Three years ago, Christine Utter opened The Skillful Shopper.
The Westporter called her small spot on the Post Road near the Double L Market a “recycling, go-green boutique.” By giving new life to old chairs, tables, lamps and handbags, she saved her customers money — and did a tiny bit to reduce their carbon footprint.
But running a small business — particularly while paying Westport rents — is hard.
The Skillful Shopper has moved online. But Christine found a partner, with a shop at 239 Westport Avenue, just over the Norwalk line. They’ve just opened a new venture there: The Design + Paint Studio.
Christine and Daniella Toth offer custom painting services. Furniture, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, walls, floors — you name it, they paint it (using eco-friendly Annie Sloan Chalk Paint).
They also offer design and decorating services and workshops, color consultations, repairs, and estate liquidations and management.
Christine moved to Westport from North Stamford in 2003. She was looking for a community in which most children did not go off to private school. She was attracted too by our town’s diversity, “artsy” vibe, and proximity to water.
Her daughter graduated from Staples last year. And even though Christine’s store is no longer in Westport, she’s retained her ties to the community.
The Design + Paint Studio repainted a pine coffee table for Project Return, gratis. They’ve reached out to the Gillespie Center to paint there. They invite other non-profits to contact them for similar volunteer work: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(The Design + Paint Studio hosts a “Feng Shui Your Bedroom for Love” event at 7 p.m. on February 11.)