Like many creatives, Deborah Waltz knew discovered her passion at a very young age. (In fact, she’ll tell you drew her first floor plan at age 11.) It was a no brainer that she’d become a designer, but her next professional venture was a bit of a surprise. Peinture, a paint studio and boutique in Orange County, is a place where people can go to be creative. Deborah leads workshops and encourages participants to follow their vision. They never sell “painting services,” as Deborah wants guests to experience the process themselves – which, based on the weekly sold-out workshops and classes, is a smart move. Today, we’re talking to Deborah to learn more about her career path, the gorgeous studio, and what you can expect when you step in the door:

You began as an interior designer. Tell us a little bit about your career path! When did you first discover your passion?
I’m still doing Interior Design on a limited basis. I’m also working on my own line of items that I seem to never be able to find. I customize almost everything I buy! In reference to my career path, I could say it started young. I drew my first floor plan at 11 years old (which I still have!). I also just discovered a preschool report card that my mom hung onto where the teacher specifically pointed out that I loved to paint. I treasure those two documents and have them on display in my home. But it wasn’t until a good friend of mine encouraged me in 2005 to explore interior design, noticing that I had a talent in that area. I followed his advice and enrolled in design school. When I walked into the school building for the first  time, I felt like I was home and I have never looked back!

When sparked the idea to open Peinture, and how did you come up with the name?
I was already custom painting statement furniture for my design clients when I discovered Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. I’m not one to strictly order out of a catalog when I design. The hunt for the perfect item and then customizing it with paint is what is exciting to me! It ensures one-of-a-kind piece. I just didn’t enjoy the labor of prepping the wood by stripping, sanding, and priming. I knew there had to be an easier way and started my search for a solution. That’s when I discovered Chalk Paint®. Chalk Paint® has been in Europe for 25 years, but only about 9 months in the USA when I found it. After I used it, I was hooked! I had no plans to open a store, but I knew this product had to be available retail. In 2011, when I first started using it, it was only available online in California. I contacted the distributor and decided to start selling it out the consignment store, Country Roads in Old Towne Orange, where I still stock it. There was a need for an additional location in another section of Orange County, along with a workshop space so I could teach, which prompted the birth of Peinture. The name Peinture is French for paint. Several of the paint colors are influenced by France, so Peinture is was!

For our readers who can’t make it to a workshop, what are your top tips for customizing furniture?
I always tell people to do what they like! I encourage individuality. I show people how easy it is to mix the paint colors to match your current fabric or accessories. You can also apply stencils to the fronts of drawers or table tops that make a big impact. Replacing knobs is an easy option and creates a big change. Also, if you’re not in the OC area, visit www.anniesloan.com to find a [store] near you.

For more information on Peinture, including Deborah’s favorite part of her job, start the slideshow!

To learn more about Peinture, click here.