The In Home Design Center, newly located in Amesbury, is a designer’s dream. Opened this fall by owner Anna Hardy, herself a designer and owner of In Home Design Builds, this design center fulfills a multitude of needs for home professionals on the North Shore and beyond.
For Hardy, it all started during her childhood in England, where her parents owned an antiques shop. She grew up learning how to bring old pieces back to life, and fell in love with the process. Hardy has a deep appreciation for craftsmanship and the history of old pieces. This foundation, combined with formal design schooling and her travels all over the world, has contributed to her well-developed design sensibilities.
Knowing that designers, builders, and homeowners could benefit from a design center and showroom on the North Shore was a motivating factor for Hardy, but she wasn’t willing to open up just anywhere. When she found this location, she knew it was right, even if renovating it seemed like a huge project (which it more than proved itself to be). Her wish list was lofty; she needed a space big enough to host a robust showroom, provide ample designer workspace, and allow for a 1,000-square-foot workshop where pieces could be created and customized—and she found it in Amesbury.
Hardy and her staff are on-site and available to assist with plans, create 3-D renderings, dispense expert advice, and more, although they do request you make an appointment before coming in so that the showroom staff can better assist you. The center is also an ideal workspace for clients, designers, and builders. As such, it offers memberships (available to professional architects, builders, interior designers, and decorators) that come with numerous benefits, including a “golden key” that allows access to the center outside of normal business hours, in addition to designer discounts, client meeting spaces, and more.
The showroom, while impressive, is decidedly not overwhelming. Hardy and her team have set it up so that it feels welcoming and intimate—no small accomplishment in a space that used to essentially be a warehouse. “What I wanted to do, and what I think we accomplished, was to build out little house vignettes throughout the showroom,” she explains. Hardy’s background in the home building business is especially evident here; she’s taken great care in every detail. This includes everything from the floor, which required multiple steps before it was “just right,” all the way up to the ceiling, where salvaged materials from the old Boston Garden have been repurposed and outfitted with electricity in order to display the showroom’s lighting selection.
Many pieces you’ll find on-site were brought back to life by Hardy herself, true examples of her creativity and eye for making something old new again. From a refurbished dining table found at the Salvation Army to a coffee table fashioned from an old sugar boiler from the NECCO factory, her passion for reinvention makes itself known. “I love the juxtaposition between old and new, between traditional and modern, and often look for ways to combine the two,” she says.
While Hardy’s vision is what brought the center into existence, she’d be the first to tell you she has a team behind her that shares in her enthusiasm and excitement. “We all bring our unique talents, and everyone is very happy and motivated,” she says—which makes a day at work feel like anything but another day at the office.
The center displays pieces from local artists in its showroom, and enjoys playing host to designer and builder events as well as classes and workshops, including DIY classes for homeowners. These events are a great way to get in and see the space and to meet Hardy, her team, and other industry professionals.
There’s also the convenience of not having to travel to Boston to experience the perks of a legitimate showroom space, a benefit that is not lost on Hardy or anyone else. “Quality of life counts for a lot,” she says. And the positive response to this location from both employees and clients is an endorsement of that.
The showroom features plenty of “finishing touch” items, including unique accessories, bedding, and drapery hardware. There is also a beautiful selection of high-quality faux greenery, which, as anyone who has ever searched for it knows, is not easy to come by.
A design center, showroom, and workshop all in one, and right down the street. That’s the designer’s definition of a win-win-win.