WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN.
WELCOME TO WESTERN HOME JOURNAL’S SHOPTALK.
THE OPEN ROOM
The Open Room offers home furnishings for indoor and outdoor living. A small, independent, family-owned business, their goal is to provide their clients with honest, personal, and friendly service. In their design approach, they strive to create indoor and outdoor rooms that are warm and welcoming, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. Owned by Heather Newhouse, The Open Room represents a limited number of manufacturers that have been carefully selected by their staff for the quality of the design and the value.
What services do you offer?
We sell indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories. Our emphasis leans heavily on the outdoor market.
What geographic area do you serve?
Mostly I work with homeowners in the Wood River Valley, but we have many customers from Boise. We have a website that attracts orders from all over the United Sates and Canada. We can drop ship almost all of our products.
What is your professional background?
My background is varied, and I’ve gained so much in terms of customer service and client interaction. I was a high school English teacher and basketball coach for six years at an independent school in Seattle, GM of a private upland bird hunting club and restaurant for seven years. And now I love working with people to make their homes more comfortable.
When did you buy The Open Room?
I first met Claudia, the former owner of The Open Room, in 2006 and loved the store and what it offered to the community. We reconnected in 2011, and I shadowed her for a few months and decided that this was a good business that fit my background in customer service. I moved forward at that time in purchasing the business from her.
What project(s) are you most excited about right now?
We are excited about our new location in town. Trail Creek, where we were located before the move, was spacious but being in town is bringing in walk-in customers that we never had before. We just finished a facelift on the outdoor portion of our showroom. We worked with Ben Young (BYLA) and his team to create outdoor rooms to showcase our furniture and umbrellas.
Describe your process: How do you work with clients, contractors, designers, and architects?
It starts with a conversation. I ask a lot of questions—what type of space do you have? How do you use the space? Is it mainly for dining or entertaining/lounging? What is your design aesthetic…does it lean more traditional or contemporary? I make on-site visits to my customers’ homes, as well.
“I PREFER TO OFFER QUALITY PRODUCTS THAT MAY COST MORE ON THE FRONT END BUT WILL LAST LONGER ON THE BACK END.” –HEATHER NEWHOUSE, THE OPEN ROOM
What project(s) are you the most proud of?
I worked with Scott and Laura Jordan at Scottevest two summers ago. They have a beautiful penthouse in town. It was definitely a project that evolved over time, but the end result is pretty spectacular.
Do you have favorite products you prefer or are known for?
I prefer to offer quality products that may cost more up front but will last longer on the back end. One of my favorite products currently is outdoor furniture made from recycled milk jugs by Loll Designs.
What word(s) do people use to describe your work?
My clients tell me that I have a friendly, can-do attitude. We live in a small community and I see my customers at the post office and at the grocery store. I want to make sure they have a positive experience with me from the very beginning.
What is the most exciting new product or development in your field?
Outdoor furniture that is maintenance-free. I also love the array of beautiful outdoor fabrics by Sunbrella.
What do you enjoy most about your line of work?
The people! Especially repeat customers. I love it when a customer from four years ago walks in just to say hi and ask how business is!
What do you listen to while you work?
My Sonos wireless speakers are awesome. Depending on the day, I may be listening to classic rock, reggae, or a great mix from Spotify. What’s your recreational passion? This past winter was the first time since I moved here that I bought a full season ski pass. I went up 45 times and loved it! I finally embraced the idea of taking some time for myself during the slow season for the business.
What places in the world do you find most inspirational and why?
Anywhere near a beach. I love me some humid, hot air!
What is sure to make you laugh?
My two boys.
What’s on the top of your list as a great getaway?
I’ve only been to McCall once…during the Beaver Creek fire. I would love to go back and do a little more exploring.
MY SUN VALLEY HOME
My Sun Valley Home (MSVH) is a membership-based, full-service property management company offering a variety of services tailored to meet the needs of homeowners with the highest of standards. Owned by Corey and Amber Black, MSVH specializes in first-class service and taking care of their clients’ homes with the same level of detail that they would their own.
What services do you offer?
My Sun Valley Home is a membership-based, full-service property management company offering a variety of services tailored to meet each of our client’s needs. These services include weekly home inspections, housekeeping, concierge services, transportation logistics, home maintenance, landscaping, and snow removal, MSVH is also available for holiday and after-hours emergencies.
What are the keys to high-end property management?
Our clients have unique needs specific to their homes. Communication and timing are paramount in order to deliver superior service. MSVH has the expertise and established business relationships within the Wood River Valley allowing us to deliver timely personalized service to fit those needs.
How does your firm communicate with clients?
MSVH is available 24/7 by phone, text, email, and any other form of communication necessary to meet the wants and needs of our clients.
What makes the difference between good service and great service?
The difference between good and great service comes from the strength of the relationships you build. For more than a decade, MSVH has been building relationships in the Wood River Valley community. Our clients, new and established, trust MSVH and the network of local professionals we have created to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.
