First Look: Habitation Furnishing + Design

Once the dominion of independent interior designers and showrooms, such as those at the International Market Square, and big-box retailers, the home furnishings industry is beginning to embrace a new model. Enter Habitation Furnishing + Design, a new business in St. Louis Park that serves as both a home furnishings store and interior design studio.

The large space features an eclectic mix of showroom-like vignettes throughout, each with a different color scheme (teal and orange, yellow and cobalt-blue) and vibe (from rock ‘n roll-edgy to retro-quirky)—think Jonathan Adler’s funkier cousin. The front of the store is anchored by two mini-showrooms dedicated to Phillips Collection, known for its one-of-a-kind home decor treasures, and L.A.-based home furnishing design company and importer Noir.

Habitation is not the first to merge furnishings with design services—Roam Interiors, MartinPatrick3, and Forage Modern Workshop have embraced a similar model—but founder and chief curator Gregory Rich is setting the store apart from the rest of the pack in a few ways. The first is his innovative way of incorporating technology into the store’s concept. Merchandise is tagged with a QR code scannable by on-site tablets, which clients can then cast onto multi-screen displays to see large-scale items in full size. The store has also partnered with apartment and condo buildings in the St. Louis Park area to make floor plans digitally available to aid in the design process.

The second are the prices—which are actually quite reasonable for the quality. Rich, who built several direct partnerships with Asian manufacturers during a five-year stint as an importer, clearly has an eye for value and a mind for business. Rich says he’s able to keep prices low in part because he keeps limited backstock, meaning there are limited quantities of each item available (and in some cases, one-of-a-kind). He also promises to price-match any products in-store with any online retailers.

Now open, 4317 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-426-3548,

all photos by Jahna Peloquin