Winter 2008

Selden’s Home Furnishings

Selden’s Home Furnishings
1082 62nd Ave E, Tacoma

Some of history’s most notable families have proved that a properly arranged union with another respected lineage can create a home rich with tradition and history which future generations will flourish in.

The match a well-established Pierce County family has made with a recognized name from New York will undoubtedly contribute to quite a few beautiful homes.

Selden’s Home Furnishings has added L. & J.G. Stickley—yes, of the Stickley family—to the list of furniture collections available from its Fife-based design center and showroom.

The uniquely American success stories of these family empires bridge the age difference in this long-distance relationship.

Ranked by some to be second only to the creations of the older brother they worked with before founding their company, the furniture crafted by Leopold and John George Stickley in the 20th century is respected by collectors of fine Arts & Crafts and Mission furniture styles.

Gustav Stickley, oldest of five brothers who collaborated in various enterprises, is credited with creating the Mission style of furniture that was wildly successful around the early 1900’s. A noted architect, designer and founder of Craftsman Workshops, Gustav apparently was more of an artisan than a businessman and filed for bankruptcy in 1915. His brothers, however, continued making furniture.

Leopold Stickley’s American Colonial-inspired Cherry Valley Collection helped the L. & J.G. Stickley company through shifts in American tastes in the early 1900’s. As the New York company’s Cherry Valley line thrived in the 1920’s, young Syd Selden was working his way up from stock boy to assistant manager of the carpet department at a Tacoma furniture store. After managing another Tacoma store in the 1930’s, Selden opened his own in 1940, selling linoleum, window shades and carpet.

Just as timely creativity helped the Stickleys through changing times, Selden’s company survived World War II by adapting. From making blackoutblinds for American homes and providing floor tiles for government buildings to installing linoleum in battleships, the company endured through entrepreneurial agility. After the war, the business evolved into a furnishings company with stores in various locations.

In 1974, Selden’s consolidated to a central location to focus on growth as a full-service design center. That same year, Leopold Stickley’s widow sold the manufacturing company to long-time friends, the Audis, whose Manhattan furniture store had been the company’s largest distributor.

The businesses have since thrived—with the Audis reissuing the original Mission Collection and maintaining Stickley tradition of fine craftsmanship and the Seldens gaining status as a recognized provider of interior design coordination and quality furnishings.

As an authorized Stickley dealer, the Seldens now share in the history of the words Gustav Stickley marked on his creations: “Als Ik Kan,” a Flemish craftsman’s phrase that means “to the best of my ability.”

Krista Olson

In Living Color

One recent afternoon, I found myself clutching my paintbrush in two paint-spattered hands, looking up at my perfect (Cottage White) ceiling, and telling my cats, “This kitchen… is the color of… happiness!” The walls are actually Aspen Aura at a 50-percent tint, to be exact, and standing there amidst rollers, paint cans, and drop cloths, I was simply enraptured with the promise of this room. It flashed before my eyes, as they say: I could “see” myself simmering sauces, baking pies, washing dishes, creating momentous meals, and sneaking green olives out of the jar by the light of the refrigerator door right here, far into the future. This color was the perfect setting for the life I was building.

My life, these days, is awash in color. I mean that literally and figuratively: My husband and I have moved from the city to the country in search of land on which to build a farm, I am engineering a significant career change, and we are renovating a nearly 100-year-old home, all at once. I’ve most recently been painting the inside of this old house—a task, you may know, that is actually 90 percent tedious wall preparation and 10 percent painting.

This is my first-ever project of such scale and I’ve been determined to get it right, starting with choosing the right colors. I checked out books on painting and color theory, spent hours gaping at the wall of paint chips at Home Depot, and enlisted the help of a friend of mine who’s guided others through these treacherous waters.

