A TOUR OF THE NEWEST SHOWROOMS IN TOWN
by Cassidy Mantor
“A touch is worth a thousand words.”
The touch. The feel. There’s a reason that Cotton, Inc. created a branded jingle to those lyrics. Interior design is nothing without touch and feel. Although pieces have been sourced from overseas for decades, there is no substitute for experiencing furnishings and appliances in person. Sitting on the sofa. Resting on a pillow. Setting a timer on an oven. They’re the things we live with and to feel good about an investment, we have to do the hands-on research.
A showroom is also a physical expression of a brand and a place to get a better understanding of who you’ll be working with as your design partner. Join WHJ as we take a deeper look into three showrooms in town. Two established businesses have rebranded and are using their showrooms as their new debuts, and a third is the extension of an architecture business. In the following pages, tour three high-end showrooms that prove why Ketchum is a uniquely reliable destination for curated design:
A space designed by Carmen Finegan, AIA, devoted to the colorful indoor / outdoor designs of Italian furniture line Paola Lenti
The new beautifully bright & forever-fresh location
A total demolition & rebuild of a high-end experiential kitchen showroom
Paola Lenti Showroom Opens in Ketchum
Brilliant colors. Timeless design. Playfulness balanced with modern sophistication. The Paola Lenti line of indoor and outdoor furniture, recognized worldwide for its rich, resilient textiles, thoughtful sustainability, and European style, is coming this summer to Ketchum, Idaho’s Exquisitorium.
“The furniture works to create a comprehensive environment…It’s like a creative mix-and-match that can extend from indoors to outdoors.”
–Carmen Finegan. The Exquisitorium
The Italian line was founded in 1994 by sisters Paola and Anna Lenti. Spun from the thread the Lentis first used for their outdoor rugs, the line has grown to include indoor furnishings in addition to their extensive collection of weather-resilient outdoor furniture.
Throughout the years, Paola Lenti has continued to use only non-toxic, environmentally conscious materials. Every piece is artisanally made, of high quality, and built to be loved and used for generations. The company designs and manufactures its innovative line without outsourcing to India or Asia, preferring to keep all materials of Italian origins.
While on a buying trip to Milan, Ketchum- based architect Carmen Finegan discovered Paola Lenti. For Finegan, Paola Lenti was the missing puzzle piece. “You can feel when that one perfect piece brings a space together and becomes the keystone object to create your vision,” says Finegan. “For many of the world’s top designers, that keystone piece is from a Paola Lenti collection.”
The high quality, clean lines, and creative palette of Paola Lenti’s furniture resonated with the architect’s design aesthetic. Finegan could see how it would complement the houses and offices she designs throughout the Sun Valley region. “The furniture works to create a comprehensive environment,” says Finegan. “Rugs, sofas, armchairs, and chaises longues can be combined with tables, bookcases, and movable backdrops. It’s like a creative mix-and-match that can extend from indoors to outdoors.”
Finegan created The Exquisitorium based on the idea that Paola Lenti should be more readily available to all architects, designers, and homeowners in the Mountain West. Scheduled to open in July, the showroom space is open and expansive, and is perfect for displaying the sculptural shapes, sumptuous fabrics, and elevated style of Paolo Lenti.
With respect to opening The Exquisitorium now, Finegan feels that the timing is right. While a predominately grey or beige “mountain modern” aesthetic was once the go-to, homeowners and designers are now looking to branch out. Paola Lenti offers a way to do this. One of Finegan’s favorite collections from Paola Lenti is the Eres line. “The all-natural fabrics and yarns and fresh colors bring light to a home,” she says. “I completely identify with this brand. It transcends time.”
In addition to Paola Lenti pieces, The Exquisitorium will also house Finegan’s architectural office, a place where visitors are also welcome. “Come in and see, touch, and experience the furniture that’s changing the design world,” she says, adding, “of course, if you need to design and build a home or office around your
favorite Paola Lenti piece, I’m available.”
“Come in and see, touch, and experience the furniture that’s changing the design world, of course, if you need to design and build a home or office around your favorite Paola Lenti piece, I’m available.”
