FROM POP TO BOOM

BY M.S.LAWRENCE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image1An 18th-century space with Baker furniture and Mitchell Hill accessories becomes an updated twist on a Parisian pied-à-terre. Artwork by Dixie Purvis (left) and Tom Potocki (right). The rug is a custom design.
MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image2A beige guest room comes to life thanks to Mitchell and Hill’s charming mix of old silhouettes and contemporary fabrics and colors.

Six years ago, interior designer Michael Mitchell followed his instinct and opened what he thought would be a temporary pop-up on Upper King Street in Charleston. Soon after he met his future husband, lighting and furniture designer Tyler Hill, that project grew into what has become a permanent, bustling enterprise, representing 70 vendors and housing a full-service design firm. Mitchell and Hill recently expanded the contemporary gallery—known for its strong collection of regional artists—to include a design studio with new offices and two additional rooms for furniture and accessories.

The 2,000-square-foot space, located in rooms on the second floor of the historic building, includes a new resource library and offices. “We’re now offering a much more tactile experience, with a full resource room at our fingertips,” says Hill. “We invite retail clients to come in and look through wallpapers, fabrics and other design materials that are available to the trade only.”

“We also welcome local designers who don’t have a brick and mortar space to come in and browse our resources for their clients,” Mitchell says. “We have lots of design-driven lines.” Among the vendors: Modern History, Made Goods, Arteriors, Currey and Company, Robert Abbey Lighting, Emporium Home, Mr. Brown, Osborne & Little, Phillip Jeffries, Scalamandre, and Clarence House.

The gallery is a showroom for Hickory Chair, CR Laine, Swaim, and Baker furniture, with all price points included. “Clients are now able to make an appointment to meet and work on their home in our studio space, where we have everything they need to create a beautiful and personal home,” says Hill. The new upstairs space will feature vignettes both inside and out, on traditional Charleston piazzas. “Charleston is known for beautiful gardens and outdoor entertaining,” says Hill. “We’ll be a source for all styles of outdoor furniture and décor.”

Mitchell and Hill have worked on projects in South Carolina and throughout the United States, including Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. The addition of Hill’s custom designs was based on consumer demand, Mitchell states.

“Being able to offer Tyler’s bespoke furniture and lighting pieces opens doors and brings in different clients,” notes Sarah Miller, who manages the gallery. “In today’s world, where you can find just about anything online, being able to offer a one-of-a-kind piece, a custom-created light or special coffee table designed for one person really broadens our reach.”

MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image3A large gilded mirror opens up a slim stairwell in a Charleston Single House. Mitchell and Hill added a bit of fun and pattern to the space by including wallpaper on the ceiling and under the stairwell.
MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image4An ode to blue, this formal living room features a circa 1960s LaVerne cocktail table, Tom Potocki painting and custom silk drapes.
MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image5Masculine and clean, this tailored, clutter-free home office in Charleston’s Harleston Village neighborhood captures the personality of its owner, an avid and very put-together cyclist. Artwork by Jim Victor.
MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image6(descending): Hill’s bespoke pieces include the gold-leafed Hasell Lantern and the Reeves sconce, inspired by the New York City skyline. A handsome yet delicate glass-and-steel coffee table, inspired by a door in Manhattan, is finished in a brushed bronze.
MitchellHillFeatureVer3Image7A wavy-backed chair upholstered in a velvet leopard print offers an edgy take on the classic wingback.

Hill began exploring lighting and furniture design while studying at the Art Institute of Charleston. He’s designed more than 100 pieces and works closely with clients to achieve a piece that’s personal and unique. Often inspired by art deco and Hollywood regency styles, he draws from everyday objects, too.

“I’m always sketching, so anything from jewelry to gym equipment may influence my work,” says Hill. “I really enjoy working with clients to find the details that fit their style and create a piece of art for their walls or rooms.” His bespoke pieces are manufactured locally. With the added physical space, Mitchell Hill also recently increased its staff from three to eight, and is branching out to work on commercial projects including senior living and hospitality spaces.

The online store, carefully curated by Mitchell and Hill, is a “shopping experience very specific to their style,” says Miller. Featuring lighting, small works of art, accessories, mirrors and other objects d’art, the online shop ships products across the country.

In 2010, the company launched its popular Art for Charity events, an ongoing series of fundraisers for local charities, and recently expanded its philanthropic efforts.

“We’re looking toward our future,” says Hill. “It’s an exciting time, and we’re working hard but having fun. We hope our clients and customers will join us!”

M.S. Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Email: mslawrence@bellsouth.net.