Anyone looking to update their space need look no further than the two giant Great Danes flanking the entrance to Habitation Furnishing + Design. The two guard dog sculptures welcome onlookers and lure you into the storefront “as a gateway drug,” Habitation’s Environment Director Michelle Havens jokes.
All jokes aside, the dogs are only a glimmer of the treasures awaiting design hopefuls inside. As the environment director, Havens works to ensure that everyone who enters Habitation’s doors feels as if they are beginning a new adventure. From the warm welcome, to the visual excitement, to the educational aspect of products, Havens and the rest of the team have you covered.
The name of the showroom and design company is certainly not a misnomer. If you were to look up “habitation” in the dictionary, you would find “the state or process of living in a particular place, (formal) a place in which to live.” Havens and the rest of the team work with you to turn your house into a home.
Habitation offers a mid-century modern vibe with a dash of organic contemporary, industrial chic, and glam thrown in. “It’s all about creating a showroom that is exciting and fresh, yet approachable and realistic in terms of livability,” Havens says. “We feel comfortable placing a mid-century sofa next to a steel and stone side table. Or taking something as timeless as a Chesterfield frame and pairing it with a modern glass coffee table and shaggy white rug. This is how people live today. They collect items for their home over a lifetime, items that they love, and the end result is an interesting home with an eclectic style truly all their own.”
With the variety of furniture styles and options available, Habitation focuses on quality and design; after all, trends are passing while style endures. “That’s really how you pull off a blended look,” Havens says. “You evaluate individual pieces in the context of the moment and bring them together. As long as you understand certain interior design principles, the result is eclectically cool.”
Of course, in this day and age, Habitation doesn’t just operate as a showroom for design inspiration. Havens says they are catering to a generation that isn’t just tech savvy; they live and breathe technology. Habitation is a new generation of retailer, embracing the shoppers who research products online at home for hours before making a purchase.
“We provide tablets to customers who can use them to scan QR codes on price tags to access third party reviews and compare prices with online retailers,” Havens says, noting that Habitation matches most online prices. “The tablets connect wirelessly to 65-inch monitors so the customers and designers can ‘cast’ products to the screens without having to huddle over some paper design catalog.”
Habitation is even working with local apartment and condominium buildings to index their floor plans by unit so that residents can see immediately whether a particular piece will fit in their home. Not to mention there’s a projector screen that can show special-order items in actual size.
With all of these options to view furniture and designs in your space, how do you decide which pieces are for you? According to Havens, it’s all about what speaks to you. “Make a space your own,” she says. “We’re here to help you bring it all together if you’d like, but when you look around your space, it should be filled with pieces that bring you joy. Ignore the constraints of classification and make your own statement.”
Habitation’s founder and chief curator, Greg Rich, selected vendors based on their style, quality, uniqueness, and value. From there, the Habitation team worked with the vendors to pick pieces that represented what they’re all about. Then, the team considered what would work in the Minnesota market. “Because of our unique vendors and styles, there was a delicate balance between blending styles, textures, scale, and drama,” Havens says. “And based on this, we were eventually able to define and build our unique showroom.”
A rare aspect of the partnership Habitation has with its vendors is the transparency in pricing. While many retailers go to great lengths to try and hide their supplier identities (either to keep competitors from stealing brands or, more often, to try and keep consumers from comparison shopping), Habitation rejects that completely.
“All of our furniture suppliers are named on the tags, their model numbers are cited, and the price is clearly marked,” Havens says. “We want our customers to leave knowing they got great service and paid the best price possible (we do match most internet prices).”
Habitation is not only a retail showroom, but also a home staging business. With over 15,000 square feet of warehouse space with product immediately available, Karl Peltier, Habitation’s staging director, can make sure to provide you with the most effective styles to ensure your home sells quickly and easily. Whether you are interested in a complete staging, a photo styling session or simply renting product, Habitation offers a variety of solutions to meet your staging needs.
Ultimately, Havens says, life should be fun. Furniture should make you feel good. “At Habitation, we love to get to know our clients on a personal level, allowing us to truly understand what their needs might be for their home,” she says. “We value the experience you have when you walk in our door, and we do our best to create an inviting place you feel comfortable being a part of. Whether you want a ‘tour’ through the shop, or you would like a walk-through on your own, we are here every step of the way.”
Fresh Fall Design Trends
Of course, when it comes to design advice, Havens and her team have that in spades. Up to date on all of the trends, the staff at Habitation is able to advise you on how to make the classic and the trendy fit into your decor scheme. Here, Havens offers four design trends for fall and how to best incorporate them into your space.
What’s happening on walls?
Wallpaper is making a huge comeback! But before you start groaning about all of the hassle that comes with it, the best possible solution is Tempaper. Tempaper is a temporary self-adhesive wallpaper allowing you to actually embrace this upcoming trend with a vengeance! Whether your style is traditional, modern, or glam, Tempaper will make a bold statement in any room, on any wall or mantle. And when you are ready to change your look, simply peel off like a sticky note. No scraping, chemicals, or heat needed.
Spectacular Small Spaces
Maximizing your space is not only one of the most on-trend things of the season, it is an ongoing way-of-life for a lot of people. Utilizing the extra room in the house with a dual function, such as an office-turned-guest room, can often lead to visual disappointment as well as a non-functioning space. The Cabinetbed is the most cutting-edge use of space: not only is it an attractive piece consuming a small footprint of your home, it is an incredibly functional and highly comfortable TempurPedic bed for your guests.
Pretty in Pink
Pink is still all the rage this fall. Combined with a little glam, you have a hot combination of fabulously pretty. If you love the idea but you can’t make the commitment, bring in the color subtly, with art, and pull out the punches of color in a bolder way, through accessories. Leave your core pieces of furniture neutral and, when you are ready for the next color trend or style, simply swap out accessories.
Statement Dining Tables
Go bold this season with stunning dining room table designs. Nothing makes your house feel like a home more than a dinner party with friends, family, and good wine. “Finding a dining table that you love and yet represents your style can sometimes be a challenge, but at Habitation, we are happy to come to your home and help you make the best decision for your space and lifestyle,“ says David Borgula, director of interior design.
Habitation Furnishing + Design
4317 Excelsior Blvd, St. Louis Park