Thursday, July 11, 2013

Design Matters. Everything Old Is New Again

Whether a client’s space needs a complete revamping or just freshening up, Spokane interior designers and stylists stand ready to lend their expertise. They can masterfully mix traditional and modern elements to create memorable residential and commercial designs. Today’s consumers are more conscious about the environment, and restyling and refurbishing are more popular than ever. Incorporating some elements of current trends adds personality; incorporating retro, vintage or antique elements adds a sense of history and brings depth to the design. Spokane is fortunate to have the following businesses that help keep Spokane spaces beautiful. 

1900 : The Essential Guide 2012
Gestalt Studio likes to integrate vintage pieces into its projects. Owner Debra Howard says that whether it’s a modern loft or rustic retreat, vintage items bring character, warmth and a sense of history to the space. Gestalt Studio, a commercial and residential interior design firm, is housed in a turn-of-the-century warehouse in downtown Spokane. The space is shared with 1900, Howard’s retail store that showcases distinct home furnishing and accessories in a rustically elegant environment. It features a mix of select home accessories and unique furnishings. The timeless style at 1900 often turns their retail customers into design clients. Howard specializes in historic preservation and sustainable design. She recommends integrating salvaged and reclaimed materials into the design whenever possible, whether it’s a remodeling project or new construction. For instance, using reclaimed barn wood to panel a ceiling, as support beams, or milled to use as flooring adds a measure of character and texture. Howard appreciates the contrast of crisp, clean modern against older, weathered character pieces. She suggests looking at old or vintage pieces with a fresh eye to repurpose or reuse them in new, interesting, creative ways. Asked about a particularly memorable project, Howard cites one from early in her career: the Jefferson Auto Lofts in downtown’s historic Davenport District. She worked closely with the architect to create singular, imaginative spaces in eight urban lofts.
The stylish Von Nash, of Von Nash Interiors, reminds us that good design never goes out of date. Her eponymous Coeur d’Alene showroom blends carefully chosen consignment pieces with new furnishings. Nash is convinced that an antique placed in a contemporary setting can be stunning. She has designed hundreds of homes both regionally and in Texas without any of the designs being alike. Nash accomplishes this by taking clients’ existing possessions and weaving them in with other pieces they like in order to create a look that’s
uniquely theirs. Nash recalled an over-the-top project she undertook in Texas. The challenge was that the owners had large collections of items from extensive world travel, and they wanted them displayed throughout their home. Nash was able to display all of their treasured collections, which included 50 Chinese porcelain pillows and 70 Saudi Arabian puppets, without the home appearing cluttered. She feels that function is paramount in any size space. With so many fond design memories, Nash dreams of publishing a book featuring the homes she’s had the privilege of designing and furnishing. 

As its name suggests, Revival Lighting is all about making what’s old new again. Lighting restorations and reproductions are done with skill and attention to detail, and the lighting boutique itself is as original as the merchandise it offers. Customers frequent the downtown Spokane lighting gallery in search of the artistic craftsmanship of vintage lights. Owners John Hahn, Jamie Vaughn and David Farmer revel in mixing artistic styles and designs to meet their customers’ contemporary lighting needs. The owners know that lighting is not just a utilitarian matter; rather, it sets the style and mood of any space. Signature projects include their involvement with restorations of two of Spokane’s grandest, most historic buildings: the Davenport Hotel and the Fox Theater. The careful restorations of these landmarks demanded highly skilled craftsmanship and historical accuracy. The period lighting was carefully chosen to be true to the style and era of these treasured buildings. Additional dream projects this niche business would like include participation in the preservation of historic buildings in Washington, D.C. 


Concept Home : Photo Credit -WHFA
The talented Heather Hanley is the owner and creative director of three home furnishing store distinct personalities. The Tin Roof literally took over Hanley’s family-owned, second-generation appliance store, which was housed in a sustainable building just east of downtown Spokane. This flagship store carries reclaimed and resourced products that add texture and character to the showroom’s carefully selected home furniture lines. Hanley searched hard to find an historic building for the live/work space she envisioned. Then she discovered the former Comet Press building. On the street level is Concept Home, which is filled with retro looks, such as mid-century modern pieces that add a contemporary look to residential and commercial spaces. The modern feel of the furnishings provides a stunning contrast to the reclaimed building, which also displays Hanley’s signature style in seven luxury condos. The third and newest store, reSkued is nestled behind The Tin Roof. It accepts old furniture in trade. Many of those vintage pieces are restyled and given new life in an effort to find them a home. As a designer, Hanley uses heirlooms and antiques to give a reference point and sense of history to her projects. With eight designers of varying backgrounds and styles, and access to the inventory of all three stores, no project is out of reach. The ultimate project for this accomplished designer and businesswoman would be to design and decorate an HGTV Dream Home. Hanley and her businesses are continuously involved with community causes that make a significant difference in the lives of others. 

