Two years ago, the statuesque Helen Musgrave started her business appropriately called TallGirl Paint and Décor with the cheeky slogan, “Decorating from a different point of view.”
Originally from Woodstock, Musgrave moved to Sudbury to work as a set designer for the Sudbury Theatre Centre in 2005. With an urge to grow and “step it up a notch,” she started TallGirl two years ago.
A graduate of the technical theatre production program at Humber College in Toronto, she perfected her trade while working on the Royal Caribbean cruise ships. She would set up orchestra equipment and run spotlights for entertainers, but she drew her decorating inspiration from the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities working overseas had to offer.
“I would come home for a vacation every six months inspired by the places I had been with an itch to paint and create,” she says. “I had some pretty incredible experiences, scuba diving in Tahiti, a picnic in Venice and shopping in Manhattan.”
For the STC, she designed, painted and decorated sets for four seasons. Her favourite set was for The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged).
“It was a twisted version of the Globe Theatre in England,” she says.
Although Musgrave knows the routine of hustling for new contracts, running a business is a little different. Now she is creating marketing strategies and branding her business.
TallGirl offers decorating and painting services for residential and commercial owners, theatres and film companies and specializes in faux finishes and decorative painting. She loves to help clients de-clutter, choose colours, and help to fit room décor with their personalities.
TallGirl offers an environmentally friendlier service. Musgrave uses low VOC paints and recycles and revives furniture.
Since so many people dislike painting, Musgrave has found her niche. “I’m happy with a clean wall, paint and my headphones,” she says.
For those curious high school students interested in interior design, Musgrave invites them to complete their community service hours by working with her.
“I teach them the basics of theatre painting and set decorating,” she says. “I recently participated in the Women of the Future fair where I was encouraging the Grade 9 students to volunteer with Theatre Cambrian and help me paint and decorate sets.”
Musgrave hopes to grow her business into a storefront operation where she can offer classes in painting and decorating and sell local art work. (Visit her website at www.tallgirl.vpweb.ca.)
With files from Chelsea Borton and Heather Campbell.