It’s official! The countdown has begun to the ‘soft launch’ of the new A Life Designed storefront located in the Alberta Arts District of Portland, Oregon.
A Life Designed will be opening its doors and rolling out the welcome mat Friday, September 22nd with a more formal, grand opening launch party to follow in October and we couldn’t be more excited! From the polished concrete floors and roll-up garage door to the open beam lofted ceilings, our new loft space reinforces the A Life Designed aesthetic beautifully. We can't wait to show you around!
As you can see by the pictures, the past few weeks have been a heady mixture of hard work, excitement and a bit of nervous anticipation as the new space gets whipped into shape and readied to show off the A Life Designed furniture collection in the best light possible. I am happy to report that it is coming together very nicely and I look forward to welcoming guests, clients and friends… old and new to the space.
Please be sure to visit the About Us page of our website for our new address and map. Stop by and say hello!
A Life Designed, Then and Now – A short Q&A:
Q: How did the whole idea for A Life Designed come about?
A: In 2012 I found myself following my work at the time to the intense heat of Scottsdale, AZ. Over the ensuing 4 & 1/2 years I moved 5 times! During one of those moves I was downsizing and I sold a leather chair to some parents who were out looking for furniture for their son who had just taken a job on Wall Street and they were helping him outfit his hip, new loft in Soho. They were going to fill a trailer and then make the trek cross country to New York. They ended up purchasing my chair, but as they looked around my space, they fell in love with the ‘look’ I had put together and exclaimed that I had exactly the same taste as their son. Long story short, they ended up buying every single piece of furniture in my space, minus my bed!! The wife then turned to me and asked if I was an interior designer. I said no and she replied; “You should be. You should be doing this.” It was my ‘ah ha’ moment. The light bulb went off over my head and a business was born.
Q: When was the ALD online store launched?
A: In 2013, after mulling the idea over with my best friend/business mentor and getting his thumbs up over drinks poolside on a typical sweltering Arizona summer day, I decided to build and launch the ALD online store where I would curate and present very select furniture that truly spoke to me and was a reflection of the ‘look’ I loved and envisioned in my mind. The online store went live in July of 2013. Since then, I have had the distinct pleasure of sourcing some amazing pieces of furniture for some equally amazing clients, some of whom have since become close friends. ALD has sold and shipped pieces to L.A., New York, Palm Springs, Texas and points beyond… even Tokyo, Japan!
Q: How would you describe the A Life Designed ‘look’ to someone?
A: Well, I’m a guy so there is a definite masculine feel to it I suppose. But that said, many of my clients have been women which is very gratifying. I think the pieces I select can appeal to anyone. There is a mix of industrial for sure but also a touch of glam in the pieces I source. Think James Bond, ice cold martinis… dark, romantic bars and designer hotel rooms… You get the idea.
Q: Is their a ‘signature’ ALD piece of furniture?
A: I would have to say it would be a vintage, distressed leather club chair! I am a sucker for beautifully-aged leather chairs. You can build an entire room around the right one. I am always on the lookout for the perfect chair to present in my shop and I am not exaggerating when I tell clients that for every one chair I ultimately pick for my store, I have looked at, and passed on, 10 others. Like everything I present, if it doesn’t immediately speak to me, or I don’t feel an instant chemistry with it, I know it isn’t right for A Life Designed. I never speculate on furniture and purchase something just because I think someone else might like it. I have to personally love it and be willing to live with it… because I do!
Q: Since you launched the online version of your shop, what, if any, highlights jump out?
A: Thankfully there have been quite a few. Two though definitely come immediately to mind. Not long after I launched the site I was contacted by a representative for an extremely well known Interior Designer and property developer out of Santa Barbara who was searching for mid-century modern furniture to fill a hotel renovation he was working on in Palm Springs, CA. I happened to have a beautiful Percival Lafer lounge chair in stock at the time that caught his eye. He purchased that and went on to buy another chair from me shortly after that. That gave me huge confidence that I was on the right track.
The second big highlight came about indirectly actually. I had a beautiful black leather and steel, Milo Baughman style chair that a very cool couple came to purchase for a new office they were opening in Scottsdale, AZ. We immediately hit it off. They not only went on to purchase other pieces from me over time, but I also ended up doing some graphic design work for their company, a portion of which I got to do from their office located in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic! And the best part of all?… we became great friends in the process. All of this most likely would never of happened had it not been for A Life Designed.
Q: What led to the decision to open a physical storefront in Portland, Oregon?
A: Ever since the online version of the A Life Designed store was launched, in the back of my mind I have been on the hunt for the right location and space to create the physical version of the ALD online experience. Although I sell a good amount online, since the start, many of my sales have been local. Starting out in Scottsdale, I would rent and live in very nice spaces that I would style out with my inventory and use them as a ‘showcase’ of sorts. While it worked well, I knew that my pieces really cried out for a true loft space in a retail district that had the right ‘vibe’ and atmosphere. I found all of that and more in Portland. To me, Portland is very much the West Coast version of Brooklyn, NY. It has a look and feel that A Life Designed reflects and speaks directly to.
Q: Lastly, what can we expect in the coming months from ALD, both in the new shop and online?
A: I’m very excited to see how the space on Alberta Street ‘ripens’ and develops over time. I am in talks with some terrific ‘makers’ both locally and in other states right now and hope to carry some of their products soon to add unique layers to the shopping experience here at ALD and compliment the aesthetic of the furniture I curate. I also am looking to showcase local painters and photographer’s work here in the shop. With walls that are 20+ feet high, there is plenty of space to fill with work that speaks to me and compliments the ALD ‘look’. I can imagine small gallery events with wine/bites and a chance to meet the artists.
I have dedicated my adult life to the pursuit of creativity, whether it be graphic design, playing music or now designing interesting interior spaces and curating amazing furniture. It's all just a form of personal expression to me... it's who I am. I am lucky to be launching this next phase of A Life Designed here in the Alberta Arts District. It's a vibrant shopping scene and there are all sorts of special shopping events we look forward to being a part of! The future feels wide open and I couldn’t be more excited to see where it leads.
Randy Sloan - A Life Designed
Show your love of vintage/industrial furniture proudly with our new, A Life Designed brand tee shirts!