Robin Hoffman, of Interiors by Robin, Inc., designs spaces that address commercial and residential customers’ needs and desires. At her showroom in the quaint Garland District in North Spokane, she offers everything from space planning to color design, and everything in between. To her, ideal projects are those in which she can plan, design and use her contractor license! Hoffman often uses existing furnishings in novel ways or combines them with newer pieces to enhance and complete a design. She believes small efforts to reuse add up to a bigger impact, but notes that larger items, such as carpets, can be reused as well. Hoffman cites the words of American artist Maya Lin, who is best known as the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“The Wall”): “I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That’s art to me.” Hoffman says that people often become so comfortable with their surroundings that they fail to see other uses or ways to arrange their space. Hoffman’s objective is to present clients with fresh ideas and options for the use of their space and furnishings. 

Lam Le knows that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and his well edited Madison Home showroom reflects this philosophy. The pieces are familiar, but updated to today’s lifestyle and aesthetics. A signature project that Madison Home is particularly proud of is the re-opening of Churchill’s Steakhouse in downtown Spokane. The popular establishment was devastated by fire, and Madison Home designers furnished the rebuilt main dining room and lounge/cigar room. They selected classic pieces that evoke the past in an updated way. Those classic yet modern designs resonate with clients. Madison Home’s fabric and finishes have classic lines, profiles and silhouettes. Le’s dream job is to renovate Vintage and new finds at 1900 53his parent’s lake house: its architecture makes it an intriguing undertaking. He says he also knows how rewarding it would be to do such a meaningful project for them.
PINK : Photo Credit SIP

Celeste Shaw is a longtime collector of farm-style antiques and salvaged goods. Her junking passion is represented in her uniquely and delightfully decorated restaurant Chaps in Latah Valley. Shaw’s barn was bursting with inventory. Friends Lana Neumann, Erica Parish and Chris Lynch were in similar situations. The result was that the four became partners and opened Pink. This one-of-a-kind home d├ęcor store is in the space formerly occupied by Luminaria, a downtown building that is listed on the Spokane Registry of Historic Buildings. Pink is filled with fabulous orphaned and repurposed home furnishing and accessories. The inventory includes traditional and sundry items such as restyled furniture, historic lighting fixtures, vintage signs and the occasional library card catalog curio. Reclaimed and shabby-chic finds that are rich in character, some with unknown histories, mingle with
new items. Frequent visits are recommended since the merchandise is rotated regularly.
Roost : Photo Credit Roost
Roost, in downtown Spokane, is 5,000 feet of recycled, repainted, shabby, distressed, flea market finds combined with a dash of the new. The everchanging inventory includes home accessories, jewelry, clothing, and even old, carefully preserved love letters. Owners Joy Arch and Dena Keiffer are passionate about their “upcycled” boutique. This treasure trove is one of the hippest “thrift stores” in which artists and collectors can display and sell their wares. There are beautifully painted furniture pieces, antiques and vintage items. Roost is the perfect mix of salvage industrial and vintage farm style. Arch and Keiffer are thrilled to rescue soon-to-be-discarded furniture and either refinish it or take it apart to create something new. Since they work on the restorations themselves (and occasionally recruit their husbands to help), they can personally attest to the quality. 


Lillian Conn : Photo Credit - Lillian Conn
Lillian Conn Art & Antiques features home furnishing designs that never go out of style. Every inch of the North Spokane historic home turned showroom is focused on distinctive, one-of-a-kind quality items. The boutique is at once an antique, artifact and an art experience. Co-owner Suzette Nordstrom says that when looking for design materials for clients or the boutique, they gravitate toward superior handmade items that have been around for years. The owners and designers at Lillian Conn think “recycle, reuse and repurpose” daily. The art gallery features fine art and sculptures from notable artists with local ties. On the design side of the business, Nordstrom, an interior decorator, and her talented design team are most proud of a 1910 Coeur d’Alene lakefront home restoration project that they worked on for almost three years. The owners had impeccable taste, and though it was a long project, it was rewarding, and the results were magazine worthy.

Published in The Essential Guide 2012

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