Topnotch Fine Furnishings:
A Burst of Energy in a New Space
It took four days and six people to move Topnotch’s entire 10,000-square-foot showroom/design center into their permanent location at 680 Sun Valley Road in downtown Ketchum. The new space is just located across the parking lot from the old showroom, but encompasses a bright and cheerful fresh energy for the brand. The new showroom embodies the evolution of Topnotch’s identity as owners Arianne Heyser and her husband Josh lead it into its 47th year of business.
The decision to purchase a building came naturally, according to Arianne. They considered multiple commercial properties that met their square footage requirement as Sun Valley’s largest interior design showroom, but ultimately, felt strongly that they needed to remain on Sun Valley Road. Topnotch’s Sun Valley Road location was like a home, and with traditions like hosting gatherings from gallery walks to serving hot dogs, watermelon, and live music during Wagon Days, it was imperative to stay in the same area. When the opportunity came to purchase the lower commercial level of Les Saisons, the Heysers knew this was the perfect location for Topnotch.
“It’s like how you feel about your forever home,” Arianne says. “We control our own destiny and the legacy of our local business.” In their previous location, Topnotch had 10,000 square feet but it was split between three levels. She says, “It felt like a maze.” Now, Topnotch is all on one floor, making it easier to navigate physically and visually. The new showroom is open with great natural light including a centrally located design center welcoming people to peruse fabrics and materials.
Topnotch purchased the property in April and began remodeling the new interior space immediately. The space was originally separate businesses, so one of the first tasks was to knock the walls down and make it one open space. By updating all the lighting, floors, and finishes, the showroom now flows as one light and fresh experience. Thankfully, the building’s exterior architectural details were quintessential Sun Valley style, perfect for Topnotch.
“This move allowed us to embrace a transformation that felt good and set Topnotch up to enter a new era.”
–Arianne Heyser, Topnotch Fine Furnishings
Arianne designs with respect for the space and a desire to celebrate each client’s identity. Topnotch has been in business for 47 years, and the business resided in the old space for 35 of those years. “This move allowed us to embrace a transformation that felt good and set Topnotch up to enter a new era,” Arianne shares. “During the move, we found many treasures. The original signage, letterheads, and even an old ship ladder. We were happy to pass these items on to the family of the previous owners. When you move, you get to reorganize and purge.”
“We love being part of the community and providing a design center/furniture showroom that is inspirational,” Arianne adds. The environment is a productive space for the trade to bring their clients and review samples together. The Topnotch team welcomes people to visit and get ideas for their homes. The new space is the next level, akin to a delightful surprise that one would expect in a larger city. It’s open and easy to navigate, touch and feel things. “We love watching clients get excited about design and the new space,” Arianne says. “Although our staff is always available to assist, this showroom gives customers more freedom to be creative and explore.”
“We love being part of the community and providing a design center/furniture showroom that is inspirational.”
–Arianne Heyser, Topnotch Fine Furnishings
Interior design involves curating one’s unique experience and expressing a space that feels good, and this new showroom encapsulates the evolution of Topnotch through Arianne and Josh. “We’re overjoyed with the opportunity and so excited about how the business has evolved,” Arianne says. In 2006, she was working as a designer for the previous owners and was fortunate to have purchased the business in 2014. She gratefully says, “People loved and knew the business, but this showroom has given us the opportunity to transform a well-respected business into a new era and identity for us.”
Good flow is key in interior design, and Topnotch’s new showroom is evidence of how well Arianne harnesses that intangible quality in her work. The vignettes in the main showroom flow into a separate area for beds and bedding in an adjacent space. The team designed art racks to hang fine art since they lost wall space with so many windows. The kitchen is another exciting space for Arianne, who delights in hosting gatherings, especially in the summer months. “We keep our lamps on at night,” she shares. “Unlike our old space where you might feel stuck in one area, this one is so open and flows so it’s easier to interact with more people.” Arianne is already looking forward to events and gallery walks with appetizers and drinks that they couldn’t facilitate in their old space. “When I think about what we do for Wagon Days and some of our larger events, we are still located on the shady side of Sun Valley Road, so it’ll be a great area to carry on the same traditions,” she says.
