Spruce is a home and design resource that strongly believes in making its clients’ houses feel like home.
Located in the Historic Freemason District of Norfolk, VA, Spruce Home + Design has garnered the attention of people from Norfolk to Nashville to New York.
How It All Began
Owner, Allison Whitmore, first moved to Norfolk in 2002 after getting her start in design in New York, while working for the family that would eventually open The Shade Store. Although she originally studied finance, Allison credits her time in New York for providing her with such an invaluable start in the design industry.
As Norfolk is now her chosen hometown, having her business here was a given.
“I started Spruce about 18 months ago – it’s a natural cross over with the design firm that I own with Leslie Drinkwalter, Space Design Group. Between the retail store and the design firm, we can help with a full range of projects – from a whole house project, to a customer looking for a single piece of furniture or the perfect accessory, and everything in between. We have the resources to help with any of that”, Allison tells us.
By the looks of everything around us, we could tell.
The store is a stunning combination of retail showroom and design studio that allows you to really visualize how each and every beautiful piece could look and function in your home.
If the aesthetic of the store alone didn’t separate itself, it’s also adorned with top-of-the-line products from coveted manufacturers like Lee Industries. As an official Lee Industries dealer, they’ve also been able to create relationships with other local designers sourcing their products.
While speaking with Allison and Spruce’s Store Manager, Sarah Grenke, we got a feel for their unique and collaborative client process that allows homeowners to share their style and learn how to bring it to life cohesively.
Allison shared, “It’s about knowing what you can live with in your own home. Once we have an understanding of that, we can help our clients create timeless spaces that last, while still being current.”
Spruce’s own style is a mix of clean lines; with a neutral base and lots of layering, texture, and color from things like accessories and art. For example, they’ll often add a pop of orange to a room – (it’s their signature color!).
However, Alison explains, “We try not to force our own style on our customers. […] I find that most of our customers are pretty in tune with their style. We simply help them hone in on the products that will make their vision a reality while offering the assurance that it will be what they want it to be.”
Both Allison and Sarah have a hard time choosing which rooms or design projects are their favorite. Sarah’s love of tile pulls her towards bathrooms and Allison tends to enjoy working on living spaces the most.
Sarah often uses the software Revit to scale out customer’s rooms and help them visualize the way that furniture will lay out in their room.
“I just love seeing the way it all comes together”, Sarah expresses.
As soon as we stepped into Spruce’s space, we got a similar, inspired feeling of completeness.
As a full-service design resource, Spruce can help with every single aspect of design – layout, furniture, flooring, wallpaper or textiles, fabric selections, lighting, throws, accessories, and more.
“Our customers often tell us how easy we make it to get their projects done”, Allison says. “That’s our goal – to make it easy and enjoyable to create spaces our customers look forward to coming home to.”
On Doing What You Love
Now that Allison’s three children are older and more self-sufficient, she’s been able to focus her time and efforts into growing Spruce, which has certainly been a fulfilling venture, she tells us.
“When someone tells me that I helped make their house a home, that’s the biggest compliment I could ever receive because to me, your home is your sanctuary.” Allison continues, “I know it sounds cliché, but if you pursue a career related to something that you are passionate about and truly believe in, you’ll find success and fulfillment.”
How to Connect with Spruce
Spruce is located at 243 W Bute Street and is open Wednesday through Friday from 10-5pm or by appointment. They’re always willing to come in and meet with a client. Stopping by is the best way to see what they’re all about.