Have you ever wished that you could see our beautiful collection of custom frames and mat styles (as well as our smiling faces!) in person? Well, if you’re in Denver, you can!
After years of working remotely across the country, the Simply Framed team grew to a size that required an office in addition to our Ohio frame shop. Denver was the obvious choice, as many of us live here—so our fearless leader, Dara Deshe Segal, began her hunt for the perfect workspace that would double as our first Simply Framed Showroom.
One day, she saw a listing on Craigslist that caught her eye, for a charming retail space she’d walked past many times. The building had a clean, square storefront and large windows, and it was in a great location near Dara’s home. It was perfect—but by the time she saw the listing, it had already been snatched up.
When no other options presented themselves, Dara ultimately decided to sign a lease at a coworking facility. It wasn’t ideal, due to the lack of retail space, but it would do. She cut a check for the deposit, and walked it over to our soon-to-be new office with her sister-in-law, who was visiting from out of town. On the way back, the two women peeked through the window of the storefront that could have been, just for fun, and were shocked to find the space empty! Dara immediately called the landlord, and was delighted to learn that it was indeed available. It was a no-brainer: This was our new home.
From Dara: “After securing the location of our dreams, we had a month to turn it into a functional office-showroom that would suit all of our needs. The space was already cute and comfortable, and the floors were good, but the popcorn texture on the walls and ceiling had to go. Skimming the surfaces of the 250-square-foot office was a bit of a pain, but well worth it in the end—and then the fun part of the design process began.”
Dara was inspired by another cozy Denver office—the home of saturday social, Simply Framed’s social media partner, and also once Dara’s part-time office—and even bought the agency’s adorable peach-colored mini fridge. She moved her entire home office into the new showroom, and took stock of what else was needed: small things like new light bulbs, but also big things like an additional employee workspace, room for her young son and other children to play, a display that showcased our frame collection in a beautiful way, a large communal table for frame consultations and meetings, and lots of storage. Packing so much into such a small space was going to be a challenge.
We love a good before and after and these side-by-side comparisons (we won't have to tell you which is which!) really speak to the space's transformation.
Our exterior after we'd only just put up the sign—and then, completed!
Dara saw the potential for making the vertical nature of the space harmonize with the furnishings, including extended shelves along the wall and a narrow table in the entry for frame consultations.
Jodi Cook of Denver-based Cook Design House came to the rescue with brilliant ideas and sketches. Dara worked closely with her to design a stylish, cohesive space that served two distinctly different functions: The back of the office would contain workspaces and storage, while the front of the house would act as the retail space. The exterior, meanwhile, was painted black with white trim (after the neighbors painted their house, suddenly making Simply Framed’s building appear a sad shade of grey) and we incorporated contemporary details like black riverstone rock hardscaping and a Space Age-looking matte black mailbox from Rejuvenation. From the beginning, we wanted the message to be clear: This is no ordinary frame shop.
“We really wanted to eliminate the noise and clutter found in traditional frame shops. You won’t find carpet on the wall here. This is the first physical manifestation of an online business, so we wanted it to feel appropriately modern and minimalist—and to be focused primarily on our customers and their art. What are you here for? What are you framing? That’s the most important thing.”
Inspired by an image she found on Pinterest, Dara had two 12-foot custom shelves made to display our classic frame collections in an accessible, flexible, and fun way. Simply Framed Pro partner Jimmy Marble hand-lettered paper inserts describing the different mat styles (single mat, island mat, etc.) to allow customers to learn the language of custom framing without feeling awkward or intimidated.
Across from the frame display is the communal table (from Room & Board, to match Dara’s desk) that we use for meetings, brainstorming sessions, and frame consultations. Around the table are black Profile Counter Stools from Design Within Reach (“I believe it’s important for employees to sit in high-quality chairs”) and beneath it are flat files that Dara procured from MCA Denver after we framed the artwork for their Octopus Initiative. (Fun fact: The flat files were supposed to go in the back of the office but, due to a measuring snafu, they didn’t fit. They now live in the front, where they are more accessible, and—bonus!—they free up space in the back for an extra workstation.)
Simply Framed’s premium Black Label collection can be seen along the back wall of the Showroom, framing gorgeous prints by another one of our pro partners, Kate Holstein. Below that is an ash tabletop that Daniel Louis of Revampt beautifully finished to match our ash frames.
“He did an incredible job and worked so quickly, and it is so much better than the plain white I initially envisioned.”
Also in the back of the shop, you’ll find a storage nook that holds the proverbial nuts and bolts of our business. Jodi helped us to design an IKEA storage system of filing cabinets that keep paperwork and supplies organized. Pieces of beautiful walnut wood left behind by a previous tenant were transformed into a floor for the storage space, to elevate boxes off the ground, and into floating shelves for the kitchen area. They display water glasses and jars of snacks organized by color to match our classic Gallery Frames.
“There are wintergreen Lifesavers in white, chocolate-covered almonds and espresso beans for black, almonds for walnut, silver Hershey’s kisses, and cereal in a color close to that of our Natural Gallery Frame. Some might say it’s a bit much, but I got to live out my ultimate Container Store fantasy, and the snack display makes me happy every time I see it.”
Throughout the Simply Framed Showroom are special details and personal touches that convey the personalities behind the brand: The sign on the restroom says “Simply Toilet” as a nod to an inside joke, while a large wall decal near the front door proudly displays the company’s mission statement.
“We want people to walk through the door and immediately get who we are, and what we’re about.”
Even the DIY office “whiteboard” is distinctly Simply Framed, made of a 24x36” piece of plexiglass with a white mat behind it, and framed in a luxe Black Label Walnut Frame. And the aforementioned space for young children to play in? That came to fruition as well, in the form of a playset from Walmart positioned in a sunny corner near the shop’s entrance. That and the sign on the front door (Custom Framing Made Easy—by appointment or by chance) show the value the company places on work-life balance.
“We hope to someday expand our shop hours to cover weekends, and to maybe host pop-up events or art shows—but this is a small space, so I don’t know how realistic that is. In the meantime, we’re having a great time allowing this space to be a local gathering place for artists and designers. Bo Bridges and Richard Graham have stopped by, and interior designer Anna Smith. We’ve welcomed Julie of Semple Brown Design, and the folks behind Station16. It’s been so fun and we’ve learned that, for a lot of people, custom framing still works best as a tangible, in-person experience. There are certain customers who really want to see and feel the mat and frame before purchasing; others want a more human connection than is possible in the digital world—and I’m so happy that we’re now able to offer that. I really enjoy every interaction that I have with a walk-in customer because it makes me think about new things to add to our online shop, to help improve that experience for them.”
We hope that the next time you’re in Denver, you stop by to say hi. We are a small team and we'll do our best to consult with you if you drop in during business hours. To make the most of your visit, we highly recommend you schedule a 1-on-1 appointment by clicking this link. We look forward to seeing you! In the meantime, you can always visit us virtually at simplyframed.com.