“If you’re not in love with your home, you have to do something about that,” urges Heidi Abrahamson, owner of Phoenix Metro Retro. “Surrounding yourself with beauty is so important, even if it sounds materialistic.” Yet anyone who has tried to decorate their abode knows that stockpiling designer tchotchkes is not enough to live in style. For Abrahamson, and her husband/business partner, Douglas, research plays a pivotal role in selecting new merchandise for the store. “We once found a gorgeous teak kidney-shaped bowl that was just sitting in a kitchen at an estate sale, only to discover that it was designed by Finn Juhl,” she adds.
Although Phoenix Metro Retro opened its doors only eight years ago, the duo has almost thirty years of furniture collecting expertise. The store is very much a dear and personal collection of hand-picked midcentury furniture, including a Le Corbusier lounge. Once inside, cozy up in one of their designer chairs (a Harry Bertoia, perhaps?) with a warm cup of coffee while perusing books on architecture and interior designers. You’ll definitely leave the store chock-full of inspiration. “When it comes to home design, you should always learn something,” concludes Abrahamson.
LX: Describe your home.
HA: It has a lot of wood. In the dining room, we have a Hans Wegner sideboard that almost takes up an entire wall and Frank Gehry’s Face Off table and Hat Trick chairs; the living room features a Cado unit by Poul Cadovius. It took years to build this collection.
LX: Surprising fact:
HA: I taught myself silversmithing in 2005 after taking a jewelry making class to learn the basics. Today, I design and make my own architectural-style pieces.
LX: What’s inspiring you now?
HA: Visiting homes that look as they did 50 or 60 years ago, when purchasing lasting furnishings was a lifestyle.
LX: Treasured keepsake:
HA: A Hans Hansen sterling silver coffee set that belonged to my parents. It’s a reminder of what I learned from them: craftsmanship and quality.
LX: Design movement you find most engaging:
HA: Modernism. Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier and, of course, Bauhaus; I get goose bumps just looking at Philip Johnson’s Glass House.
LX: Design muse:
HA: I love the cool clean lines along with the warmth of wood in Scandinavian pieces. To me, this combination is the best of everything. My father was a woodworker, so I can appreciate the craft.
LX: Entertaining tip:
HA: Bring flowers (I like poppies and wildflowers) and dress your best.
LX: Design Icons:
HA: Coco Chanel and Eero Saarinen. They were innovators with an amazing design foresight.
LX: Your advice for designers:
HA: Know what you're talking about. Help yourself the Internet is a wonderful gift.
Pheonix Metro Retro