DOWNTOWN DESIGN DESTINATION

by ALAENA HOSTETTER / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Mitchell Hill expands to a larger full-service design center this fall to meet the needs of Charleston residents.

 

MITCHELL HILL IS BRINGING a one-stop shopping destination for fine art and home design to Downtown Charleston this fall when it moves to a bigger and better location just a block away from its long-standing outpost on King Street.

The new location will include more furniture, accessories, textiles, wallpaper and lighting, as well as new additions of paint, flooring and rugs, which can now all be accommodated under one roof in the larger space.

Preserving King Street as a home design destination has been a top priority for the business. After nearly 10 years there, Mitchell Hill witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of Downtown Charleston, with home furnishings stores departing or closing shop completely. 

“Our founder, Michael Mitchell, grew up in Charleston and remembers coming to Downtown to go furniture shopping with his mother,” says Ashley Miller, showroom director for Mitchell Hill. “They shopped at businesses that have all closed in the past five years.” Those include German kitchen manufacturer SieMatic, Morris Sokol home furnishings and Waterworks bathroom fixtures.

“We want to restore that sense of Upper King Street as a design district again by opening our own design center,” Mitchell says. “People who used to come to Downtown for home interiors will still have a reason to come to Downtown, rather than going to a big-box chain or shopping online.”

 

The new 12,000-square-foot digs have a historical precedent as a long-standing furniture store. The building was constructed in 1946 and housed Chase Furniture until 2005.

The space features two floors, which will allow Mitchell Hill to accommodate more merchandise under one roof, including the addition of a rug gallery that will take up about a quarter of the square footage. Selections will include wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs supplied by a longtime rug dealer in Columbia, with whom Mitchell has been working for 20 years.

“We’ll have all price points of rugs, including one-of-a-kind varieties,” says Miller. “The rugs will be within our style—the masculine-traditional look—there will also be some contemporary and a little bit of this and that.”

Other new additions include the full collection of Farrow & Ball paint offerings, the wall paint preferred by Mitchell Hill for its high quality. “While it is a higher price point, it provides better coverage, so you don’t need to apply as many layers,” Miller explains. “There are also really beautiful colors in the collection.”

Mitchell Hill will also offer hardwood flooring for the first time. It will be supplied by Artitalia Flooring, which is known for ornate inlaid wood floors in a variety of finishes and patterns, some featuring brass. “They’re really beautiful floors, and clients could do any sort of look with these—from super modern to ornate traditional,” Miller says.

 

 

High-quality U.S.-made furniture options, like Baker Furniture and Hickory Chair Furniture, will continue to be a key feature of Mitchell Hill’s offerings, but in larger quantity in the new showroom. “Instead of four or five vignettes, we’ll have more like 12 to 17,” says Miller.

The vignettes will also include made-to-order mantelpieces that clients can select off the floor or custom design with the mantel manufacturer. Mitchell Hill’s own lighting collection, which is produced by Avrett in North Charleston, will be on offer in addition to other lighting manufacturers; clients will also have the option to create custom lighting designs.

Additionally, a wallpaper and fabrics library will be available to customers on-site, as opposed to Mitchell Hill’s former location where those extra items were in a separate annex. For the first time, Mitchell Hill will be adding renowned kitchen and bath manufacturer DXV to its roster of home offerings.

The fine art gallery, which is how Mitchell Hill got its start in Charleston nearly 10 years ago, will be in full effect in the new location. Rotating art shows will take center stage with artists featured from across the country. The leadership team continues to travel the country, including a recent trip to Santa Fe, to source new artists for its gallery. 

 

 

Arguably, Mitchell Hill’s most essential feature will remain intact in the new space—the friendly and knowledgeable sales and design staff who are on hand to liaise with anyone who walks through the door, whether that’s an established interior designer or a homeowner new  to DIY design.

“We have so much walk-in traffic. From someone who just rented their first apartment to couples downsizing their Downtown Charleston homes to people in retirement communities. We help them along the way with à la carte design advice or full-service interior design services with our own in-house team,” says Mitchell. “You often don’t know who your next client is going to be, and that’s really fun.”

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Alaena Hostetter is a content strategist, editor and journalist who writes about art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.