Steve Appel and Lee Whitehead found themselves in a design dilemma regarding the messy home of a wealthy client. She wanted to sell her house, but no one would buy the building in its current state. Instead of passing on the case, the duo visited the home and constructed a battle plan during a 10-hour consultation. Within the week, they'd completely repainted and replaced most of her furniture, readying her for a Saturday open house, and by Sunday, she'd received multiple offers from potential buyers. By Monday, the house was sold. As graphic-design majors and interior-design enthusiasts, Steve and Lee have used their talents in many such situations, under short time limits and with exceptional challenges, to refurbish a range of spaces—even helping famed baker Duff Goldman of Food Network's Ace of Cakes choose furnishings for his lobby at Charm City Cakes.
At Nouveau Contemporary Goods, the duo fills their space with an ever-changing roster of upholstery, dining sets, bed sets, and colorful crystal-infused wallpaper. Modern furnishings such as egg chairs and aquamarine crushed-velvet benches share a mutual territory with traditional pieces such as a red cabinet with a marble top and the actual couple who posed for American Gothic. In addition to showpieces, samplings of glass panels, blinds, and other window treatments ooze inspiration for potential clients coming up with their own projects. Anyone on a tight deadline can also count on the design duo for same-day delivery, be it for full showroom sets or unique recycled artwork and furniture.
Before Comfort One Shoes' sole experts are allowed to fit a single shoe to a customer's foot, they must graduate from Comfort One University and undergo a mentorship process. It's only then that they can help shoppers find their desired footwear, whether it be lace-up Ziera boots, On running shoes with CloudTec technology, or Thierry Rabotin shoes, handmade without uncomfortable, rigid components. Alongside men's and women's footwear, the shop stocks an assortment of bags and accessories such as colorful iPhone cases from Triple C Designs that protect phone exteriors and conceal scratches from the last time you transformed into a werewolf.
Comfort One Shoes also seeks to better the world through creative philanthropic efforts, such as collecting 25,000 shoes for those without and offering their employees half their pay and time off to volunteer in the community. Perhaps such initiatives are part of the reason Comfort One Shoes earned the National Shoe Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year Award in 2011.
Photographer April Cullett understands the importance of color, placement, and collaboration—she used to be an interior decorator before she opened Studio Gagliano. Nowadays, her eye for making things look their best influences her contemporary style of wedding photography and family portraiture. Her portfolio showcases a selection of black-and-white and color images, as well as a recurring technique, the side-by-side photo, which places multiple poses next to each other to create one memorable image. A majority of Cullett’s work is backdropped by city and rural landscapes, as well as patterned sheets in her naturally lit photography studio, and her collaborative approach produces both posed and spontaneous photos. To keep the collaboration going, Cullett invites her clients to the studio following each session to view a slideshow of the photos and select the best ones for placement on a private online gallery.
Read by more than a million area subscribers and awarded numerous Pulitzer Prizes, the Baltimore Sun shines a light on the day's local, national, and world news, as well as business, sports, food, and weather coverage. Reporters and photographers document delicious meals in Food & Dining and populate the Maryland Crabs section with hot crustacean-related topics. Coupons and sales fliers arrive nestled inside the paper every Saturday and Sunday, ready to be clipped or bitten out and redeemed for savings. Meanwhile, the weekday editions provide an up-to-date serving of high-quality news reporting, as well as a valuable glimpse at neighbors' political opinions in the Maryland Voices section.
Poppy and Stella’s knack for curating a stylish, eclectic inventory has not gone unnoticed. “The people behind Poppy and Stella just get shoes,” according to the Baltimore City Paper, who named Poppy and Stella the Best Women’s Shoe Store in 2009. In 2011, CBS Baltimore praised Poppy and Stella for its “atmosphere, selection and service.”
That atmosphere is found in a tidy, eclectic boutique, where customers can peruse a stylish array of designer shoes, boots, handbags, and apparel from brands such as Dolce Vita, Pour La Victoire, Sam Edelman, and Frye. Throughout the store, neat displays highlight both seasonal trends and classic designs, all of which can keep friends and neighbors from giving you disparaging nicknames like “old-shoes Jack.”
Every Saturday, local knitters congregate on plush couches within Lovelyarns’ sunlit shop and secluded back patio, chatting as they spin skeins of exotic and locally made wool. This weekly open house is one facet of Lovelyarns’ efforts to foster a community of crafters, which has earned the shop a slew of awards and recognition from sources such as the Baltimore Sun and Style Magazine. In addition to offering classes, instructors welcome knitters to drop by any time for help unraveling a tricky scarf or hopelessly tangled kitten. They also recruit knitters to join in volunteer knitting and crocheting projects that benefit local charities and global causes.