Whenever I have designer friends come to town, or new designers move to the area, they often ask me about the best places to shop and source for their clients. Of course I give them a huge list of my favorites, and always among those is the Seattle Design Center. Yes, we have a Design Center!
With over 20 showrooms, it's always an incredible source for me when pulling ideas for clients, but what most people don't realize is that SDC is also open to the public! Of course, many showrooms will only sell directly to the trade, which is why it's ideal to be working with an interior designer, but that shouldn't stop you from browsing. Although, with this many choices, it can be overwhelming. Just look at all these fabrics in Kravet alone!
When I go, I typically set aside a whole day for looking not only for clients but for myself as well so that I have time to see everything new.
In 2014, the design center was purchased by a new investment group and was given a much needed facelift. As you can imagine, designers like to be inspired while they're shopping, and this 70's style building wasn't cutting it!
The new ownership revitalized the space, rebranded, and has since worked hard to engage the design community through ongoing events. They've brought in new showrooms and elevated the overall experience. But, for many 'outsiders' there is still one piece missing. This space feels incredibly intimidating!
You see, for years SDC felt like a fabric fortress. Credentials were asked for at the door. It wasn't exactly welcoming to the public and was intimidating to newcomers in the industry. I remember the first time I walked in there as an apprentice to a local designer, I had no idea what I was doing and felt completely out of place.
The new design of the space has totally eliminated that, but there's still this bit of mystery that keeps people away. And this is where we come in!
For 2018, I'll be serving as a brand ambassador for the Seattle Design Center. The goal? To talk about trends and sources, give you a peek inside the space, and throw a big party of course! And we're starting right now with a few more peeks at what's inside and how to shop it:
One of the first showrooms you'll see when you walk in the main doors of the SDC is Jennifer West. Her pieces are stunning and I always feel like I'm in some curated home in Napa when I walk through those doors! Also, the fiddle figs are all real and that is impressive. It's a lovely space to browse for furniture and fabrics alike.
Now, because our design center is a bit smaller than some, not every showroom is a single brand. For example, Kravet has their own showroom, which I showed you above, but if you're looking for Schumacher fabric, you'll find it in the Dixon Group showroom. It helps to do a little homework ahead of time by checking out the SDC website, clicking into showrooms, and then checking out the list of product lines under each showroom.
One of my favorite showrooms to visit for furniture is Baker, of course, but even they carry lines outside of their own. I actually hadn't been in there recently and just about fell over when I laid eyes on this chair from McGuire!
Isn't she a sassy one? There's tons of inspiration to be had here, and it's so nice to be able to touch, feel and sit in everything on the floor before you buy it or pitch it to a client!
Another showroom I like is Kelly Forslund who carries one of my faaaaaavorite fabric lines. Do you recognize it?
That's one gorgeous display of the Zak + Fox textile line! And that's one of the things about the design center that I love. You cannot find this stuff anywhere else except here (in Seattle, that is). And the reason I like that is because, as a designer and a consumer I really want my furnishings to feel more unique, and this is where I go to find those pieces.
Last but not least on our little tour is the newest showroom addition, and it's one I'm personally pretty excited about. The German Kitchen Center featuring Leicht and other brands just opened last month!
I don't feel like we have a ton of sources for more modern kitchen cabinetry in Seattle that are as well build-out as this and I loved seeing this new showroom. All the ladies there were so friendly and helpful! If you're considering a kitchen remodel, now you know where to go!
And here's a peek of what the main atrium looks like inside. Did I mention that you can rent this out for events? Yup. In fact, there was an event that happened the day before we were there which is why it's all cleared out here. The new remodel did such an amazing job of getting more natural light into this space, making it a really lovely area to work in after you've spent a few hours looking at fabrics!
I'm so excited to share more of this partnership with you throughout the year, and I'd love to use it as a way to answer questions about any and all things design. Do you have questions about working with interior designers, becoming a designer, or how shopping showrooms works? Leave your questions in the comments and keep you eyes open for some more fun events here in the future!