I wanted this house to be the incubator for this new life my husband and I are building. I wanted light and color and warmth, comfort, inspiration… and happiness… to radiate from the walls. I didn’t want to end up like one of my friends who said the colors she chose for the downstairs of her new Capitol Hill bungalow—perfectly lovely as paint chips held up to the wall—made you want to wrap yourself in a blanket, sulk, and read Russian novels when you came inside.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about color lately. We feel color. We don’t just see it. As any aromatherapist will tell you, our surroundings matter in terms of our emotional and mental well-being. With this house renovation, I didn’t just want to parrot a pretty room from one of my many reference books; I wanted to be able to soak in the colors I chose and to actually use them to get me through a time in my life that is exhilarating and fun and also stressful and scary at times!

My husband, bless his heart, is color blind. I can’t imagine. So he defaulted to my judgment in choosing the colors. His only requirement: that the rooms make the most of the light. And judging from the recent reactions of two very different people, he’s gotten his wish.

One woman, a 60-year-old Japanese guest of some friends of mine took time in halting English to tell me how much she admired the color in my dining room (Lemon Souffle) and how the colors of the two adjacent rooms made “everything light.” She added that it was “very American.”

Another comment on my colors came from what I would have thought to be the most unlikely of sources: A scruffy man with a tattoo of his girlfriend’s name on his neck that looked to have been done in the mirror in his own handwriting was re-glazing some of my windows one day. He poked his head into the dining room as he worked and we were talking. He said, “I have to tell you that I really love the color of this room, the way it’s so light and looks so pretty with the color of the living room (Turtle Dove and Mountain Haze).” I thought I’d hug him right there.

He and the Japanese woman had put their fingers on something I’d been thinking but hadn’t named: The light these colors are shedding, reflecting, and pouring into our new home is a metaphor. At this bracingly uncertain time in our lives (and here, I’m talking not only about my family’s life, but the lives of all Americans these days), we need all the light we can get to see where we’re going. There are enough blind hallways and dark corners involved with starting a business, changing careers, and renovating houses that we don’t need to visibly LIVE with them as well. Let the light in!

So how is this working for me? Do I find it easier to get up in the morning, to be creative, courageous, positive, because of these miraculous colors? I do, actually. The thought and care that I’m putting into creating the palette with which my husband and I will live is inspiring me in other areas of my life. In my marriage, creating this colorful cocoon of sorts for us is an expression of love. I like building a spot in which my husband also feels safe and happy and comforted. In my efforts at training to be a health coach after years in communications, the endless opportunities to pair these colors with textures, patterns, accessories, and accent colors spark my creativity and keep me excited about moving forward. And on any plain old day, I have to say that waking up to the color of happiness – despite the rain, the news, the work of the day—does, in fact, make me happy.

Kristy Gledhill

Artist Spotlight: Melanie Kirk-Stauffer

Artistic Director—Dance Theatre Northwest

Even as a child Melanie Kirk-Stauffer loved dance, music, the theatre, musicals and movies. Encouragement came from every direction. Her teachers commented on her creative, artistic and scholarly abilities from an early age.

It was no surprise when Melanie created and founded Dance Theatre Northwest, a regional performing dance company. Now an award winning choreographer, Melanie has been teaching dance and organizing performance groups in the Puget Sound area for 14 years. As she has since the inception, Melanie stages, produces and directs new ballets to original scores.

Melanie has also produced a pre-performance lecture, given in the theatre prior to performances that provides dance education while inspiring audiences to the significance of art in our communities. She represents a vital voice for performing arts and has increased public support and appreciation of dance as an art form.

What inspires you?

My first love in dance will always be ballet. I am committed to helping preserve the legacy of classical ballet and to leading a life of service through the development of a highly skilled dance performance company that can build a diverse repertoire of dance choreography to be performed and is accessible to all members of our community.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

As an artist, I am probably most proud of being the kind of director that inspires passion and the love of dance in others. My inspiration comes from deep inner places that respond to beauty, color, nature, music, line and grace. I love teaching and the choreographic and creative opportunities that directing a ballet based company affords.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Most people who see our performances do not realize that I have had a hand in the creation or design of most of the costumes, sets, promotional and printed materials—all part of the vision for each show. My greatest challenge is time management because I love doing so may things. Every day seems like a series of choices that have to be made.

Who do you think most deserves the spotlight?

I think everyone deserves the spotlight and is special. If they want to show up and do the work it takes to be in it then so be it.

Leah Grout