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Warm woods, found objects and bold artwork create an approachable yet refined experience for Southern clothing brand Billy Reid’s first Minneapolis store.




MOST OF THE TIME, high ceilings are a good thing … but when you’re trying to create a comfortable, intimate shopping experience within a modern, new-build shell, 14-foot-high ceilings can have drawbacks. “The challenge was to embrace the freshness of the box, but warm it up and make it feel approachable,” Betsy Vohs, founder and CEO of Minneapolis-based architecture firm, Studio BV, says of the new Billy Reid (Florence, Ala.) shop her firm designed.

Found objects and decor lend the new-build space a lived-in feel. Some objects were sourced from fashion designer Billy Reid’s personal collection.

The 1800-square-foot store, located within the luxury mixed-use Nolan Mains development in Edina, Minn., reflects the ethos of the classic American clothing brand – and the man behind it – with a sophisticated, yet not-too-pretentious space that encourages shoppers to stay awhile and explore.

“The verticality was good and bad,” Vohs says, noting the high ceilings provided an optimal gallery space to display colorful artwork, but detracted from the store’s overall comfort.

14-Foot-High Ceiling Presents a Unique Challenge for Designers of Billy Reid’s New Store

To bring the scale down and help draw customers’ eyes to the clothes without dropping in a ceiling, the team limited fixture heights to eight feet. A custom, locally made chestnut-stained gallery bookcase, peppered with funky found objects (think vintage glove molds, horse sculptures, a hunk of coral) sourced from all over – including from Mr. Reid’s personal collection – adds warmth and a bit of whimsy.


“We compartmentalized the vertical plane to get you to look at clothes and not feel like you’re in a giant room with a bunch of stuff,” Vohs says. “The artifacts and clothing become the stars.”

Elements such as natural, worn-in leather furnishings, textured plaster walls, brass, and a linear warm wood accent wall, offset the new-build feel, while creating a neutral, flexible palette. Bright yellow chairs provide a contrast to the simple color scheme, not to mention a spot to sit, relax and enjoy a complimentary coffee.

“We wanted to create contrast, provide places for art, use plaster on the walls for richness … Incorporate things that feel like you’re with Billy,” she says. “It should feel like you’re not in a store, [but rather] like a social space where you shop.”

📷: Corey Gaffer, North St. Paul, Minn.


Former associate editor of VMSD magazine. Writing for VMSD since 2006.



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