What particular challenges does a property management firm face in the various seasons?
Here in the Wood River Valley, we are blessed to experience each of the four seasons.Each season brings unique challenges; however, MSVH is proactive and able to mitigate these challenges by staying on top of each property’s maintenance needs with judicious scheduling of vendors.
“FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, MSVH HAS BEEN BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN THE WOOD RIVER VALLEY COMMUNITY. OUR CLIENTS, NEW AND ESTABLISHED, TRUST MSVH AND THE NETWORK OF LOCAL PROFESSIONALS WE HAVE CREATED TO MEET THEIR NEEDS AND EXCEED THEIR EXPECTATIONS.”
–COREY & AMBER BLACK, MY SUN VALLEY HOME
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Receiving positive feedback from clients after a visit to the Valley. Knowing all our preparation and stewardship has paid off and made our client’s stay enjoyable.
Do you have a favorite sport or recreational activity, and what do you enjoy about it?
Living in the Wood River Valley provides us easy access to many outdoor adventures. My family and I particularly enjoy camping, hiking, and skiing, which we are fortunate to take part in regularly because of our close proximity to the mountains.
What is sure to make you laugh?
Our kids, seeing them enjoy all the Wood River Valley has to offer.
Favorite season? Why?
Spring is our favorite time of year. We enjoy planting flowers, planting our vegetable garden, and watching the mountains come to life.
What do you enjoy most about living and working where you do?
The wonderful community and all it has to offer from great events such as Ketch’em Alive to being just minutes from amazing biking, hiking, and skiing.
Favorite trip you’ve ever taken?
Our family enjoys traveling to new and exciting locations, but Redfish Lake is our favorite place together. We’ve built many great memories there.
Mark Fisher opened Fisher Appliance in 1993 in order to provide quality products and first-class customer service. Now, 28 years later, Fisher is as excited about providing top-notch appliances and service as he was when he first started out. The difference is, now he’s armed with years of experience in the field.
How did you get started in the appliance business?
I started selling appliances in 1988 and went out on my own 13 years ago. I enjoy working with people and I’ve always been intrigued with architectural design and construction, so it turned out to be a nice niche for me. I’m interested in the process of what it takes to build a house from the mechanical aspect to the finer points of design. We put our clients first, and with that, select appliances that are well-suited to their lifestyle and needs, and products that can be serviced in our valley.
Why did you choose Sun Valley?
Coming from Wisconsin where people are extremely friendly and have a strong work ethic, it was a natural progression to move to the mountains where I’d always dreamed of living. I arrived in Ketchum in 1980 where I live with my wife and children. I love the area for countless reasons—in 1980 it felt like a close-knit community, and to this day I still find it so.
What trends are you seeing in the valley?
We’re noticing an uptick in new housing, and the new hotel developments are transforming our town once again. We’re excited to be involved in these new projects—Limelight Hotel, Thunder Springs Residences, and the Auberge Hotel—the upward trend in development has been a long time coming for all of us in the Valley. We are grateful.
What about trends in design and aesthetics of appliances?
We’re seeing more contemporary pieces. Appliances have gone from a commercial feel to a more refined look with flush fronts and clean lines. There is a lot of stainless steel despite the fact that people thought stainless was going out of style.This shift is reflected in the manufacturing of the popular brands like Subzero, Wolf, Thermador, and Miele—they’re all doing a more architectural and refined look—yet all trying to fulfill the needs of various design aesthetics.
“WE’RE SEEING MORE CONTEMPORARY PIECES. APPLIANCES HAVE GONE FROM A COMMERCIAL FEEL TO A MORE REFINED LOOK WITH FLUSH FRONTS AND CLEAN LINES.” –MARK FISHER, FISHER APPLIANCE
Do you have a favorite appliance brand?
Subzero-Wolf, and Miele both have great product lines. Thermador and Bosch are great as well. These are well-built quality products that fit our customers’ needs. We would like to sell products that are built to last, and we consider that a form of sustainability. With high-end products, customers gain a much longer product lifespan and we consider this to be green for our environment by keeping excess products out of landfills. Reducing the amount of waste we produce through manufacturing and disposal of these products is an important consideration for us.
What about unique appliances that you carry or like to work with? What do you install frequently in the Valley?
Steam ovens are an exceptional product fairly new to the marketplace. It’s a healthier way to cook, helping to retain the nutrients in the food, and it’s versatile—it bakes; it broils; it steams. We’re seeing a lot of people cook exclusively with this.
Induction is fairly popular, too. Cookware is now catching up with the technology and making it easier to prepare food on an induction burner. Quality cookware greatly enhances the performance of the induction products.
If you could install one new appliance in your own house what would it be?
A steam oven—it really is a versatile new appliance.
And what is your favorite part of this job?
Working with architects, designers, builders, and homeowners. We have built great relationships in the Valley, and care about what we do and the people we work with.
We have become friends with a lot of these people. We pass each other in the grocery store and at events—it is a true sense of community. I believe that life is all about relationships, and I look forward to building many more.