Rachael Novak is charming her Ohio hometown – and the Internet – with her blog, Shore Society, which features unique DIY creations and a Lake Erie-inspired line of apparel and gifts. Rachael, who is a self-described “designer, maker, and DIY-obsessed homeowner” and lover of “color, dogs and all things nautical,” claims she inherited her proclivity for crafting and decor from her mother, but what started as a kernel of interest in childhood has bloomed into Rachael’s identity today as a baker, interior decorator, fashion designer, stationery-maker, and more. From Distressed Wood Wall Art to Bold Striped Curtains, there’s something for everyone (with complete instructions!) on Shore Society. Rachael shares an inside look into the source of her inspiration in this spotlight.
To try your hand at some of Rachael’s projects like her Art Deco mirror or gold leaf tortoiseshell, visit her site at ShoreSociety.com.
Windstream: Hi Rachael! Thanks for talking to us. Our first question for you: how did you get into crafting and Do-It-Yourself projects?
Rachael Novak: I wish I could say it was a lightning bolt scenario but it’s because my mom was really into it. She was a teacher so she was always making crafts with us while we were growing up. I think her influence helped me learn how to make things myself, be creative and express myself.
WS: That’s awesome. What a fun environment to grow up in. Do you have any favorite memories of crafting with your mom?
RN: My mom was very creative with food and she would go nuts when it was one of our birthdays. She made a really elaborate pirate cake for my brother. She made an ocean, built a castle out of pieces of cake, put figurines on it and frosted the whole thing. She let us help put the cake together and that’s the most memorable thing we created together.
WS: Sounds like she needs her own reality show! Do you have any favorite projects or blog posts?
RN: I really like my Art Deco mirror. It was just spray paint but measuring it to get it to be symmetrical was really kind of difficult. Also, the gold leaf tortoiseshell. I’d never worked with gold leaf before and it’s more interesting than just spray painting. But I would have to say that all of my before-and-after posts about my house posts would be my favorite. They reflect the most work. They’re personal for me to post as well because I’m bringing people inside my home. It’s also fun to see how far everything’s come and to inspire other homeowners.
WS: That’s the beauty of the Internet. It must be surreal to know that your art deco mirror might be hanging in dozens of homes. When did you start blogging?
RN: I work full time as a designer but I’ve had a blog since about 2009. I re-launched as Shore Society in 2011 to be a lifestyle blog that supports my own design business under the same name.
WS: And how did you land on the name Shore Society?
RN: It took a lot. It seems really simple but it’s difficult because you’re being really critical. I wanted it to be regionally inspired and a little bit nautical. I honestly started making lists of different terms I liked in a notebook and started slapping them together to see what worked.
WS: What is the process for determining what projects you work on and what makes it onto the blog?
RN: I usually come up with ideas because I’m trying to solve a problem. I can picture what I need and I’ll search the Internet to buy it. I’m a pretty good online shopper so if I can’t find something online, then I know it doesn’t exist. That’s when I come up with a concept and start gathering my materials.
I try to keep quality over quantity on the blog. I don’t have a ton of projects because I try not to put any fluff in there. I think my audience appreciates not seeing projects that seem just thrown online.
WS: Absolutely. So when trying to solve a problem, where do you get your inspiration?
RN: For my job, I do a lot of research so I’m always staying current with what is trending. I also love color. I’m always tracking what’s going on in the world of color, which is usually derived from what’s coming down the runway. Then I also grab inspiration from my surroundings and the people I meet.
WS: Your color palette looks impeccably coordinated for sure. In fact, your whole blog looks really put-together. You make all these projects look so easy. We’re curious: do you have any DIY disaster stories?
RN: With DIY projects, not really. Like I said, I love to bake and I really love French macaroons. I was attempting to put together a recipe post about macaroon baking but the first couple of times I baked them it was a terrible disaster. When I took them out of the oven, they were a gushy, sticky mess and they collapsed.
WS: Oh no! All right, so since you’re not going to be a professional baker, do you have aspirations to make Shore Society a full-time job?
RN: I do. It’s been the idea all along but I currently love my job and I’m not in a position to step away right now. I know when the time will be right so I’m just waiting.
WS: Sure. What do you hope readers get out of the blog?
RN: I hope they attempt to try one of the DIY projects. Either by copying it or interpreting it in their own way. I love it when people share their finished projects with me on Instagram. I’m hoping I can show a different approach to DIY that’s on a budget but still looks high-end.
WS: DIY is intimidating for a lot of people, especially if they aren’t naturally artistically talented. For the newbies out there, how would you suggest they get started?
RN: Spray paint. It’s so awesome. It’s budget-friendly. It’s pretty much foolproof. It sounds really simple but for a complete beginner to learn how to handle spray paint, how to use the primer, how to use different finishing coats, would be a good place to start.
WS: Thank you so much for talking to us, Rachael. One last question: what is your favorite part of running your blog?
RN: I appreciate that people even read my blog. I just started putting things out there for fun and for myself to have an online diary of sorts. It’s great that people have interacted and I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot people in the region.