By Meda Kessler
Photos by Meda Kessler
Helping people to discover their strengths inspired Claudia Beeny and the House of Shine
Finding your best self can help you to make the world a better place. It’s that “point of intersection” that Claudia Beeny, founder and executive director of the nonprofit House of Shine, wants to illuminate.
To that end, the nonprofit in September opened a bricks-and-mortar headquarters, meeting space and “experiential museum” in downtown Grapevine designed to assist people of all ages in recognizing their strengths — all the better to bolster their communities.
Beeny’s background is in higher education, and her resume includes a Ph.D. in higher education administration. For the past 25 years, her focus has been on developing student leaders. Beeny says she found her own power through a blog she started in 2007. She called it Highlowaha. (Say each syllable slowly to understand.)
“My goal was to blog about one creative idea a day, six days a week, without repeating ideas,” says Beeny. Before long, she had quite a following.
The blog grew into the House of Shine website. In addition to developing curriculum for students, kindergarten through high school, Beeny also created workshops and programs to help women and organizations find their “shine,” an acronym for “strengths, hobbies, interests (and irritants), needs and experiences.” Of course, it’s also a word that means “bright light.”
“The world can be a very noisy place. We want to help cut through the clutter and unearth who you are and shine a little brighter,”
Eventually, Beeny realized that the House of Shine needed a home. “With 13 years of content, we wanted a place where we could hold our own classes and create experiences.” In October 2019, she found a building off downtown Grapevine’s bustling Main Street. “It needed work, but I loved the light and the space, inside and out.”
For help, they called in Fort Worth designer Shauna Glenn, who’s known for her imaginative use of bold color in interior projects.
“I love that they were pretty fearless when it came to color,” says Glenn, who also helped select furniture and lighting. “It was just a matter of bringing it all together. I love the results. It’s really a happy place.”
While the corrugated tin exterior remains, yellow doors and black trim add punch and set the stage for what’s inside. It should come as no surprise that House of Shine’s palette is bright and bold. One heavily decorated wall is covered with three-dimensional objects (all yellow); a swing hangs in front of it. On another wall, massive high-density foam letters, painted yellow and backlit, spell out the word “SHINE.” All the custom pieces, including the well-used coffee bar, come from Dream Maker Builds, a small group of craftsmen who also build many of the special-event sets at Grapevine’s Gaylord Texan Resort.
A small room with a sliding-glass door features a brightly painted round table and themed chairs (decorated by local artists) representing inspiring leaders. Its purpose is to promote dialogue.
The main space includes a coffee lounge and seating for lectures and demonstrations. There is also a crafting and kiln room and an expansive outdoor area. While Beeny has had her hands full with the opening and a new website launch, she says finding quiet time is an important part of everyone’s journey to self-discovery.
“I’m basically an introvert. My simple pleasure would be to read a book outside in a place near a creek so I could hear the sounds of water and nature. The discovery of who you are can be contemplative.”