Designer Meg Shattuck's Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Shattuck gets inspiration from 1800s Italian and French painting.

In the 1970s, Meg Shattuck studied fine art at what is now the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She was focused on oil painting and figurative art. Her canvas got a whole lot bigger when she met muralist Michael Webb of Bala Cynwyd, who was working on the exterior of a house in Bryn Mawr at the time. “That’s where I got the bug,” she recalls.

For more than 30 years now, Shattuck has been using her considerable faux-painting techniques to enhance interiors. 

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Artistic influences: A lot of the hand-painted designs I do are influenced by the very intricate work in Italy and France around the 1800s.

Largest project to date: I designed the floors for a whole house, adapting folk-art marquetry patterns that were adapted from furniture.

Biggest faux pas in faux painting: A lack of subtlety. The design loses elegance and sophistication if the colors and textures are too strong.

Favorite space in her home: My living room. I did a very subtle, very pale-yellow Venetian plaster on the walls. I left a matte finish instead of applying wax for a sheen. So light and pretty.

Design sensibility: I’ve studied a lot of Chinese brush painting. I’m looking for a stroke that’s beautiful and fluid.

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Colors she never gets tired of: Olive green, teal gray-blue, the cool white of lilies—colors from the earth.

Inspirational interior designers: Parish-Hadley. [Albert Hadley] was painting floors when nobody was painting floors—and painting them black. Also, Robert Adam, from the 1700s. He inspired a space I did in milk-paint colors.

What never goes out of style: Gold leaf and silver leaf.

What’s out now: Anything Early American.

Photo by Thom Carroll

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