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Designer Meg Shattuck's Secrets to a Beautiful Home

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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. 

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.

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