Cloth & Kind's Cross-Country Partnership
Textiles and designer furnishings at Arbor Hills Crossing
From the June, 2018 issue
It's not uncommon these days to hear of an online meet-cute through Tinder or eHarmony, but Cloth & Kind owners and friends Tami Ramsay and Krista Nye Nicholas met on the style inspiration website Pinterest. "We happened to have a mutual Pinterest friend, who 'pinned' something," Ramsay explains. "Krista commented on it; it happened to be an image that I had posted originally. Long story short, through all that weird alchemy we came together to meet."
Their store, which opened in May, filled one of the remaining vacancies in Arbor Hills Crossing at Washtenaw and Platt. As Ramsay and Nicholas describe it, they are "full-service interior designers ... and textile lovers." Says Nicholas: "We had this little idea to be like a showroom for interior designers, to buy the textile lines that we love ... and represent them here."
The store walls are lined with a few open "room vignettes," showing off a selection of textiles like rugs, curtains, and wallpaper, as well as furniture that the designers can order with the customer's upholstery of choice. Textiles range from actual vintage, to vintage-looking, to modern and sleek. Floral, striped, and plain color samples all line the store's "wall of fabric."
"They can be used in all applications honestly," says Ramsay. "Certain fabric weights are probably better for upholstery, and we generally guide clients in that direction. We're not gonna put a piece of sheer fabric on a chair, but all of these have multiple applications between upholstery as well as window treatments, pillows, various sundries like that."
A large table at the entryway is filled with odds and ends that the partners call "one-of-a-kind from Cloth & Kind." Little statuettes and decorative knickknacks they have picked up everywhere from resale stores to Moroccan markets are displayed.
Further back is a selection of designer lighting options from Texas supplier Visual Comfort and the wall of textile samples, neatly hung by hooks and sectioned by designer. "A lot of the artisans are
our friends now," says Nicholas, "so we wanted an opportunity to sing their praises." In the far back is the Cloth & Kind design studio, curtained off for private consultations.
Though Nicholas lives in Ann Arbor and Ramsay lives in Athens, Georgia, the two friends have worked together cross-country as interior designers since 2013, with an office in each town. "We always dreamed of having a little shop," says Nicholas. She describes their initial vision as a small showroom and boutique.
"It quickly spiraled into this much larger scenario," she says. Visual Comfort "asked us if we wanted to be a gallery partner, which meant you couldn't have a cute small little boutique shop. We had to have tall ceilings."
They ultimately chose Ann Arbor over Athens for the store because they saw more need here for what they had to offer. Athens is close to Atlanta, which according to Nicholas has "everything you'd ever ever want in the world of interior design." That's not the case in Ann Arbor or Detroit: "A lot of lines that we're carrying are just not represented here."
The shop is meant to be useful for both walk-in customers and professional designers, but both owners say the trade discount they offer on textiles and furnishings means it's almost always more economical for any interested customer to go through a licensed and registered designer.
Still, they say, they've designed the store so that someone can walk in and find something at any price point they choose.
Cloth & Kind, 3010 Washtenaw (Arbor Hills Crossing). (734) 800-4996. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-6p.m. clothandkind.com
This article has been edited since it was published in the June 2018 Ann Arbor Observer. The phone number has been corrected and the hours of operation have been updated.
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