Home decor continues to reshape Short North

John Ross, Columbus Alive

Several years ago, landlords needed to convince and gently prod home decor stores to relocate to the Short North.

Now, businesses that sell tables, couches, lamps and other home goods are clamoring to set up in the city's hottest arts and entertainment district.

"I think the potential of unique home decor fits within the arts community of the Short North," said Tim Friar, owner of Grid Furnishings, 944 N. High St. "I think there is synergy. I don't think there's any competition."

Friar's Home on High - a collective started last year to organize events and brand the Short North as a home-goods destination - has grown even stronger.

In the first quarter of 2012, five businesses were added to its updated district guide.

Strolling through Gallery Hop on Saturday, you'll be able to shop at Tomorrow's Antiques, 15 E. 2nd Ave., and see Flora Home and Garden, 988 N. High St., taking shape in a new space.

"We have been pretty strategic in going out and getting people that we would see as a good fit," said Mark Wood of The Wood Companies, one of the neighborhood's major property owners. "[Home decor] is something we are really looking to promote more of."

In addition to drawing new home decor stores, the changing complexion of the neighborhood has inspired established businesses such as Tigertree, 787 N. High St., to add home goods to retail floors.

Wood believes that home decor complements - rather than competes with - other neighborhood offerings.

"The stores are very different on some spectrums and very similar on others," Wood said. "I think it's kind of an extension of the galleries in many ways - especially the type of decor that we have, which is unique and individual."

Duff Lindsay, who's owned Lindsay Gallery in the neighborhood for roughly 10 years, agreed.

"I think there are some really high-design kinds of things that do bridge that gap between design, furnishings and art," he explained. "There are certainly pieces in Grid that look like contemporary sculpture - and yet you can sit on them."

Those who attribute the loss of high-profile art spaces such as Mahan Gallery or Rebecca Ibel Gallery to an increase in furniture stores are mistaken, Lindsay said.

"In a way, it's an evolution of what the Short North has always been about - entrepreneurship and unique stores," he said.

Dispatch file photo

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