around with samples and incorporate mimosa into my designs. I imagine a fabulous LusterStone all-over design in an entryway or a feature wall in a home.

LusterStone sample - black with yellow base

LusterStone sample - yellow w/silver base

Here are some favorites found around the web. Which ones appeal to you? Are you brave enough to add yellow to your home?

photo courtesy of Modello Design

photo courtesy

photo courtesy of Keith Scott Morton

photo courtesy of Keith Scott Morton

photo courtesy of Domino Magazine

photo courtesy of Domino Magazine

photo courtesy of David Jimenez

photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy