PEOPLE PRIMER: SHANNON MARKO, Catch her while you can!

October 29, 2018 3 min read

PEOPLE PRIMER: SHANNON MARKO, Catch her while you can!

Meet another member of the talented Barrydowne Team!

It’s hard to believe that Barrydowne’s own “Colour Match Queen” once tried to dismiss her naturally artistic side for a more analytical career, but luckily, Shannon Marko came full circle.

“Despite pursuing art as a major in high school, I couldn’t imagine a future in which art could be lucrative or respected, so I ventured into engineering at Queen's University; but after the first year, I knew I could never spend a lifetime in this career” she says. Believing she was destined for a career in accounting, Shannon spent the next seven years dedicating herself to white-collar work, before applying, on a whim, to Barrydowne Paint.

“I should have respected and explored my artistic streak further because colour, and what I can do with it, is truly my gift and my passion. Working at Barrydowne has provided me with the tools, the training and the confidence to start my own projects.” A can of worms was certainly opened, with her decorating pursuits resulting in her home being featured on the IODE Tour of Homes in 2012.

After 10 years spent with the same people, commiserating over losses, celebrating everything from baby showers to Christmases, Shannon refers to the Barrydowne team as her second family.

“There is a running joke that I’ve used every product in the store – I have used nearly all of them,” she laughs. “I find myself with favourites I can recommend to customers, as well as advice and tips that can only be obtained from actually working with the products.”

Shannon credits her career at Barrydowne for taking her on a self-journey into who she is and what she most loves to do, including, she says, “the discovery that I am a hands on, make-work diva!”


Paint or wallpaper?: Our family jests that if you sit still long enough, I will paint you. At the same time, my co-workers have given me the nickname Wallpaper Queen because I have it in almost every room of my home. Wallpaper lends a character and sophistication that paint just cannot. Truly, though, I can’t live without either!

My first DIY paint project was…: The cupboards in my apartment kitchen. I knew nothing about paint and the box store I attended asked and offered no information; I ended up painting latex over old, soft varnish. Two years later, I could still peel the paint off with my fingernail and it was still sticky. I will say this though: my best paint lessons have always been through good old-fashioned trial and error.

Biggest design pet peeve: Getting stuck on paint names! Some people really latch onto those names, however it can keep them from trying great colours – like when they want a shade of white but refuse to try anything with “grey” in the title. They don’t realize that paint names are chosen by a sleep-deprived, random algorithm. Please don’t put stock in it!

You’ll find me shopping at: Kijiji and the swap and buy for unique pieces that I know I can personalize.

The best way to add a pop of colour is to…: Keep it small scale. Many people are afraid of colour; I am, too! Hide that colour behind a gallery wall, or a large headboard. Alternatively, paint furniture – an accent TV stand, coffee table, or side board. This way, you still have the timelessness of neutral walls, but can introduce some character and visual drama by playing with the pieces within the room.

Style icon: Candace Olson. I spent some of my impressionable years watching her shows before my own foray into decorating. Her rooms exude comfort, coziness, classiness and richness. I aspire to the same, but on a minimalist budget.

Pro tip for choosing a colour palette: Find inspiration in a painting, a pillow, a bed set, yes, even Pinterest. That should be the starting point. From there, what really makes a room special are the items contained within. Paint should be your final design decision as a way to unite and compliment everything else you fell in love with in the first place.

The Barrydowne Team is excited to share that Shannon and her Husband, Steve, are expecting a new baby girl in February! If you've been wanting to meet with Shannon, now is the time! Visit our Barrydowne Road location to learn more.

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