After nearly two decades of designing the interiors of homes and businesses in the metro-east, Kim Copeland finally has her own store.
Copeland, 46, recently opened Stix and Stones Interiors in a prime location at the corner of Vandalia and Main streets in downtown Edwardsville. It’s a historic building, and Copeland began by returning it to the original patterned tin ceiling and exposed brick.
“I wanted to show my talents, how I could take something from that, and turn it into this,” she said, pointing to the tin ceiling.
Then she filled it with a variety of furnishings, including pillows, textiles, lamps, custom-built furniture, artwork from local artisans, leatherwork, jewelry and craft paints for the do-it-yourselfer.
Copeland grew up in Taylorville and attended college in St. Louis, then settled in Edwardsville 15 years ago to raise her two daughters, Maddison and McKinlee.
With her ongoing interior design work and a bustling retail store, Copeland’s one-woman show is keeping her busy.
Q: How did you know that you wanted to do interior design?
A: “I was the kid who was rearranging my mom’s furniture when I was a seventh-grader. She’d come home and it would all be rearranged. I very much had an opinion on what I wanted the paint color to be in my bedroom … I remember one day being at my grandma’s house, and rearranging her furniture, and then going into her bathroom and trying to make her tiny bathroom look like the Taj Mahal. She said, ‘What are you doing?’ And I told her, ‘We can eliminate this clutter, we can do this, we can do that …’ I think I’ve always known; I never considered any other degree or career.”
Q: What sort of impact do you think it has on people to have an environment with an intentional design, one that reflects their personality?
A: “I had one client years ago that went to a furniture store, and they picked out everything in one day down to accessories. It looked like it was picked up out of a furniture store and plopped into their home. They called on me because, they said, ‘None of this represents us. It’s not our personality.’ I think you have to be drawn to something for it to be in your home, and something that’s comfortable for you. What’s comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for another. Every home should feel comfortable and lived-in, and not staged for a magazine.”
Q: What do you offer in the store and what services do you provide?
A: “Twenty years ago I started doing local design work, working for local builders, mostly residential but some commercial — anything from designing a house from start to finish or a simple color consultation or picking out furniture. What led me here was that I always wanted to get into the retail side of it. I love meeting new people and talking to people, so that was kind of a natural thing to develop. … I decided to open a store as a home wares studio, where a lot of the things in the store are locally made or at least based in the U.S., a lot of it is exclusive to the store.”
Q: How is Stix and Stones unique?
A: “There are so many unique products that no one else has, the artwork and the chalk-paint line … One thing we’re going to offer at the store are DIY classes, because I’ve always been a do-it-yourselfer. We’re going to do a mitering class, a chalk-paint class, one of the local restaurants wants to do a food pairing. A lot of ideas are going on in the background.”
Q: Are there more people interested now in DIY and craft furniture?
A: “A lot of my clients are staying put where they are, so they want to give their cabinets a facelift, or take an old piece of furniture and repurpose it. I think a lot of people are more into repurposing now than ever before … It’s a good chair, they’ve had it for 20 years, but it just needs new life. I think that’s why I love design, too — I love seeing before and after, and I love giving old things new life.”
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: “I don’t feel like I have a style, because I am drawn to so many different styles. I’m drawn to mid-century stuff, to very urban new-modern farmhouse. I have a very eclectic style, and maybe that’s from all the years of designing. When I go into somebody’s house, it’s not about my style, it’s about theirs … My house kind of has a mixture of everything, and I think the store really reflects that. I have some modern-art pieces and some mid-century chairs and some very traditional couches, and then I have an 8-foot steel industrial door. It’s very eclectic.”
Q: You carry a lot of local artists and artisans. Why is that important to you?
A: “I get that from being from a small town, and seeing big companies come into town like Walmart, and the impact they had on small businesses … It’s always been important to me to shop local, and I eat local whenever I can, so when I was opening the store I really wanted to be centered around local artists, carpenters, craftsmen. It’s important to me to keep as many products based in the U.S. as possible … You can’t stay local forever, but I try to as much as I can.”
Q: What’s it like working for yourself?
A: “It’s mostly a lot of fun. My brother is self-employed, and my dad was — we come from that kind of background, thinking it might be horrible working for someone else. For me, sometimes it’s wonderful and other times it’s a lot of pressure. I don’t have a partner, so it’s all on me, whether it’s successful or not. It’s a lot of pressure, but also a lot of motivation to keep working hard every day.”