The new space feels good, something Arianne attributes to having a great team. It’s a happy and beautiful space that is wonderful to come into. “You want your home to reflect you,” she says. “We want our clients’ homes to reflect their ways of life and now this showroom is aligned with our vision in a similar fashion. Clients may make a particular selection, but we want their spaces to always reveal the best parts of themselves and emanate that.” It took Arianne and Josh nine years, but their new showroom meets their goal. The space is aligned and energizing, like a breath of fresh Sun Valley air.
In addition to new outdoor signage and the showroom move, the business is expanding online under the banner of TN. “We always want to keep growing and will continue to stay within new design trends, and building our e-commerce shop on our website is part of that growth,” Arianne says. With many customers coming from out of town, they are frequently asked if they can go online and purchase items such as tables, lamps, and accessories.
The beauty of Topnotch is that every piece is hand-selected and feels personal in a way that big-box, modern chain items don’t. “People come from out of state and ask if we have other locations because they want to shop in a store that is more locally grown and owned,” Arianne shares. “We hear people say how they miss the unique stores and smaller boutiques. So many mom-and-pop stores have gone out of business with online and big-box stores. It is our hope that this generation will be moving back to seeking the feeling of going in a store where you’re recognized and that it feels like home. It’s a special shopping experience.”
“We hear people say how they miss the unique stores and smaller boutiques. So many mom-and-pop stores have gone out of business with online and big-box stores. It is our hope that this generation will be moving back to seeking the feeling of going in a store where you’re recognized and that it feels like home. It’s a special shopping experience.”
–Arianne Heyser, Topnotch Fine Furnishings
The community connection of shopping in Topnotch is one built for longevity. “It’s important for us to offer items that are sturdy and built to last,” Arianne says. “We encourage education and seek pieces that are unique and different. It’s quality over quantity. Also, the team seeks balance by identifying products that are healthier for our earth and family.”
In a world where our habits get so ingrained into our daily lives that we can somewhat mindlessly multi-task and operate on autopilot, it’s good to shake things up a bit. Arianne and her team at Topnotch are a joyful burst of new energy that is welcomed and much needed. While Topnotch is continuing to settle into the new showroom, Arianne and Josh are looking ahead to a mid-summer open house on July 14 to debut the new space. “We cannot wait to share our new space with our community,” she says. She jokes that she gets calls from people standing in front of their old shop asking if they’ve closed. Her response? “Just turn around–we’re right across the parking lot!”
Tasteful Design – Decadent Kitchen Appliances in New Ketchum Showroom
After 30 years in the appliance, plumbing, and hardware business, mountain land design is now MLD. Having thought about it for some time, owner dan devenport made the decision to rebrand during the pandemic. “The company has been around since 1987, and there was always a little confusion about what we did,” devenport shares. Did they design kitchens? Landscapes? Their answer was “no” to both. MLD is a supplier of high-end appliances, decorative hardware, and plumbing fixtures.
“The company has been around since 1987 and there was always a little confusion about what we did.”
–Dan Devenport MLD
You may be familiar with MLD’s previous name, Mountain Land Design. MLD went through a brand remodel due to significant brand confusion in the marketplace with a similarly named company. With the help of Modern8, a Salt Lake City-based brand design agency, they envisioned a new identity, paying tribute to their history with a fresh, modern update. MLD has five showrooms in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, aiming for a consistent experience at each location, beautifully encapsulating its new brand identity. The Ketchum showroom is just off Main Street at the north end of town. Moving into this location started years ago when they transitioned from Fisher Appliance. Their new showroom opened earlier this spring after three years of construction. The project was originally planned as a remodel but became a complete demolition after an unexpected detour on the first day when the contractor removed the first stucco panel from the existing building. “He called me saying, ‘We’ve got a problem; there’s no structure to the building,’” Dan remembers. There was no frame, and thus, they had to decide how to get the building up to code. “We’d gone through preconstruction and design for the existing building with a single rooftop unit that we were remodeling and a little storage basement,” Dan says. Unfortunately, the original showroom design was not salvageable, so they stepped back and made a new plan.
