What do Moss Envy, Ciel, Traditions, Habitation, Baby Grand, Navab Brothers, Yardbird and Woody’s have in common?
These eight furniture and home decor stores are owned and operated by local people rather than corporations — and are within 3 miles of each other.
St. Louis Park (Moss Envy is in nearby Minneapolis) has become a destination for shoppers on the hunt for a wide spectrum of home interior designs and styles.
Two years ago, Andy Higgins, owner of Ciel Loft & Home, organized the branding of five of the stores on Excelsior Boulevard as the “Design District,” hoping to turn it into a shopping destination.
Although the branding enterprise fizzled out, due to cost and time demands, the area remains a hub of boutique-style home stores that shoppers can hit in one afternoon.
“We all refer customers to the other stores along Excelsior,” said Higgins.
Greg Rich, owner of Habitation Furnishing + Design, agreed that the handy proximity draws traffic. “We’re not really competing because each store has a different look to satisfy every aesthetic,” he said.
And since the businesses are locally owned, “our merchandise is selected based on personal interest and style,” said Far Navab, owner of Navab Brothers Oriental Rug Co. “Not cookie-cutter and one size fits all.”
Ciel Loft & Home
4415 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-2747, cielloftandhome.com
Store owners: Andy Higgins and business partner Chad Newman, who is based in western China, opened in 2013.
Merch mix: Reclaimed furniture, antiques and industrial pieces imported from all over the world. “The look is rustic modern and restrained industrial,” said Higgins.
He pointed out repurposed pieces with “authenticity and blemished character of a past life,” such as a wagon wheel from India and a vintage Turkish dough-riser that could double as a table.
Room vignettes are accented with pottery, wall hangings, cooking trays and other accessories from China, Europe and India.
Ciel also crafts tables, cabinets and shelving units made of wood from old salvaged Chinese doors.
For everyday durability and functionality, Ciel stocks new upholstered sofas and chairs.
Ciel spinoff: Pikka Design Co. makes custom reclaimed-wood tables. From the showroom, the customer chooses the size of the tabletop made of weatherworn wood and the base style and finish. It’s ready in a week.
Vibe: Cavernous high-ceilinged loft with polished concrete floors, wall of glass and exposed ductwork.
5217 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-929-6300, woodysfurniture.com
Owners: Nancy and Steve Maloney and Rick Kuehn. The furniture store has been in the Twin Cities for more than 40 years.
Merch mix: Two-level showroom displays upholstered and leather sofas, chairs and sectionals, Dash & Albert area rugs, table and floor lamps. Wide range of wood dining room and bedroom groups. Adirondack chairs made of maintenance-free recycled milk jugs are part of the outdoor patio furniture lines.
Customization services include being able to choose the size, type of wood, stain and style of a dining room table.
Woody’s was known for its niche of unfinished furniture, but now with easy customization, only 10% of business is unfinished. “Customers can pick the stain from the manufacturer,” said Maloney.
Vibe: Not trendsetting — just classic traditional, transitional and contemporary furnishings.
4200 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park
Store owners: Joe and Katie Roedler consolidated the Grand Avenue in St. Paul and Hopkins locations into the storefront of the former children’s retailer Treasure’s Island. The family-owned business started in St. Paul in 1985.
Merch mix: The upscale baby and child boutique offers a wide selection of “nursery essentials,” including cribs, dressers, changing tables, gliders, accessories and artwork in gender-neutral or specific boy and girl themes.
Furniture styles such as boho chic, West Coast glam, rustic farmhouse and midcentury modern come in a range of finishes.
Popular motifs of flamingoes, unicorns and llamas decorate bedding, lamps and artwork. “We have a wide range of rockers and gliders, since parents spend a lot of time in them,” said Joe Roedler. You’ll also find organic cotton crib mattresses and kid-friendly machine-washable area rugs.
Furniture that grows with the child includes dressers that function as changing tables, and cribs that convert into toddler beds. “People invest in a piece to be used long-term,” he said.
Vibe: Stylish nursery furniture that satisfies the parents’ interior design aesthetic.
4317 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-426-3548, habitationdesign.com
Store owner: Greg Rich opened the spacious 15,000-square-foot showroom in 2015.
Merch mix: A 21st-century interpretation of midcentury modern design with an edge, as well as warm contemporary styles in furniture, accessories and light fixtures.
“It’s carefully curated unique expressive pieces from modern to sophisticated glam to postindustrial,” said Rich.
Dining-room chairs are made from a seat-belt fabric, and coffee tables are composed of poured metal. A pink throw is tossed across a Hollywood Regency-style curved, tufted sofa. Room vignettes showcase low-slung sleek modern silhouettes in sofas and chairs, and modular pieces.
Some pieces fit in condo-size spaces, such as a Murphy-style bed stored inside a cabinet that folds out.
