Designers Expo owner plans to reorganize instead of expand

WICHITA — Just as Janelle King is having to move her Workroom and JK Design because of the Domestic Laundry sale, neighboring Designers Expo has a change of plans as well.

Kathy Haines was prepared to expand her store, which sells residential decorative hardware and flooring, into the former ACI Design Studio space at the Domestic Laundry building. She was close to signing a lease when the building sale suddenly came about.

“We had been talking about it since the moment they decided they were closing down next door,” Haines says. “We are so crammed on top of ourselves.”

Like King, Haines is taking a positive approach, though.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll probably save myself $5,000 a month,’” she says. “It’s probably not a bad thing in the long run.”

Designers Expo opened in 2005 and moved to 1409 E. Douglas in late 2006. Haines says business is great.

“We never had a recession,” she says. “The niche market was definitely the place to be when the housing market fell apart.”

Now that the store isn’t expanding, Haines says it may be time to reorganize to gain some more space. She says that will be a challenge, though.

“We’re always busy,” she says, adding, “and that’s not a bad thing either.”

Janelle King on the hunt for new Workroom and JK Design space

UPDATED — As the Workroom nears its first anniversary, designer Janelle King is unexpectedly searching for new space.

The Domestic Laundry building, which is at 1425 E. Douglas just east of Old Town, has a new owner who wants her space.

King says that’s not a bad thing on several levels.

“Now we know exactly what to look for in round two,” she says.

For instance, her current 2,400 square feet is not large enough. King says she needs between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet for what she calls home tech textile fabrication, such as custom drapes, pillows and bedding.

Also, she says, “Honestly, despite being on Douglas, we still don’t have the greatest visibility.”

King says she’d like to remain downtown and is eyeing several sites.

“I love the central location as well as just the culture and vibe down here.”

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The Workroom to open in the Domestic Design Building to offer custom creations

WICHITA — Designer Janelle King is expanding beyond her JK Design with a new sister business called the Workroom.

The Workroom, which will be at 1425 E. Douglas in what formerly was known as the Domestic Laundry building, will offer what King calls home tech textile fabrication, such as custom drapes, pillows and bedding.

“It’s kind of a lost art,” King says of sewing.

Through her design business, King says she saw a growing need for the Workroom, especially since she says a lot of seamstresses in the area are retiring.

The store won’t carry fabric on site.

“The workroom’s going to be the main thing.”

King will have a small retail space for accents and accessories, though.

“It’s going to be complementary things.”

That includes window hardware, pillow and duvet inserts and some basic bedding to layer with custom bedding created by the Workroom.

There also will be some miscellaneous home decor items that will be unique to her shop. The store will sell Mythic Paint as well.

Tim Blacker, who formerly worked for a costume design company on Broadway, will oversee the Workroom and be the primary one who sews.

“He’s … a total gem,” King says.

The business will be open to retail customers, but King says, “Our biggest target is going to be designers.”

The Workroom will have a soft opening next week.

It’ll be in 2,200 square feet at the newly named Domestic Design Building, which King says is filling up with creative businesses.

“So it’s a perfect fit.”

Invio Fine Furniture Consignment expands and Cohlmia Interiors opens at center behind Havertys on Rock Road

UPDATED — The strip center behind Havertys on Rock Road has inadvertently become something of a design center.

“Yeah, it’s kind of neat,” owner Steve Clark says. He considers the center at 1719 N. Rock something of “an incubator for small businesses.”

“It has evolved into a little design center there.”

Diva Furniture is at the north end of the center, and Invio Fine Furniture Consignment, which has been located within Diva, is now moving to its own 1,200-square-foot space two doors down.

“We have an option to expand over here,” Invio owner Andrea Attwater says. “I’d love to double our space.”

For now, she still has 1,000 square feet within Diva to sell some of her more high-end pieces.

The new space is open during construction. Attwater plans to have an open house Oct. 20.

“That’s my goal, to be all painted and ready.”

JK Design also is located within the Diva space.

Budget Blinds is between Diva and Invio.

Different Perspectives Photography, a photography studio, is on the other side of Invio’s new storefront.

On the other side of that, Jeff Cohlmia has opened Cohlmia Interiors in 2,400 square feet.

That’s substantially smaller than the 8,300-square-foot Home Gallery by Cohlmia he used to have near Central and Woodlawn.

“We have basically the same manufacturers, but we are showing some things that are less expensive but still in the same quality range,” Cohlmia says. “We’re happy to be open again, and we hope to see everyone.”

Attwater is happy for the unplanned design center.

“It’s kind of fun,” she says.

As Clark says, “It’s always good to have some synergistic uses in a property like that.”