By Anna Patterson

Sandy views her home as a work of art constantly evolving. 

Sandy Kimura, mural artist and owner of Kimura Designs, sees her home as an extension of her studio. Every wall and every piece of furniture and decor is a unique creation. It’s as if each room is a living canvas awaiting its next transformation. “I have the same motto as Lowe’s,” Sandy says. “Never stop improving.”

When Sandy and her husband, Tateshi, built their home in the late ‘90s, they built their kitchen cabinets to fit with the current style. They added a desk, which was a must at the time, but found its only purpose was to collect unwanted papers and trinkets.

Tired of her desk being a mess magnet, Sandy began sketching new designs for improved cabinets — no desk included.

Transforming the look of any piece of furniture requires creativity and imagination. 

Her new design made use of the already existing cabinet set and added a symmetric set where the desk had been.

Tateshi, a skilled craftsman, brought Sandy’s creation to life. He built the new cabinets by hand and even added special compartments to the existing drawers. The couple pre-planned what items would go in which compartments, and everything else was trashed or donated. The clutter that had once taken over the kitchen was instantly gone.

Sandy then painted the cabinets in slate gray and distressed them to give a vintage vibe. “I look through magazines a lot for inspiration,” she says. “If I’m in a design shop, I’m constantly noticing finishes on furniture.” She had stumbled upon a piece at Tassels that bore a distressed look and fell in love. The result: a charming shabby-chic cabinet set.

Sandy’s cabinets before and after the redesign. 

She even created her own make-believe story for the cabinets:

“We used to live in Germany and would travel to Italy a lot, and so I tell people this is a cabinet we found in a ruin that was really distressed. We brought it back in pieces and put it back together.”

She turned her redesigned cabinets into an organizational tool. 

But it’s not only Sandy’s cabinets that create a world of make-believe — it’s her entire house.

The dining room wall is painted to look like a scene from a Venice balcony, complete with faux marble columns bearing the illusion of cracks. The foyer wall has a set of false iron gates that hide an imaginary painted wine cellar. It’s as if you are walking through a storybook.

Practicality is equally important as beauty. 

In Sandy’s home, there is a place for every item. 

Sandy’s artistic skills came in handy when transforming this piece.  

Sandy’s mural paintings can be seen in buildings throughout the state, including the St. Leo School library in Versailles and the Old Governor’s Mansion. She also works as a home stager and interior designer as well as an architectural illustrator. Her secret to success: “Whatever you choose to do, do it to your best ability and beyond. It shows.”

Sandy Kimura flexes her artistic muscle in other ways outside of painting.