So Canadian eh? : Satori Design for Living

Are you feeling a bit unorganized? Need help getting your paper mess on track? Organize your cupboards? Do you want a space or your whole home re-designed, not one that is pretty to look at but one that can be lived in and enjoyed?

 Well, my guest this week is the gal for you!

Please welcome.....

Shauna Oberg from Satori Design For Living

She is.....
Shauna, a former teacher who took the plunge into the world of design makes her home outside of Calgary, Alberta. I feel a slight kinship to Shauna because our educational and career paths went along a similar direction, but Shauna felt that her true passion laid in design and took that leap and hasn't looked back since. Not only does she focus on designing spaces for her clients but is also a professional organizer as well. What I love about Shauna is her journey into design was not one that she took lightly or without any thought. Her philosophy behind who she is, what she wanted to be and to feel fulfilled is a fabulous one, you can read more about it here.

She sent along some photos and mood boards of her work. With an eye for detail and design, she creates beautiful inviting spaces.

Below are photos of her recent basement renovation. The bones are in, next up she plans on adding the layers to create a comfy abode for her family.

And if you feel like getting a newsletter full of organizational tips sent to your inbox, you can pop over to her site to sign up!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Give us some insight into who you are and what are you drawn to. Were you always creative? Your education?

From a very young age, I can remember wanting to make everything around me pretty and orderly. A fun Saturday afternoon was rearranging the furniture in my bedroom, going through my closet or painting old frames I picked up at a garage sale (one of the many I frequented!). I also loved reading Martha Stewart books and decorating magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens and Canadian House and Home, more than anyone I knew. When I finally got HGTV, I was hooked.

I think what I remember most is people saying that I had a real eye for color, and that kind of stuck with me. I didn't realize it was a true gift until friends and family enlisted my help time and time again because they were struggling with decorating decisions. Somehow it came easier to me and it never felt like work.

As far as education goes, after high school I studied general science and dabbled in art my first year at college, as my range of interests were so broad. As I tried to hone in on what program I wanted to transfer to, I came across the Human Ecology department at the University of Alberta. It seemed to offer a balance of courses in science and the arts, as well as a lot of hands-on and practical. I majored in fashion, but got my feet wet in family studies and nutrition. After graduating with a B.Sc., I went on to finish an after-degree in education. I've since then furthered my studies in business, organizing, design and decorating.

Our stories are so similar; we both have Science degrees, in addition, studied art, fashion and finally education to become a teacher. But you really listened to your heart and set your sights onto your true passion, interior design, and took a leap of faith to pursue that {whilst I sit on the fence and think about it} Was there an “aha” moment where you just decided, that was it. Or was it slow process?

As mentioned, design is something I've always had a passion for, but the practical side of me didn't see it as a viable career living in a small town. I enjoyed being a teacher, but there was always something in me that knew it wasn't my true calling. When we re-located near Calgary over 8 years ago, suddenly my career options opened up. It was a slow process making the change, but only because I tried to ignore the signs and a lot of fear took over too. There's something safe about the classroom. When you're in design, it's precarious and uncertain. It's a whole new ball game.

Fortunately, after much soul searching, dabbling in some design and business courses, and unbending support from my husband, I made the decision to start my business. It took me a while to find my groove, and in difficult times I wondered if I had made the right decision. It wasn't until I finally cut the teaching cord (i.e. no more substitute teaching or the thought of going back), that I really delved into the world of design and organizing as a career.

Now, after 4 years of being in business, I don't have any uncertainty and I feel so blessed that I am able to live my life creatively and thoughtfully everyday. I will always be a teacher, but in a different way. Like education, design is about getting to know people and what best suits their personalities and circumstances. If you finally decide to take the leap of faith, your teaching experience will be invaluable.

Not only do you help clients with design, you are also a professional organizer. Give my readers a few quick tips in creating an organized home without having to go out a buy anything.

PURGE. Most people have way too much stuff they never use! Several years ago I let go of the notion that I may need something someday when there are people out there who could benefit from it right now. I find this perspective really helps get through to my clients who are having a difficult time parting with stuff.

Just last week I felt like our master closet was getting out of hand. My husband and I set aside an hour on Saturday morning to go through everything together. It's great to have the perspective of someone you trust. Perhaps it's a girlfriend who will tell you a dress is no longer flattering or a sweater has run its course. Now I feel like we have breathing space and room for new fall wardrobe items. Shoe shopping anyone?

You have taken a few courses to help steer your design business in the right direction. What have you found helpful? Not helpful?

Any course I have taken has been beneficial in one way or another. Sometimes it's the connections I've made with others who become a source of support for my business. Other times I learn something practical, like a new software program that helps keep client projects in order. I feel like if I take away one thing that will help my business, then it was worth it.

