I had the opportunity to interview Shannon Kaye, one of the stars of the new show Blog Cabin, which premiers this Thursday, August 16th on DIYNetwork. Shannon was one of the interior designers for the series. She also has her own show Fresh Coat also on DIYNetwork.
DIYMD: What interested you to be part of the Blog Cabin project?
SK: The concept of Blog Cabin is so innovative and intriguing; I just had to be a part of the fun! Amy Devers shines in her shows. I couldn’t wait to jump in and work with her. And, of course, the best part was reading the blog and learning about the voters’ interests and ideas. I was eager too, to see if I could meet their expectations.
DIYMD: What was your role on the project?
SK: My role on Blog Cabin was to take the voters choice for solid paint and find colors that would bring welcome warmth to the space without fighting its natural earthy elements. I implemented a few simple decorative painting techniques too because I wanted viewers to see that decorative finishes don’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. A simple touch can bring life to a surface.
DIYMD: How was the experience of building something with input from so many people?
SK: I love a creative challenge and this proved to be a good one! I had to consider their votes for paint AND every other element of the cabin. I can’t wait to see what they think!
DIYMD: What was the highlight of the project for you?
SK: For me, the quick and easy stencil project was the most fun. Chris and Simon helped me paint the walls and stencil a simple pattern in the master bedroom. I got to spend time chatting with each one, although I’m still not sure I can tell them apart! It’s okay, they’re both charming and talented.
DIYMD: What was the most interesting part of the project to you?
SK: Painting the rug pattern on the floor upstairs was interesting for me, because the process is so different from painting on walls. Painted floors have been around for centuries, but for most it’s still an unexpected way to be creative. I think people will appreciate the simple tips that make this project so successful.
DIYMD: Was there any part of the project that did not work like you expected?
SK: I surprised to walk upstairs and see the dark stain on the wood floors. I thought the stain would be much lighter so my idea was to have a dark brown rug with red and cream details wasn’t the best plan. I had to rearrange my color scheme a bit, but it actually turned about better. That’s usually how projects work. You can plan everything down to the detail but when you start working in the space, the “real” solutions present themselves. That’s what makes the process so exciting.
DIYMD: Having been through the experience, do you think there will be more blog-involved shows in the future on DIY Network?
SK: I would love to see AND be involved in more blog projects. This is an incredible opportunity for people to test their design ideas, learn about the building process, and see what others are thinking. The show hasn’t even aired yet, and already it’s a success. The input was remarkable. The cabin is stunning. And I think people will really enjoy seeing what happens on this show.
DIYMD: Tell me a little bit about your own show on DIY: Fresh Coat
SK: Fresh Coat differs from all other makeover shows because we really only use ONE medium to create a whole new space- that’s paint. Of course paint comes in different forms, and the tools and processes are endless. But when you’re restricted from adding elements such as fabric or furnishings and accessories, and barred from modifying things with saws and upholstery; you have to get really creative to make a space feel completely new. Fortunately, paint is so versatile and easy to use that it proved to be the fastest more cost effective way to create remarkable makeovers. We’ve painted almost everything you can imagine on the show, and the whole experience just conjured more ideas for things to paint! As a decorative painter, it’s been refreshing to step out of my clients’ homes for awhile and roll up my sleeves with Do-It-Yourself homeowners. I’m impressed by their willingness to take chances, learn new skills, and sweat a little for their success. The homeowners definitely make the show. They’re awesome!
DIYMD: How would you describe your design style?
SK: I’d say my design style is comfortable and understated with an unexpected twist or two thrown in. I want my clients to look good and feel good in their homes, so my decisions are guided by their needs and desires as well as the physical space that we’re working in. And choosing the right colors trumps any particular style or period. If the color is off it doesn’t matter what else is there.
DIYMD: How would you describe your design process?
SK: My design process starts by spending time learning as much as I can about the client. From there I research and experiment with finishes in my studio until inspiration sparks and all the pieces begin coming together. I always create what I call a “wild hair” sample. By creating finishes that fit the guidelines of the project I’m invariably lead to the unexpected color or texture that I know will work perfectly. My long time clients have called to say, “just bring the wild hair, I know that’s the finish I’ll want”. Once the design plan is set, the room is cleared and I set out recreating the samples in a life-size setting. The work is meditative, focused, and physical. I lose track of time, but I never lose track of the finish and what it needs to accomplish in a space. The best part of the entire process is pulling that last little strip of blue tape. It’s so satisfying.
DIYMD: With the focus of just being able to change paint, how do you come up with ideas?
SK: I’m always looking for ways to recreate pretty almost every surface I see. I catch myself thinking, “How could I do that with paint? What would that look like in blue? How many layers are in that pattern?…” I peruse hardware and grocery stores, flip through design magazines, go hiking, and visit museums. Anything can inspire a finish. I just have to keep my eyes and ideas open.
DIYMD: Do you have a favorite kind of project?
SK: I enjoy stenciling projects because there are so many ways to use this basic tool. Creating all-over patterns in several colors and layers can be tedious, but the results always fog the memories of how hard I worked. But more so, my best projects just involve trust and collaboration with the client. Their willingness to share and confidence in my approach always motivates me to do my best no matter how large or small the project may be.