Walking through the doors of Retropolitan is a little like taking a deep breath of fresh air. The urban industrial setting of this store serves as the perfect backdrop to the multitude of colors, textures and other visual palates that meet your eyes. Combine a little Hollywood glamour with contemporary coolness and top it off with some Retro funk. This will get you pretty close to defining the essence of Retropolitan. Behind the scenes of this eclectic gem is Amy Heimermann. Bubbly, warm and genuine, Amy chatted with us, answered our questions and gave us better insight into her design technique, her style and her concept behind Retropolitan.
Tell us a bit about yourself, how you got into the business you are currently in, and how long you have been in this business.
I’m an Atlanta girl. I love the big city…lights, sirens, traffic and all. I love the interplay of historic structures and modern architecture you find in the city. I love the way the city collects and mingles people of all experiences and styles. I love the aesthetic created by all that convergence. It’s interesting, exciting and inspiring. That said, it makes sense that I would be drawn to interior design that incorporates a healthy mix of styles and time periods. Thus, the notion of Retropolitan.
Retropolitan came along in 2005 alongside a design project I was working on at the time. I had been hired to furnish a recording studio in Franklin, TN. My vision was to create an art deco lounge with a modern feel. Sounded simple enough to me, but I kept coming up empty in gathering the right elements for the job. So I hit the road myself in search of the perfect furnishings that were at the same time vintage and modern…and Retropolitan was born.
After more than three years in an antique mall setting, the opportunity came to open a retail space for Retropolitan, which had become a bold hybrid of vintage/modern furnishings and residential design services. The retail space launched in 2009, and what an adventure it has been!
Explain the concept of your store.
Retropolitan’s concept is three-fold:
Retropolitan offers a vibrant mix of vintage and modern furnishings and accessories. We celebrate the mix and the interplay of a variety of styles. As opposed to an order-only showroom, the Retropolitan floor is constantly moving and changing as pieces are sold and new ones mixed in. Even our floor models are available for sale. We just love seeing customers head out the door with a piece they love, instead of having to wait weeks and weeks for it to arrive by special order. However, with piles and piles of catalogs, fabric swatches and samples, a special order is often the right move for a customer or client, and we’re happy to handle that as well. In fact, our design projects often require quite a few special ordered products to put the look together, so we have a healthy stack of resources to accomplish just that.
Local art is a passion at Retropolitan as well. Our walls are decked out with an array of hand-picked original pieces by local artists. I love being surrounded by original art. It’s one of those celebrated ways to create a space that’s personal and unique. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to incorporate an original piece of art that truly says something about you.
The offering of styling and design services rounds out the Retropolitan concept. We offer a range of services from in-home consultations to decorating services to full scale design. Our approach to all of those services is from the perspective of a stylist. We love creating spaces that are personal and reflect the personality and passions of the home owner. We’re inquisitive and interested. We love working together with clients and customers to create decor that is truly their own.
Define your signature style.
I love impact pieces, dripping with personality and attitude (it’s usually the antique or vintage ones that grab my eye!). Mixing well-chosen pieces like that into a setting that’s at the same time, modern and warm…that would be my signature style. I love the mix of old and new. The collected look. The look that tells my story.
It’s my feeling that pulling together that collected, story-driven look is the specific job and talent of a stylist (which is what my name tag would say, if you made me wear one!). Stylists ask the right questions and pick up on the right cues to facilitate the telling of a client’s story. That’s the good stuff in the world of design, in my opinion. As a stylist, few things are as rewarding as hearing a client say “This is so me!” at the end of a project. Nice. Mission accomplished!
What other services do you provide?
* Rental of furnishings, accessories and art for photo, video and film projects
* Event styling and rentals for small events and intimate gatherings
* A collection of artists and craftsmen for custom furniture and commissioned art pieces
* Two day approval policy that allows customers to take pieces home and see them in their space before purchasing
* Store inventory on our Facebook page so customers can essentially shop from home
Highlight a few favorite pieces you’ve had in the store:
* Jellyfish Pendant – Gorgeous, Chihuly-esque glass pendant. My very favorite!
* Martini Sofa – Vintage white silk curved sectional sofa. Lots of “ooooo’s and ahhhh’s” on that one!
* Antique Bombay armoire paired with black and white leather modern seating. Lovely!
* Chainmail Pendant – Sleek and sexy, with plenty of attitude!
* As much original art as we can stand. These pieces are the work of Nashville local, Scott Moore.
* Stunning curved metal console. Wish I’d had a hundred of them!
* Our “Kiss Me” Valentine window display. Vintage white corduroy sofa paired with a punchy art piece and dramatic lighting. Classic Retropolitan!
* A recent design project we called Festive Holiday Modern. Shot at Christmas time in a swanky Nashville highrise called The Icon.
With the most recent news of reconstruction in your area, what is the future of your business?
Well, it’s an opportunity, I think. We could focus on the challenges, the negatives and the fact that our lovely Hillsboro Village will lose some of its charm and historical beauty. But instead we’re choosing to look ahead and focus on the possibilities. People near and far have responded with excitement to the Retropoltian concept and aesthetic. We’re just getting started! We are aggressively looking at retail spaces. However, we realize that a move may require our business plan to up and change altogether. So…stay tuned. Keep up with us at facebook.com/retropolitanstyle. We’ll let you know where we land and what we’re up to in our continuing vintage and modern adventure!
Thank you Amy! We wish your store continued success!