I'd have to say the best course I took was Kimberley Seldon's Business of Design. After years of real experience, she doesn't hold back when talking about the ins and outs of the design business. I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to think about what was working and what had to go in my business. I left with solid information and new found wind under my sails.

As a mom, an entrepreneur and blogger, how do you balance it all?

I learned a long time ago that balance for me means I can do everything I want to in my life, I just can't do it all at once. I became a mother at a young age and my dream of being a super career woman changed very quickly. Since then, my focus has been on my family and I wouldn't change it for anything. As my son has grown up (he's entering grade 12 this year!), I've been able to step back more and more, allowing him to stand on his own. I've replaced the time I used to spend on practicing spelling words and driving to hockey practice with writing for my blog, taking on more projects, as well as on my own personal growth.

Over the years, I've learned to be more flexible during busier times. My husband travels a lot for work, so when he's home I shut things down earlier to enjoy a nice family dinner as much as possible. If my son has a football game or needs help writing an English paper, I adjust my schedule accordingly. I know my day-to-day time is limited with him and I don't want to have any regrets.

Another thing I've had to let go of is the notion that my house has to be perfect all the time. There are times when it's messier than I'd like or projects get put off a little longer than anticipated, but it means I'm able to focus on more important things. It was definitely a process to get to this mindset, as I've struggled with perfectionism most of my life.

Where do you see Satori Design in the future?

Good question. As I approach my 4-year business anniversary and I'm about to celebrate my first year of blogging, I find myself reflecting on the past and thinking about where I want things to go in the future. This past year I have seen the most growth and change with the introduction of my blog, and I'm surprised at how much I enjoy writing for it, as well as the connections and friendships I have made because of it. I still have a lot to learn in the blogging world, but I'm confident it will continue to grow and evolve into something much bigger.

Most of the focus has been on room design over the past few years, but I'm noticing that people are becoming more and more interested in really organizing their homes. My approach has always been to combine the two, but I'll be placing more emphasis on this in the upcoming months, both in the services I offer, as well as on the blog. I'm also throwing around the idea of creating an online store.

What is your design style?

I'm all over the board when it comes to design, which makes it difficult to decorate my own space, but allows me to work with a variety of clients. If I had to narrow down my own design style, it would be classic with a touch of modern and always a little vintage thrown in.

 Tell us something that would surprise us about you!

After my first year of studying science in college, I seriously considered applying to physical therapy or dental hygiene, but missed the early deadlines for the year. Looking back, it was a true blessing!

If you could meet anyone or do anything your heart desires, who or what would it be?

I'd love to spend one more day with my grandfather. We were very close, but there's still so much about his life I'm curious about.

What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I admire Canadians for having their own individual sense of design. Similar to the variety of cultures that make our country so rich and diverse, we're not afraid to mix styles. As a result, I think eclectic design comes naturally. Our sense is to create truly livable spaces that focus on the family, combining current elements with an appreciation of those from the past. We tend to embrace the changing of our seasons, a little lighter in the summer and cozier in the winter. We're not afraid to be ourselves and I think that's refreshing.

Thank you for asking me to share a bit about myself, Barbara. I'm so proud to be part of this series and such a great group of Canadians (even if I'm feeling a little intimidated by all of the talent!).


Shauna Oberg

Shauna, thanks for sharing with us your bits of wisdom. I can totally understand you and where your passion truly lies. I am still sticking with the "safe" career, while dipping my toes in the design world. One day as I gain more confidence in my skills I hope to take a leap like you did! All the best in the next 4 years!

XO Barbara


  1. Beautiful interview! Her childhood memories of creating order, making things pretty and reading home decor magazines totally strikes a chord. I was the exact same little girl!

    I'm excited to check out Shauna's blog!

  2. Thanks for having me, Barbara. You'll know if and when it's time to make the change. Just follow your intuition. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Great interview! I loved reading Shauna's story of her progression into interior design.

  4. Shauna does great work and I love her classic sense of style. Great to see a fellow Albertan featured!

    Have a great weekend.

  5. Great story - and familiar to so many Design loving women wanting to make a career change! Loved it.

  6. Dear Barbara and Shauna! Great post! Shauna, thank you for sharing, it certainly helps people like me, just starting in the business. I loved what you said about Canadian design style, so true!!!
    Wishing you success!!!

  7. Thanks for introducing me to Shauna! Loved my initial peek at her blog and look forward to reading more. What a fantastic path she has taken in life!

  8. I love it when people follow their passion! Great interview!

  9. Loved getting to know Shauna just a little bit better! I've been following Shauna's blog for a while now, and really appreciate the attention to detail that shows in her work. I've enjoyed watching their basement reno take shape, and loved, loved the makeover of their fence! :-)

    1. It has been fantastic to follow you and gain a blogger friend a little closer to home. Thanks for your very kind comments! Hugs


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