design to share stories
An old-fashioned storefront at North Pearl and 51st Streets in Tacoma, with the name Wren and Willow above the door, inspires curiosity. Business partners Laureen Skrivan and Cliff Kendall like that. They hope people will come in off the street to visit the 1917 building they bought, restored and decorated in period style to combine their award-winning remodeling, design and restoration business with retail space. The 18-month project required gutting the inside and starting from scratch. The project went on to win the remodeling industry’s prestigious Chrysalis and REX Awards for 2013, among others.
“I wanted to do something very different,” Skrivan said. “I really wanted people to step back in time.”
The front holds a gallery featuring a tiled fireplace and retail space with antiques and décor items. A glass display case—paying homage to the building’s original candy store—still offers penny candy for sale. High ceilings recall an earlier time. The owners loved working with Gray Lumber and in addition to new wood, incorporated architectural salvage including reclaimed floors from a century-old knitting mill in Olympia.
“You just can’t reproduce the look and the smell of something old,” Skrivan said. “It’s patina, 100 years of wear and tear.” A central hall runs front to back with rooms on both sides, including an early 19th-century kitchen. Even the restrooms serve as examples of interior design.
Skrivan loves the neighborhood and hosts Ruston-Point Defiance Business District meetings. “If we can inspire people to bring their local business into this community it benefits everyone,” she said.
Currently serving as vice president of the Master Builders Association of Pierce County, Skrivan will become the organization’s first female president, in 2014.
She believes people’s homes say a great deal about their lives and personalities, and she tells clients, “We want to help you tell your story.”
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5104 N Pearl St, Tacoma