Decor store in Strip District mixes, matches eclectic pieces
A Strip District store is in the business of showing shoppers how home decor can be an art.
Since 1992, Artistry owner Laura Kirich has provided clients with handcrafted furniture and interior decor in a collection that defines eclectic.
“I like to say I have champagne taste and a beer budget,” says Kirich, of Canonsburg. “I like looking at things that are different. I value the expertise of the artist.”
Kirich walked away from a career in the corporate world to pursue her passion of helping people surround themselves with beautiful things. She started her business in Pleasant Hills specializing in Southwestern-inspired decor before moving to her distinct Strip District space.
The pre-Civil War building on Smallman Street provides the perfect backdrop for the diverse merchandise.
“I looked all over the city for space,” Kirich says. “I love the Strip District. I used to always come down here. It didn’t look like this when I bought it. It had a coat of white over everything — the floors, the walls, all the beams. I spent a month just pressure-washing. It’s just a wonderful building. I just love it. It has an elegance to it.”
The building, built in 1860, is a former stable with wide rustic beams and exposed brick walls. Filling them are carefully designed displays showcasing the goods in living room, bedroom and dining room scenes, each utterly different from the next, yet similar in the degree of detail.
Conformity is not the point of decor, Kirich says, pointing out a table made of teak reclaimed from houses and boats in India. Hints of bright paint remain on the wood, otherwise intended for burning but salvaged to create a one-of-a-kind treasure. Another table is made of an old mesquite shutter with an oxen yoke as a base.
“You have the colors, the history,” Kirich says. “It’s life. You can see how many colors it’s been painted.”
Displays show shoppers how modern elements can work effortlessly with more rustic pieces. One shows a sleek zinc-top console table positioned under a wooden whitewashed architectural mirror. The key is knowing why pieces work together, she says, even if they don’t necessarily “match.”
“You can’t just jumble everything together,” Kirich says. “There has to be a reason to it. If you have a favorite piece, whether it’s an heirloom or just something you love, you can work it in. It’s just a matter of maybe moving things around. Placement has a lot to do with it, as well as color.”
The shop employs an architectural interior designer to help create truly personal pieces of furniture.
Artistry client James Sheridan has relied on the store for 12 years to furnish his home in the South Side Lofts. He started buying smaller works of art and eventually incorporated pieces from the store into each room of his home.
He worked with the Artistry designer to create a look he calls “fairly traditional” with modern accents, including three diverse, colorful rugs that separate his dining room, living room and bedroom.
“I never would have picked them for myself,” Sheridan says, adding the expertise of Artistry staff has helped him hone a look all his own. “They are very open, too. If I don’t like something, that is fine by them.”
Several of Sheridan’s pieces show the signature character of Artistry offerings, such as the round copper coffee table accented with hammered markings or the three-paneled metal screen partitioning off two rooms.
“It’s different and unusual, but it’s good quality and the price is fair,” he says. “They are able to create something the customer likes that you won’t see anywhere else.”
Artistry, 2613 Smallman St., Strip District, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. The store is featuring a 10 percent discount through the end of September. Details: 412-765-2522 or www.ArtistryAtHome.com
Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.