STAUNTON — It was during a design seminar years ago that Heather Hopkins first realized why she and Pnina Jalon worked so well together.
The interior design experts were asked to draw something that expressed their design process. Hopkins drew a spiral, starting on the inside and working her way out. She noticed that Jalon had also drawn a spiral, but went the opposite direction, outside to inside. To this day, Hopkins said that is the best description of their working relationship.
“We are very opposite in some ways, very similar or even exact in other ways,” Hopkins said. “But we do have different approaches that I think gets us to a happy medium.”
They have been business partners for a little over four years, creating an interior design company called Studio Broad in Charlottesville. They’ve now opened a showroom for Studio Broad in downtown Staunton at 113 W. Beverley St. That location is between Stuart Hall’s Eastham Center and Blu Point Seafood.
Hopkins and Jalon signed the lease for the space Nov. 1 and they’ve already hosted a couple of holiday events since then.
“We saw that Staunton had a need for the niche,” Hopkins said. “A lot of Stauntonians would go to Charlottesville for that and they don’t need to go to the mountain for that any more.”
Jalon said it’s important to have a retail space just to give clients or potential clients a sense of who she and Hopkins are.
“The other part of that is that it allows you to mix with people, other than a random call or someone reaching out on a computer,” Jalon said. “There’s something about being able to come into a space and meet somebody.”
They picture their space as a hub for the design community, a chance to introduce them to materials that they may not be aware of, especially sustainable materials. They use a lot of materials that are environmentally friendly and they pay close attention to the life cycle of those materials. The two have spent time vetting their suppliers to make sure they meet criteria that the two feel is important.
“Everything that we show in our showcase, everything that we spec for our clients, has as many characteristics as we can find of environmental sustainability,” Hopkins said. “That’s what sets us apart from IKEA or Crate and Barrel, places that are a little more mass market than what we are going to be.”
They are planning on some cocktail and business after hours as well as some morning coffee chats with the community starting in the very near future.
Although only being partners for four years, the two have each been in the business for 25 years.
“When we work with our clients, we kind of help them within their own environment, whether it’s helping them just stage or rearrange a few pieces up to new construction or renovation construction,” Hopkins said. “We’ll work with the clients however they want.”
The partners have a diverse experience ranging from commercial and residential architecture, interior design, landscape, events, staging, and visual display.
“We’ve kind of touched on a little bit of everything through the course of our careers,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins grew up in Ohio and attended college for interior design. She began her career in Richmond, then spent about a decade in Boston where she met her future husband, who is a Staunton native. That connection eventually brought them back to Virginia.
From an early age, Jalon was interested in a variety of arts, from sculpture to painting to dance. She wasn’t sure what path she would pursue but after attending art school, nothing really clicked. She found herself more drawn to architecture, enough so that she moved from New York to Los Angeles to attend the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Over time she became more interested in interior design.
The two met while working for a design firm in Nelson County. Even after leaving that job, they remained friends, eventually leading them to create this partnership.
Studio Broad hopes to have a grand opening at the end of January, although an exact date hasn’t been set yet. They are still waiting on inventory to arrive and want to finish some renovations in the space, so they are at the mercy of shipping and contractors as to when everything is complete.
The two have been thrilled with the reaction from those who have already stopped by the space. They’ve heard from many of those people just how beautiful everything looks.
“It’s incredibly encouraging and also heartwarming,” Jalon said. “Ultimately that is what we want. We want to provide a beautiful, cool, exciting place for people to visit, to come and get inspiration, to buy things that they can put in their homes or office that they love and makes them happy.”
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— Patrick Hite is a reporter at The News Leader. Story ideas and tips always welcome. Contact Patrick (he/him/his) at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Subscribe to us at newsleader.com
This article originally appeared on Staunton News Leader: Staunton’s Studio Broad, an interior design space, opens on West Beverley