This week we’re interviewing an amazing mom of two from Manchester-by-the-Sea. Kristen Litka is the owner of Shackteau Interiors, an online furniture and paint store store which specializes in refinishing antique and unique vintage furniture. Each piece is hand selected and uniquely finished by Kristen so no two pieces are alike. She will also be opening a store in Magnolia soon!
Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
I was born in Malden, that’s where my awesome Boston accent comes from. I went to high school in Danvers. I currently reside in Manchester-by-the-Sea. So I’ve been on the North Shore most of my life.
How many children do you have and what are their age(s)? I have two daughters, one is 20 and the other is 16.
What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore? We like to go hiking in all different places and going to the beach.
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore? My favorite place to eat is the Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly. I also love hitting any thrift shops on the North Shore.
You’re the owner of Shackteau Interiors. Tell us a little bit about your background and your business.
I started painting discarded furniture as a hobby about eight years ago and realized that I could turn my hobby into a business. Before that I did a lot of interior and exterior painting with my husband‘s home-improvement company. I had a lot of experience painting! Eventually I started my own milk paint line which is a paint that is completely non-toxic with no VOC’s. I love the way milk paint transforms vintage furniture–it gives it a truly unique finish.
You also teach furniture refinishing classes. Where can moms find your classes locally this year?
I offer classes in Manchester-by-the-Sea at the Community Center. It has become quite popular as people are able to bring their own furniture piece to transform. I keep the classes really small so there’s a lot of one-on-one interaction.
Do you have a favorite furniture piece that you’ve ever worked on? What about a favorite color of your Milk Paint line? That is such a tough question because I have probably painted a couple thousand pieces of furniture. LOL. My rule is if I don’t love it then I don’t sell it. As far as the milk paint colors I guess it depends on the season and the piece. This past year my best selling color was Magnolia Pier which is a grayish brown that really looks nice on a lot of pieces.
You appeared on HGTV’s Flea Market Flip two years ago. Tell us a little it about that experience.
We filmed about two years ago this spring but the episode aired last spring on HGTV. Our episode is called All American Flip. I was asked to be on the show from one of their producers who was watching my Instagram stories. My husband was my partner and we definitely had a great time doing the show, it was a great experience. I definitely put a lot of work into the episode as I knew there was no way I was going home a loser.
Aside from your Reality TV win, what’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not sure about that but when I asked my husband he said that it’s pretty cool that I know how to ride a dirt bike. Haha! One thing that makes me smile is when people use my custom colors on their furniture and they love it. People may not know I make my own colors and name them after locations around Manchester-by-the-Sea.
Any tips for balancing work & motherhood?
It’s definitely easy to get caught up in work, especially when it’s your own business. I definitely try to spend time with my girls doing hikes together and going out for lunch. Since they’re older and one lives at school we have to make plans. As long as we have a plan it works. I also get them involved in my business, they know how to ship orders and make labels. They also do some painting from time to time.
What is the best piece of mom advice you ever received?
It feels like ages ago when all the advice was rolling in. I guess one thing I learned, that I wish someone told me. was to put myself first. I realized how important it was to eat healthy, exercise, and have “me” time. When my girls were younger I was the last person I took care of and I see that a lot with other moms.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me” time?
I love walking the beach and picking up sea glass. It seems like it’s the only time I’m not thinking about anything else except whether it’s a rock, shell, or sea glass!
Follow along with Kristen’s projects on Shackteau Interior’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. Shop for Kristen’s signature milk paint or one of her furniture pieces on her website, shackteauinteriors.com.