The suburbs that line Chicago’s North Shore, from Evanston all the way to Lake Bluff, are among the most beautiful residential areas in the country. And so, it is not surprising that Munder-Skiles chose the town of Winnetka for its first physical showroom in Chicagoland. “This is an up-and-coming design district in the area,” says David Rogers, the company’s General Manager. The intimately-scaled space is filled with Munder-Skiles accessories—from mirrors to their signature tangle-knot bags—along with some forty furniture designs.
Tracy Lorton, founder and owner of T.A. Lorton in Tulsa, describes herself as “just a girl with a truck.” Ever since she established her namesake home décor business in 1988, she’s filled many a truck with many furnishings. Last August, she purchased a 1920s brick building in town and in so doing transformed the scale of her business. “People come in now and are thrilled not only to see the new store,” she says, “but they also comment on what a cool building this and how romantic it feels. “The new space continues to fill with furniture, pottery, accessories, lighting,” and as she adds, “one of my passions, handmade things.”
Just as we are always redecorating our own homes, so, too, has The Iron Gate redone its original and historic Franklin location. According to Anna Richardson, The Iron Gate’s Project Manager for Design, a back wall was knocked out, a change that has resulted in a brand new space to house beds and beddings, an array of art, and other accessories. “Where the front of our store always had a historic feel, with exposed brick, a vaulted ceiling, and skylights, the back portion, too, is now so much brighter and expansive,” says Anna. “Also, we totally restocked the entire store with a fresher look.”
As Daniel Weisbach and Brian Moss, co-owners of Brooks Thomas Studio, explain, Shannon Bowers, MILIEU’s Editor at Large and interior designer, had the idea to form a kind of joint workshop/showroom in a building in Dallas. “We had outgrown our first space and we liked the idea of being in a place that felt like a curated group of design professionals,” says Brian. “And this is just a much more casual place to be, with people coming in and out all day long,” adds Daniel. “There’s a lot of energy here.” The new space allows clients to see all at once the array of British textiles, wallcoverings, home décor, and furniture that Brooks Thomas features.
Carol Piper Rugs has had a strong presence in Dallas (apart from its original flagship showroom in Houston) for several years, but now, with its own freestanding destination in the city, the business promises to have an even more active role in the local design community. “It was time to go out on our own,” explains Sanaa Sahi, Manager of Carol Piper Rugs, “and have a freestanding presence. Where we once had a boutique within a bigger showroom, we now have our own defined place.”
With the March 2021 opening of their new Dallas showroom, Samuel & Sons, the leading source for the finest quality interior trimmings, now has five showrooms—New York, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Dallas. As Michael Cohen, President of Samuel & Sons, has said, “As we looked to create our fifth home, we recognized the growth in the South, not just in population and expansion, but in the passion for design.”
For years, Sharon Skelton and Nelta Culver operated their namesake Houston antiques store, Skelton + Culver, but as of January, they have relocated to far larger quarters. “Our new location is much more open, with everything viewable,” says co-owner Sharon. “We offer a variety of antiques, mostly from England and Continental Europe, as well as some midcentury items and custom pieces, with a specialty in lighting.” While much of Skelton + Culver’s clientele is “to the trade,” everyone is welcome inside.
“Build it and they will come,” says Karen Pulaski, founder/owner of Houston’s Tribute Goods following the expansion of her store. After several years in the same location, Karen decided to grow her business selling artisanal Italian linens by taking over the space next door. After breaking through the wall and renovating, she’s now able to also feature cashmere blankets, throws from Nepal, decorative pillows, Hermes pillows and scarves, and all beddings, including actual beds. “We’ve evolved,” she says, “and people like to hear good news these days. This expansion is good news for us.”
West Palm Beach, Florida
For years, those driving by Casa Gusto in West Palm Beach would see the establishment from the road as yet another concrete warehouse space, though inside there were treasures of all kinds for the home. Pablo Briger, Casa Gusto’s Creative Director, had the idea to transform the exterior with, as he describes it, “shutters upon shutters upon shutters.” Now, the façade is festooned with sage-colored shutters, creating, as Pablo says, “a Louise Nevelson effect,” referencing the sculptor known for her layerings of materials. “As much as we loved the Shangri La aspect of a person entering a whole new world, we had to make it easier for people to see us from the road,” says Pablo.