Shannon Claire Smith & Her Home
"Creating your most beautiful life" is the tagline for Shannon Claire Smith's blog and, it seems, for her life in general, too! This designer is creative to her very core, and that outlook coupled with her exquisite eye for detail have resulted in a home that feels both unique and ultra chic. Today, Shannon takes us over the threshold of her beautiful DC home to give us a look at the one-of-a-kind space she has created, plus she offers us insight into her life as a creative blogger and the designer behind Shannon Claire Interiors. Did we mention that in addition to her blog and interior design career, Shannon also has a full-time day job? Whether you're looking for small space inspiration or can't get enough of seeing thrifted treasures brought back to life, Shannon's home is filled to the brim with actionable ideas. Let's take the tour!
Let's begin right at the heart of things! Where does your creative passion come from?
It comes from a need and a drive to always be creating something! My hands can’t sit still for long, and when you combine that with my love for pretty things, there is no end to my passion. The tagline of my blog and my business is “creating your most beautiful life,” and I really believe that that is something that everyone can achieve.
When did you start your blog, Burlap and Lace, and how did that digital design space eventually translate into Shannon Claire Interiors?
I started my blog almost five years ago. I had just gotten married and bought a house, and I was desperately looking for a creative outlet. Our house was a foreclosure and a fixer-upper, so I found myself diving headfirst into DIY home projects. The blog began as a way to share the progress of our house with friends and family, and I only updated it about once a month for the first two years. Then, three years ago, I graduated from college and decided to devote more time and effort into the blog. My style had changed drastically over the years. I began decorating with a bolder style, and my blog’s success started snowballing. It’s amazing the results you can get with just a little effort! Friends and family began hiring me to help them with their homes, and then strangers started emailing and asking to hire me as well. After many emails and lots of brainstorming, planning and late nights, Shannon Claire Interiors was born.
We're dying to know your secrets! What are some of your tips for finding Craigslist treasures and secondhand scores?
I love Craigslist! When we bought our first house, we furnished it completely with secondhand finds and Craigslist scores. And while my style has gotten an upgrade, I still peruse Craigslist almost daily.
My tips for Craigslist are simple but effective—always search by “owner,” use the gallery view and type in keywords to broaden your search. For example, if you’re looking for a brass coffee table, search both “brass” and “gold.” And when you find something that you’re interested in, be direct in your email! I always state that I have cash and am ready to pick up ASAP.
How do you go about mixing high and low pieces together? How can our readers recreate something similar to your look in their own homes?
I love combining high and low pieces! I think that is the key to really rounding out a space, and giving it a “collected” feel. Anyone can choose a brand new matching set out of a catalogue, but it’s the mix of pieces that really makes a space. My rule is to only include things in your home that you really love—whether that thing is brand new or secondhand. I love finding vintage dining chairs and recovering them with brand new modern fabric—it makes the set feel custom and refreshed.
Another great way to combine high and low is to mix styles to get that high/low look. In my dining room, I used an inexpensive Ikea table that I covered with marble contact paper. The chairs are a Craigslist score that I recovered with some fresh fabric, and the light fixture is a modern pendant from one of my favorite shops, Scout & Nimble. No matter the age or the price, always go for quality.
As a Washington resident, how has living in a metropolitan area affected the scope of your business?
It has been a big change, absolutely! When I started my business, I was living in suburban North Carolina and helping my clients customize their large homes, one room at a time. After moving to Washington, the clientele changed. My clients are usually young professionals who are living and working in the city and are in need of some style in their townhome or apartment. The design game is much more fast-paced here, and I have to be very aware of size limitations since most homes are much smaller. The resources here in Washington are fantastic though—there is everything from high-end antique stores, to thrift shops, to name brand name stores and a great design center to boot.
What are your top three high end resources for home goods in Washington? What are your top three budget-friendly resources?
For high-end finds, there is no shortage of fantastically curated antique shops in Georgetown. Jean Pierre Antiques always has beautiful items—even if you’re just window shopping. My other favorite high-end resources are Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams and Room & Board. For budget finds, I love Miss Pixies, which is right around the corner in Logan Circle. Georgetown Flea Market (Sunday mornings in the summer) is always a good place to look for budget finds as well!
Tell us about your favorite thrift store score to-date.
My favorite thrift score was actually not from a store, but from Craigslist. I purchased my two midcentury Broyhill chairs from a man whose mother purchased them brand new in the '50s. They were in fantastic shape and still had the original citron velour fabric on the cushions. I paid less than $150 for the pair and had them reupholstered in a gray tweed fabric that maintained the vintage look but felt fresh and clean.
What's your favorite DIY project in the house?
My favorite DIY project in the apartment is a tie between our king-sized headboard and our living room shelves. The headboard is so fun and bold, and I love waking up to it every day! But the shelves were the first thing we did when we moved into our apartment, and I love the functionality they provide. They also create a great feature wall and give me a place to display beautiful and meaningful items.
As an entrepreneur with both a design company and successful blog to your name, how do you go about juggling your schedule? Do you have a weekly routine? What are your organization strategies and apps, if applicable?
This is the million dollar question! It is difficult, because I also work full-time during the day in marketing and social media at a major university in Washington. Routines are absolutely essential in balancing my busy schedule! I keep a daily planner on-hand at all times—I hate using digital calendars and feel like I’m going to forget something unless I write it down.
For the blog, I use my time on the weekends to create and photograph projects. I write my posts in the evenings during the week, and I try to schedule as many as I can at one time. For design clients, they are 100 percent taken care of in the evenings and during the weekends, too. It works out perfectly—most of my clients work during the day and need to meet at those times anyway. I also am starting an art store and take commissioned paintings from clients, which I work on in the evenings. Free time is scarce in my world! But when you find something you love and are passionate about, you work when and as often as you can to make it happen.
Free time is scarce in my world! But when you find something you love and are passionate about, you work when and as often as you can to make it happen.
How are you able to keep such a beautifully pristine home with two cats and a dog running around? What are your pet-proofing tricks?
I am not going to lie—my cats are absolutely destructive. I’m pretty sure that's a “cat thing,” but they love pushing things off of ledges and shelves for their own entertainment. I try not to keep things on the edges of shelves, and I try to purchase things that don’t break easily! My dog is a fluffy Pomeranian who likes to sleep all the time, so he’s easy to take care of. The biggest thing I have to combat is pet fur. I keep a fancy lint brush on-hand to wipe off any pillows, couches or chairs that they find comfortable. I also try to provide as many toys and scratching posts as possible so they entertain themselves with those and not with my sofa.
That pink ceiling! Where did the inspiration for that feature come from, and how difficult was it to execute?
I knew I wanted to paint one of the ceilings in our apartment, and this one was a no-brainer since it was the smallest. The hallway that leads from the living room to the bedroom is only four feet wide and five feet long, and the ceiling is completely “contained” on all sides by walls. So it made for the perfect spot for a pop of color!
The idea to paint it pink came to me on a whim—there was absolutely no planning or forethought that went into it. My walls and ceilings are heavily textured, so I could not use a paint roller—it was just me on a chair with a drop cloth and a brush. I found pink paint in my hair for days after this project, but I don’t regret it for one second.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
For such a simple question, this is a hard one to answer. I would love to continue doing what I am doing now—working with social media, interior design and still maintaining my blog. I would love to have a large online art store, and have a few art exhibitions under my belt. I want to be a featured name in the design business in Washington. There are so many creative entrepreneurs here and I’d really like to be more involved and lead in that crowd. I see myself still living in Washington because I absolutely love it here. If I am living in an exciting and thriving environment and working in a creative field, I will be happy.