In every sense, the design of Oregon interiors boutique Sesame and Lilies is the expression of the owner’s singular aesthetic vision. The Cannon Beach shop is filled with objects, art, furniture and bric-a-brac (she’s especially fond of antique glassware) hunted and gathered by Diane Speakman, who’s never been one to succumb to trends. Her wares tend toward the classic (creamy wool throws, lovingly distressed wood cabinets and upholstered dining chairs in all shades of neutral). It’s all so meticulously, cohesively arranged–this is a store you could live in–that it’s a bit of a shock when you find out that Speakman is also the artist behind the boutique’s boldest elements: the vivid animal portraits showcased on the taupe walls.
Here, we caught up with Speakman to learn more about her creative process.
Tell us about your all-time favorite piece in your home.
An early 1800s gray-green book cabinet with bubble glass doors that displays my collection of ironstone pitchers and teapots.
Share a favorite family tradition.
Going to Maine every summer. We withdraw to a small village on an island where we live in a log cabin that my husband built.
Tell us about your first job and what you learned from it.
My first professional job, right out of college, was in the publishing business. I was exposed to many avenues of creativity and realized I wanted to pursue quite a few of them–painting, illustration and interior design.
How do you get your creative juices flowing?
I like to have a few projects in the works. I remember a writer whose philosophy was to try to leave something for tomorrow so you aren’t starting from zero. So I like to have my next couple of paintings planned out.
What’s your favorite book?
I have many, but my latest favorite book is Wisdom’s Choice by Kathryn Shapiro.
What was the last thing you cooked in your kitchen?
I cook all of the time. I love cookbooks and food photography, and we have our own vegetable garden. I made a lobster omelet Sunday morning for my husband. It’s a plus that I get to use all of my antique pieces.
The recipe I always find myself going back to is…
I have two favorites–roasted vegetables and white bean and cabbage soup.
Tell us about your most embarrassing artistic mistake.
If everyone is paying attention, there isn’t any reason for huge mistakes. That said, “mistakes” are an opportunity to learn. Projects usually involve a team, so pick your team wisely!
Tell us about a piece that turned out differently than how you expected.
My large animal paintings seem to take on their own spirit. I just try to facilitate that. As an experiment, I painted a lion portrait with a wild and loose mane. It sold right away.
The best piece of advice I ever received was…
Work with nice people. Nice people give your name to other nice people–you realize quickly when you are in the wrong circle.