“For me, it’s really important for my mental space how my external space looks,” said Kelli Shaw, owner of Walnut & Pine Design.
Over the last decade, while continuing her day job as a pharmacist, Shaw realized her passion for interior design and implemented her tastes into her home.
When she shared her projects with people, they wanted to see what she could do in their spaces.
“I was saying no for a long time, seven to eight years,” said Shaw. “I had myself into a different box.”
Finally, after some encouragement from her partner, Josh, she agreed to look into her passion.
“My MO Seems to be buy really ugly houses, get good deals on them, and then try to make them nice. Other people don’t like them, but I love them.”
“When I started, I was doing more textbook mid-century,” said Shaw, explaining that she used Better Homes and Gardens for inspiration.
She pulls from that style mostly to satisfy her vision of clean lines and shapes. Her Rapid City home, which she refers to as Arrowhead, has evidence of her mid-century influences in many ways.
Despite her affinity for orderly things and few items, Shaw says she wouldn’t consider herself a minimalist.
“I don’t like when there’s too much stuff in my visual line,” said Shaw. “It distracts me.”
The things that fit best into her personal designs are plants and a Scandinavian aesthetic, bringing in plenty of walnut and pine.
“Nature’s a huge part of all of my stuff for sure,” she said. “You’re never going to outcompete nature, but you can bring it inside and make it comfortable.”
In her bedroom, Shaw spent the time to hand-draw an outline and paint a vertical mural on either side of her bed. She had the same design at her last house and couldn’t bear to part with it.
Giving nature a run for its money, Shaw admits that last time she counted she clocked in 67 plants in her home.
Some people don’t know what to do with their homes, plants or no plants.
“Everyone gets these houses, they put their stuff in it, and they don’t really know what to do next,” explained Shaw. “If I can help with that, that’s great with me.”
So from a 10-year-old’s bedroom to a yoga studio and more, Shaw has had the opportunity to design many different spaces.
“My favorite spaces are Airbnbs or an income property of some sort,” said Shaw. “The reason I like those so much is that they are not real life so you can get a little funky with it.”
The couple own an Airbnb in Custer, the Pine Palace, a space where the Scandinavian aesthetic shines bright. (Read more on here.)
With both the Pine Palace and another Airbnb they are currently working on, Shaw wants the atmosphere to be fun and exciting.
She says she already has plans in her head for her next three rental projects.
But Airbnbs are not the only place where she wants something unique and noteworthy.
Shaw just completed a retro mural that transformed the guest bedroom she once dreaded being in into a space she can’t wait to spend time in.
“The reason I did that mural is because I got this Peloton [bike], and I wanted to make myself work out,” she explained with a laugh.
A Rough Start
Shaw laughed as she explained that her home was “so ugly” when she purchased it, but the floating staircase was too good to resist at its price. She got the house at a good deal. She then revived the overgrown yard, did lots of painting, and made it her own.
No matter the motivation, she loves making rooms into places where people want to be.
“You already own the space and bought the space, you might as well make it really cool,” she said.
While she enjoys her day job, Shaw says she’s having a blast with her design passion, and she’s up for any challenge.
“Some people just need help with paint colors, and some people want everything done,” said Shaw. “I would be interested in taking on a lot of different projects.”