Michelle Dirkse’s interior design firm was set to become the victim of a familiar bogeyman in Seattle – redevelopment. The Belltown building which housed her 3.5-year-old business was getting a facelift, but Belltown’s loss is Capitol Hill’s gain, as she moves into new offices on E Pine.
“Now, we have a bigger, better space in a great neighborhood,” Dirkse said.
Dirkse said walking to work is a priority for her, so she’s actually moved house from Belltown to Capitol Hill, as well. Both she and the business changed locations at the same time in mid-June.
The new location affords Dirkse space for the dual focus of her business. Dirkse and the three others who work there are a traditional interior design firm with both residential and commercial clients. While the designers are always looking for just the right piece, she said the firm prides itself on being able to help actually design pieces of furniture for a space, rather than buying them from retailers.
“We’re not just shopping, we’re designing,” she said.
She said their work can run the range of services up to a full remodel, although the bigger projects often require the help of an engineer and contractor.
“People don’t really know that interior designers do more than just décor,” she said.
She’s trying to keep their style eclectic. She notes that many design firms develop a signature look for which they become known. While she expects her firm’s imprint appears on all of its work, she wants to keep expanding to new designs for each client. She gave an example of one client who wanted their house to looks like a haunted mansion, while another went with a more traditional look that could have felt at home in a West Elm catalog.
“All of our projects get to be so different. It feels more genuine,” she said. “I can’t do the same thing for everyone.”
Beyond the design aspect is the second part of her business, a boutique pillow store along with a few select pieces of furniture.
The pillows are her own design. Though she purchases the fabric (hand-selected from “everywhere”), she then works with those fabrics to come up with her own creations. The pillows are then hand made in Seattle, she said. The pillows are between $90 and $275, with most at $225, she said.
The store also has tables made by Urban Hardwoods, which specializes in making furniture from reclaimed wood.
Dirkse’s business opening coincides with a general shuffle on that block of Pine between 13th and 14th Avenues.
Dirkse’s space had most recently been occupied by FlyBuy, a company which developed an app to help people turn stores into drive-ups. FlyBuy is still around, currently virtual and hunting for new space as they expand their staffing.
Salon Moxi, which has been on the block for nine years, has moved two doors down to what had formerly been occupied by Thomas Street Software, and earlier by arts organization The Project Room. Eyeglass retailer Eye Eye will expand into Moxi’s current space. Will Pentecost of Eye Eye expects the expanded space to be open in early 2017.
Michelle Dirkse Interior Design is located at 1321 E Pine. The pillow boutique is open Wednesday and Thursday from 1-5:30 PM. and Friday and Saturday from noon – 6 PM or by chance, if someone happen to be in the shop at other hours.