Visitors strolling through the Merchandise Mart often view the beautiful art or furnishings with a keen eye, but now they have a good reason to look at the walls with considerable interest. Estelle Leptich of Stamatia Studios is an artisan to watch, having recently completed the showrooms for Pedini and Neff at the Merchandise Mart.
“The seven layer finish for Pedini was troweled on and finished with iridescent waxes on top,” Estelle says with pride. “I’m hoping to get some interesting work after people see the finishes.”
When talking with Estelle, her enthusiasm for what she does is evident in the way she describes her projects. “I like to make people happy – I might not see the project again, but they see it every day and it makes them happy.”
Stamatia Studios (Stamatia is “Estelle” in Greek) was initially conceived when Estelle started hand painting antiques some years ago in Colorado. Her father’s subsequent discovery of a model home with some unique wall finishes led to her interest in the decorative arts. “I always loved to paint, but I needed to find a way for art to work for me – to earn a living through what I love to do,” Estelle explains.
While Estelle already earned a degree in Art, she went to Kelly King’s school in Denver, and also attended classes and worked with Aaron Cohen in Seattle. She moved to Washington D.C. and worked with paint contractors and builders – all over the country. She has also taken classes at the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes with Kathy Carroll.
Along the way, learning more was her focus. Estelle is gracious in crediting her colleagues with her success as well. “If I don’t know how to do something, I have a number of people I’ve worked with all over the country to give advice and pointers,” Estelle remarked. “I’m very fortunate.”
Teaching is a delight for Estelle and she is a regular instructor in Skimstone for the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes. “I love learning – and then being able to demonstrate that knowledge is great,” says Estelle.
Her quest to be the “best I can be” will help Estelle meet her #1 goal – to be “busy all the time.” Her most recent project in a Chicago North Shore high rise is what she would describe as an ideal location. “Working in Chicago is fantastic – I’d love to work here in Chicago all the time, but I also enjoy working across the country,” she notes.
Stamatia Studios’ work has been also been featured in “Decorate With Paint” in the March 2005 issue. Looking at the variety of finishes from Stamatia Studios, and Estelle’s individual murals, her dedication to a broad application of the decorative arts is evident.
Stamatia Studios can be reached at (630) 730-1410 or at email@example.com.