Shawna’s Story: A Decade in Design & How It All Started

Although I have worked in design with Styleberry for over a decade, the truth is, it’s always been my passion. From creating cozy closet corners (complete with Care Bears wallpaper made from a bed sheet!) to spending my free time in college getting my hands on any design book I could, the seed was always there. But the path had its twists and turns…

Winding Beginnings

I have a deep love for the written word, which guided my college studies. At St. Mary’s College of California, I dove head first into many passions. I was able to focus my degree in Communication toward an emphasis on both Business and Integrated Media, which in truth, was the perfect foundation for all that I manage as a business owner today. I also spent every semester in the Art Studio, playing with any medium I could get my hands on… just for fun.

While the business ideas floated in my head, I applied paint to the canvas. It was meditative. & I loved it. My life has always been a dance between words, art, and numbers.

After college graduation, with a new husband fresh out of USAFA and big scary dreams, we left California and moved to Omaha so he could begin medical school. I settled into my role as breadwinner quite naturally, experimenting with a career in Pharmaceutical Sales. I learned a lot, did very well, and managed a huge territory. All that time on the road (60K miles a year!) gave me the time to listen to Martha Stewart’s new channel on Sirius XM and dream big. I tinkered with design ideas and with paint in our townhouse, using it as my lab of sorts.

creative journaling dream setting goals designer

In 2007, as we began to plan our move to our new home for my husband’s residency, I started a blog about my creative pursuits. Both creativity and motherhood were calling my name. One came more easily than the other.

As I navigated the waters of infertility, I baked and dreamed, often lost in a cloud of deep thoughts and flour. One night, dreaming of my next stylish move over a batch of cranberry muffins, I started jotting down names for my new business…

Along with a long list of rejects, Styleberry was born. She was stylish and healthy. Capable and upbeat. I filed my LLC paperwork in 2008, took an online interior design course, and booked my first color consulting clients. After all, playing with color was always what I loved most. That, and using my power tools.

painting neutral wall warm white beige fresh

Dreams of Design & Motherhood

I quickly became addicted to transforming my own blank canvas of a home, and helping others transform theirs. I chronicled some of these transformations on my blog and loved making the complicated simple, offering up simple solutions to common home decor challenges.

My husband’s long hours as a General Surgery Intern left me plenty of time to fill with new ideas and home experiments — and no one there to help me hang anything. I found a real can-do attitude buried inside and took great pride in working with my own two hands to make something beautiful. I shared so much of my life on the Styleberry Blog, everything from design to photography, to our infertility journey.

black white gold terrazzo tile with coffee cup and phone

Eventually, my dream of becoming a mother came true.

Caroline was born & as the blog continued to grow, my husband’s work hours only got worse. Life married to a General Surgery resident was lonely, and as much as I wanted to work, his schedule would have made it so hard. I knew that I wanted to be home with my baby, so we pinched pennies and made the best of it.

Styleberry Grows Its Roots

Design on a dime was quickly becoming my specialty, and I loved creating a nurturing environment for my baby. Eventually, we had a second baby, my sleepless Everett, and after 6 years in San Antonio, we moved to St. Louis for my husband’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship. If residency was hard, CT fellowship was brutal. I chose to spend our first year there keeping my head above water. The second year brought part-time preschool for my youngest, and with three days a week to myself, the business planning began.

I didn’t know it then, but the roots of the Styleberry you know today were growing deep during that season. After a friend (turned repeat client! See the Peacock Farm Project) visited my home, and all but insisted she pay me to help make her home feel like mine, the work began. That project turned into another, turned into another…

& then fellowship was over and it was time to move again. My husband had accrued quite the military commitment, and we were told we’d be heading back to San Antonio. So I took a breath, and planned to start over… again.

family photo art in frames on top of bedroom dresser styleberry family home

The Renovation that Launched the Styleberry of Today

We rented our first year back in SATX, as I wasn’t yet sure where I wanted to settle in this great big city. Eventually we started looking at fixer uppers near the Alamo Heights area, flirting with the idea of making one my own. After rejecting my realtor’s suggestion to even look at the ugliest house ever (ha), I popped into the estate sale. Well. I didn’t buy anything, but once I got inside, there was something about the house that spoke to me.

This was the one.

The energy was so good — I had to have it! We closed on the house in November, and #renobystyleberry began — the kitchen (shown below), bathrooms, and more. I took you all with me, and by the end of my project, I had a client list ready and waiting.

fresh white kitchen modern rustic styleberry reno

Since 2017, I have continued to build, and grow, hire a team, and learn, and reassess, only to pivot again. There are a million ways to approach design. What made my way different? Why would you want to work with us? What was it that kept you coming back, over and over? Could we do this in a fun, thoughtful, non-fussy way?

I was determined to be a different kind of design firm. It took some time to learn how I wanted to add to the market of designers, and position our services to look and feel unique in a market with a lot of talented people. It took time and experimenting to make it totally clear.

hexagonal tiles honeycomb pattern white on black countertop styleberry

The Heart of Styleberry

All of my experience bootstrapping my own homes bred a spirit full of confidence and pride in creating things myself. Sometimes, I had to do a ton of research and call in an expert, but I am a capable woman. Give me a plan, and some direction, and I can do it.

Would the women I work with possibly just need a plan? What if we created a service to set them up for fail-proof success, but also hand over the reins, so they could own the process and take pride in the outcome? Yes.

But could we also make it local, and offer the option for high quality, white-glove delivered furnishings? YEP. We can. & We did. And this, my friends, is where the pieces all fell into place and all those twists and turns became clear…

You just need a plan. We can help. But you’ve got this.

What’s Next?

This is the spirit of Styleberry moving forward, and our Secret Sister Company (coming in Fall of 2021) is born of the same ethos.

It all makes so much sense, and also feels like a huge relief — being able to offer something that so beautifully aligns with my personal values. Not everyone needs full-service design. Not everyone can afford full-service design. Does that mean you’ll never home that feels professionally designed?

With us, you can. 🙂


Styleberry Creative Interiors specializes in fresh, relaxed design crafted in a meaningful way. With a team and process you can trust, we’ll help you create soul-soothing spaces that inspire you to unwind, connect, and finally… exhale.

Styleberry Creative Interiors is based in downtown San Antonio, Texas and serves clients in the Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, greater San Antonio Metropolitan area and Nationwide.

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