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Natural Awakenings Philadelphia

Practical Sanctuary Spaces that Heal

Jan 06, 2017 02:26PM ● By Jay Workman

Stephanie Lee Jackson is the owner of Practical Sanctuary, an interior design business specializing in custom mural painting and sustainable decorating. She does the designing and states, “We design environments which make you feel the way you want to feel, whether that be inspired, tranquil, energized or grounded. We work with business owners to create spaces that attract their ideal clients and with homeowners to manifest their unique creative vision.”               

Jackson earned art degrees at the University of Texas and the San Francisco Art Institute; shes’s also licensed massage therapist, having trained at the National Holistic Institute. “I was a full-time artist for 20 years; the kind who drags furniture out of dumpsters, starts alternative galleries in sketchy neighborhoods, gets arrested for graffiti and moves to Mexico for the low cost of living,” she explains. “Along the way, I fell in love with alternative healing and paid my bills doing massage therapy.”

She moved to New York City, founding Healing Arts Gallery in Brooklyn and blogging. Moving again to Philadelphia in 2010 due to a weak economy, Jackson says, “I threw myself into building my bodywork practice full-time. Late in 2012, one of my massage clients commissioned me to paint her staircase risers. I said no. She insisted. We had the best time ever talking, listening to music, drinking wine and slowly transforming her stairs into the heart of her house. I realized that this was what I was born to do.”

Jackson has designed private physical therapy gyms, nurseries, home offices, kitchens and an elementary school lobby. “My superpower is knowing how to tailor your space so that you feel exactly how you want to feel; depending on the bones of the space, what you do there, whether you share with clients or family and what design elements evoke your personality,” she notes.

Jackson’s services include color design, room curation, or decorating with an emphasis on sustainability, interior design for home remodeling, interior design for business branding and custom mural design. “I am also happy to discuss custom painting for furniture and fixtures, such as fireplace surrounds. I enjoy working with other interior designers, event planners, small business owners, contractors and developers,” she says.

“Because I got into design via fine art and therapy rather than interior design school, my work tends toward the unconventional and bohemian, with an emphasis on sustainability,” says Jackson. “I approach your design project the way I would hang a group art exhibit—focusing on making your favorite things look great and work for you—rather than imposing a stylistic agenda.”

With Philadelphia seemingly the mural capital of the world, she says, “I'm certainly not the only muralist in town. As far as I know, though, I'm one of the few who create murals as energy, rather than illustration. For example, one of my clients had me design a personal training gym that would make her clients feel both nurtured and inspired. One of her clients later reported that she would focus on the walls for energy during her session without consciously noting the mural design. It had exactly the effect we intended.”

As Jackson sums up her process, “Working with design clients is an extension of my bodywork practice, in a way; I spend a lot of time getting to know you, your temperament, vision and goals before making any design suggestions,” says Jackson. “My clients tend to be creative people with ambitious visions. I put my decades of experience with color, light, movement, texture and form in service to your brilliant ideas. I don't expect you to buy all new furniture.”

Jackson will be teaching an anti-anxiety massage class at MotherHeart Studio, in Fishtown, from2:30 to 4 p.m., January 15.

Practical Sanctuary is located at 2312 N. Hancock St., Philadelphia. For appointments, call 267-702-5594 or email [email protected] Fr more information, visit

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