“Many of the pieces have a lot of emphasis on detail and bold design, allowing people to make a statement in a room,” he said.
It’s a gallery, too: Rich showcases the original works of one Minneapolis-based artist with a national reputation, rotated every three months.
Vibe: Inside a high-style modern Hollywood Hills home.
Traditions Classic Home Furnishings
4245 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-285-2777, traditions.com
Store owners: Mike and Suzanne Schumann opened the first Traditions at Selby and Dale in St. Paul in 1987. Today they have showrooms in St. Louis Park inside a renovated 1941 building and in Naples, Fla., to serve Minnesotans with winter homes there.
Merch mix: Upscale heirloom-quality modern classics, transitional and traditional upholstered furniture, case goods, accessories and light fixtures. Lamps range from traditional brass to mod reflective glass.
The chartreuse leather club chairs show “we aren’t afraid to do color,” said Mary McElroy, vice president.
Seating is everything from clear Lucite bar stools to a velvet swivel chair. Accessories include faux greens, crystal glassware and mirrors in a range of sizes and shapes and lots of mixed-metal palettes. Outdoor furniture is displayed in a landscaped courtyard with a fountain and gardens.
Off the floor and out the door: Customers can special-order furniture in the finish and fabric to match their decor, or buy floor models for immediate delivery. “We sell many of the pieces right off the floor — it’s changing all the time,” she said.
Vibe: Idea-filled layered vignettes that appeal to empty nesters moving to downtown condos, as well as those with Florida vacation homes.
Navab Brothers Oriental Rug Co.
4409 Excelsior Blvd.,
St. Louis Park, 952-920-9597, navabbrothers.com
Store owners: Iranian-born brothers Far and Sam Navab opened in St. Louis Park in 2001 but have been in the rug business for 31 years.
Merch mix: Handcrafted wool and silk rugs made in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Nepal. “Each country has its own unique designs, and some are centuries old,” said Far.
There’s a wide range of colors and designs, in contemporary to transitional styles, in sizes ranging from 2-by-3 feet to massive 12-by-18 feet.
With 5,000 rugs on the showroom floor, “the choices can be overwhelming,” admitted Navab. “Narrow your focus to color, size and price.” Some collectible antique Persian and vintage rugs are from the 1890s to 1930s. “An 1890s Persian rug can go with the antique furniture inside a Queen Anne home,” he said.
Made to order: Choose from wall samples of rug patterns, and order any size.
Mr. Fix-It: Navab Brothers also repairs, cleans and restores rugs.
Vibe: The wall-to-wall area rugs transport you to another world across the globe.
8215 Hwy. 7, St. Louis Park 1-877-927-2846, yardbird.com
Store owners: Jay and Bob Dillon opened the showroom in 2018.
Merch mix: Outdoor furniture to create comfortable outdoor living rooms with thick cushioned sectionals, sofas, love seats, ottomans, sling and club chairs made of lightweight aluminum frames covered with Sunbrella fabric.
Teakwood dining sets also bring the dinner party outdoors. “Outdoor furniture has gotten crazy and way more elaborate over the past few years,” said Jay.
So customers aren’t overwhelmed with options, the Dillons have simplified and narrowed their offerings down to 10 collections named after Minnesota lakes. A popular pairing is brown wicker with earthtone fabrics. Accessories include fire tables, pillows and massive umbrellas that tilt and pivot.
Save the Earth: The furniture’s eco-friendly resin wicker is 50% intercepted and recycled ocean plastic.
Vibe: Replicate the restaurant patio experience at home.
3056 Excelsior Blvd., Mpls., 612-374-4581, mossenvy.com
Note: This location is having a moving sale, and closes July 25. The store moves to northeast Minneapolis, opening Aug. 8. Check the website for details.
Shop owners: Ryan and Tina North opened their Minneapolis store in 2010 and are moving to a new storefront — a 1920s house — next month. The name Moss Envy was inspired by the way “moss grows gently on trees in a symbiotic way,” said Ryan.
Merch mix: The most popular category is the certified organic mattresses, bedding and pillows made of botanical latex, organic wool and cotton — not chemical flame retardants, off-gassing foams and synthetic fibers. Hardwood headboards and frames use low- or no-VOC finishes.
Have a baby? There’s a selection of nontoxic crib mattresses and organic cotton washcloths and bibs. Other eco-friendly products include baby toys — the rubber ducks are made from the rubber tree — clean-burning candles, pure essential oils and home decor.
Eco icons on each product represent different categories, such as made in the USA, nontoxic, sustainable, reduces waste and saves water.
“People are looking for choices that benefit the health of their body — and the planet,” said Ryan.
Product perks: Mattresses and pillows can be customized to an individual’s comfort level. “Organic and clean is one thing, but if it’s not comfortable, it doesn’t matter,” said Ryan.
Vibe: A relaxing and calm bedroom. “We want people to feel like they could fall asleep right here,” said Tina.