“We’re settling; this isn’t what we originally wanted, and that’s not what we do as a company,” Dan recalls thinking. The rebuild was a large expense, but they determined starting fresh from the ground up was the right choice for the showroom and the market. The remodel set them back several years, but it was the right decision. “We’re thrilled with how it turned out, and it’s more than we thought we wanted,” he says. The new building was designed by Doty Architects and built by Magleby Construction, and the 15,000-square-foot building spans three levels, including low-income housing, the MLD showroom, two residential units, and a spacious private rooftop. MLD took inspiration from Argyros Performing Arts Center’s modern use of steel and wood and images of buildings in New York City, creating an industrial yet modern design. “The architecture fits in so well,” Dan says. “We’re so excited to be part of the community and working with the city to maximize the potential of this building.” MLD partnered with the City of Ketchum to establish a low-income housing unit on the lower level—the top floor Devenport designed for personal use and plans to enjoy the views. MLD’s 3,500-square-foot showroom sits on the main level. MLD’s most prestigious showroom experience currently exists in Ketchum. The MLD showroom highlights appliances in over ten brand-specific live displays.
Through these live kitchens, customers can experience an array of appliances; they can see how fast water boils on an induction cooktop, pre-heat an oven using Wi-Fi, or experience the features of a Sub-Zero refrigerator. Designed by MLD’s in-house designer, Jessica Roberts, the showroom interior is extraordinary. Immediately upon entering, customers walk through two dramatic 12-foot doors designed by Lecate Artisan Doors. “We want to wow you,” Dan says. “We want you to question the ordinary” As you open the front doors, the first vignette gives viewers a feeling of excitement and anticipation. A high-end black and chrome True Residential wet bar welcomes customers, displaying a dual-zone wine fridge with drawers, an icemaker, and a kegerator.
“True is a little different because it was originally a commercial brand, but they recently stepped into residential with customizable handles, trims, and finishes,” says Mike Malko, one of MLD’s account executives and appliance experts based in Ketchum. “They have massive hinges that look very commercial and give a louder look than traditional built-ins. They’re designed to last over a couple of million cycles, giving a nod to their commercial DNA.” MLD does not tag products with pricing on the floor. They intend to create a freer experience. They want people to visit and connect with what feels right to them. Often customers are sent by their designers or contractors with an appointment where they delve deeper into the process. “We want you to get the right answers,” Devenport says. We want our showroom to be a place of ideas first.” The ideas and inspiration are laid out in brand-specific displays.
The MLD showrooms are designed to feel like a design center with beautiful displays of hardware and lighting, creating a genuine sense of what it would be like to have an item in a separate kitchen. MLD aims to create an extraordinary customer experience through meticulously designed kitchen and bath spaces and an extraordinary experience. “We hope our customers will look at the tile behind an appliance or see a countertop color that goes well next to a cabinet and visualize their new house better,” Mike shares. The vision is assisted with the help of cabinets made by local cabinet makers, a range of countertops and surfaces from manmade to natural stone, and hardware showcased from manufacturers across the country that MLD sells. Another highlight of MLD’s showrooms is the live appliance demos with local chefs, providing a non-sales perspective on the products. Customers are invited to see how the appliances work through classes and demos. “Steam ovens, for example, have a big learning curve, so we want our clients to be able to ask professional chefs questions and develop an understanding of how food cooks differently in them,” Dan says. “In our Salt Lake City showroom, for example, we offer weekly classes designed to show the advantages of cooking with steam, and with that, we help create a better experience with MLD.” In Ketchum, MLD will launch a monthly summer BBQ series featuring a different outdoor appliance line in the park across the street. “Since we’re a smaller showroom, we are going to start with these monthly outdoor demos,” Mike says. “In the future, our goal is to work with local chefs and host demos on topics such as using built-in sous vides, steam oven cooking, and burner technology.” One of the best parts of the MLD showroom? After a demo, you can taste the chef’s creation.
“In the future, our goal is to work with local chefs and host demos on topics such as using built-in sous vides, steam oven cooking, and burner technology.”
–Dan Devenport MLD
Experience MLD’s new Showroom in Ketchum at 111 Washington Ave or one of their other four showrooms in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.