Stuhlbergs, the fine home accessories and baby boutique on Queen Anne Avenue just a hop, skip and a jump from Café Diablo, is moving.
"The new location will still have the same charming feel of the current store," explained Megan Stuhlberg, the thrilled owner. "But it will be larger and it will have more staff."
The new Stuhlbergs, a Craftsman-style house next door to the current location, will be transformed into a two-story retail shop, three times the size of the existing facility.
"The site is great," said Ross A. Leventhal, the architect working behind the scenes at the new Stuhlberg house. "It's going to be a house sitting in the garden with a lot of modern and contemporary pieces that make it work as a retail store. What we've done is maintain a beautiful old building."
Maintaining this beautiful old building was not the easiest thing to do.
"A lot of the construction companies told us that it would be cheaper to tear it down and rebuild," recalled Megan.
Tearing it down was not an option.
"We wanted to keep the building because we loved it so much," said Megan as she described the reaction of her and her father, the new landlord of the Stuhlberg house. "The retail store will be so much more charming in a house than in a cement box."
Many vintage buildings are torn down and replaced with "boxes" that maximize square footage.
"The new location is being built to sustain and keep the character," explained Megan. "The detail inside is beautiful. The interior needed to be opened up. The banister is the focal point of the first floor."
In addition to a vintage interior, the new Stuhlbergs will carry an expanded inventory, including bed and bath linens, customized stationery, invitations and baby announcements.
"I'm interested in quality items that are hard to find," said Megan.
It seems fitting that a home store committed to quality would be placed in a quality old home.
"One hundred years ago you never threw something away so you could buy new," commented Leventhal. "You fixed it. You don't throw away everything from the past because there were a lot of lessons there."
Many lessons from the past are what brought Megan Stuhlberg to precisely where she is today.
"For 20 years while I was growing up I was in charge of giftwrap and UPS," she recollected. "My dad has been an interior designer, and owns an interior-design furniture gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho, called Stuhlbergs."
Even though the two Stuhlbergs are separate stores, people in Seattle have bought furniture from Megan's father, and the name recognition has helped her out. The name Stuhlberg - "chair mountain" in German - is also quite appropriate for both of their businesses.
"Well, at least it has a piece of furniture in it," said Megan with a smile.
As a child Megan accompanied her father on home-decorating assignments. "I was always in awe of the results," she remembered.
Her mother, very active in the fashion end of retail, taught Megan about true style. "She taught me to be passionate about what you are doing and to be honest," said Megan.
At Stuhl-bergs, that passion is evident.
"I am drawn to European style, and a lot of what I carry is Italian- and French-influenced," noted Megan, who was an economics and fine-arts major in college.
Stuhlbergs, which is scheduled to have a grand moving sale in September, features brand names like Petit Bateau, a French baby clothing line; Habba, Swedish toys; Vietri, Italian dishes; Elizabeth W. lotions and soaps from San Francisco; and Seda, candles noted for their unique fragrances.
"I just go with my gut feeling," Megan confessed. "If I like it, I ask myself, would I buy it?" If her answer is yes, you'll find it at Stuhlbergs.
Another added incentive of shopping at Stuhlbergs is the advice Megan offers. Many men come into the store looking for presents to buy, and since Megan knows their wives, she helps them out.
"You get to know everybody," she said. "Queen Anne is nice, and there is a small-town feel up here."
The new Stuhlbergs, which is scheduled to open on Nov. 1, features a contemporary glass box entrance with a staircase inside. The staircase touches on the Ave. and brings you into the building. Customers will have the added benefit of a larger inventory and shopping in a charming old house.
"Sustainable thinking is understanding long-term value," concluded Leventhal.
And long-term value, whether you happen to be talking about a house or what you put inside of it, remains a priority at Stuhlbergs on the Ave.