Barb Blair has mastered second acts. The author, furniture designer, and owner of Knack Studio built her business by finding and reinvigorating time-worn furniture. For 2016, she brought that expertise to bear on 580 Perry Avenue, turning an abandoned storefront in the Village of West Greenville into her new showroom and studio, its opening coinciding with the release of her second book Furniture Makes the Room.
After moving from her former location on Lois Avenue, Blair took the opportunity to design the perfect space to showcase her work. “It’s always really important to me to have good natural light, so that’s why I designed the front the way I did,” she says. Sunlight pours through floor-to-ceiling windows, bathing the showroom’s natural hardwood floors and white- painted brick walls in soft, clean light. A wall—itself adorned with a mural of a Pacific Northwest forest painted by artist Annie Koelle—separates the showroom from a back workshop, which overlooks Lois Avenue.
Living Color // Author and furniture designer Barb Blair incorporates bohemian pieces into her new, modern showroom on Perry Avenue.
Blair’s own handiwork is neatly arranged along the side walls, modern bombshells that are barely recognizable as the staid classic pieces they once were. There are between eight and ten pieces on the showroom floor at a time—a byproduct of Blair’s intention to produce cohesive collections instead of a stream of furniture. Meanwhile, open shelving—stocked with creative home goods and gifts— fills the spaces between Blair’s signature work.
“I love incorporating the shop’s modernity with the more eclectic, more bohemian nature of the furniture,” she says. “Not everything I do is super colorful, but a lot of times, I do have a lot of color going on, so it’s nice to have a really neutral surface for everything to pop on.”