When Stephanie Dianne Kordan started The Beautiful Painting Co. after the pandemic hit in March 2020, she wanted to re-launch her former decorative painting business because she was burned out by her massage therapy job.
“When lockdown forced me to stop due to safety concerns, I went back to painting interiors,” Kordan remembers.
By April, she landed a big project in Santa Barbara and spent the summer painting the interior of a two-story house.
“While my client quarantined in her second home, I rolled a fresh coat of paint in every room with her favorite color: Bennington Gray,” Kordan recalls. “I also painted custom accent walls in several rooms with a patterned roller which gave a birch bark texture. My client loved the final results.”
Since starting her business in the Conejo Valley—which accepts projects in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Ventura and Oxnard—Kordan has earned a stellar reputation for collaborating with clients to bring their vision to reality. For instance, one of her most recent clients was a mom who surprised her daughter with a bedroom makeover for her 16th birthday.
“Initially, she asked for a charcoal gray accent wall and light gray on other walls,” Kordan says. “I suggested a faux stone treatment, and my client loved the idea. On her daughter's birthday, she texted the bedroom makeover video reveal to show her daughter's enthusiastic response.”
Today, some of the most popular offerings at The Beautiful Painting Co. are Venetian plaster wall finishes.
“Plaster is magic—there's a reason why walls in Italy are beautiful,” says Kordan, adding that faux wood on entry and garage doors are also popular.
Looking back on the path that led to her current vocation, Kordan remembers taking art classes in New York City during the summer of her 13th birthday. Although the age requirement was 18, she was accepted, “and it worked out because I painted as well as the adults.”
Her first mural was for a friend who wanted to transform the living room of his 1930’s Spanish-style home in Silverlake. The finished product was an idyllic landscape, including the ceiling with clouds and birds.
Then, in her mid-20s, she moved from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, where she loved the Santa Fe art scene, “but decided to move to New Orleans.” A short time later, “I was established as a decorative painter and flourished as an artist.”
One of her fondest projects in New Orleans was a reproduction she did of a painting by Jacques-Louis David's Napoleon. The copy was commissioned by a client back in 1998 who wanted a large replica of Napoleon for his foyer entrance.
“It took three months to complete,” says Kordan, who delivered the finished painting during Mardi Gras, navigating parade routes with Napoleon in the back of a truck. “My client framed the piece in ornate gold and hung it in his foyer.”
Eventually, Napoleon was sold through an antique dealer in the French Quarter to a local hotel.
“My client made a move to Colorado and couldn't take it with him—he sent an email expressing regret about selling the painting,” she remembers.
Years later, Kordan received a Facebook message from a hotel renovator in New Orleans who found the Napoleon painting with her signature. However, when she emailed her client to tell him the news, “the message bounced.”
Most recently, she reconnected with her former client through LinkedIn, and told him the Napoleon painting was found in a warehouse. He asked for the renovator's number to repurchase the painting, and a week later, three strangers showed up at his doorstep late at night.
“They insisted he stole the Napoleon painting, claiming to be the rightful owners,” Kordan says. “My client was startled—how did they find his address in Colorado? The incident was reported to the police. Needless to say, he didn't want to repurchase Napoleon after all the trouble.” In the end, “that Napoleon painting became a Big Lebowski-like mystery…that client decided to commission a new painting.”
Above all, Kordan’s goal is to bring the elegance of antique wall treatments and fine art to all of her projects.
“I'm passionate about creating unique interior atmospheres for my clients to express their own unique style,” emphasizes the mother of three, who lives in Thousand Oaks. “Whether it's a boutique café in Santa Barbara, a wine-tasting room or a private residence, my approach is to create art out of an interior that is one-of-a-kind magical.”
For more information, or to book a decorative painting project, visit TheBeautifulPainting.co.