Thursday, August 21, 2014


I have a new passion and I call it Tobacco Road. It is a new 'retail concept' I have configured from something that has been brewing in my head for awhile now. Not necessarily a new idea for the style makers as it has been done before in various forms and locations, but this one is new at least for me.

Curious Sofa, as much as I loved the brand and the time I gave it (and all of you for liking it too), can take care of itself in a way. There will always be small changes it can master but for the most part, I feel my focused passion for it has moved on. It's hard to change when you have built a customer base on something that has served you well.

My new desire to build Tobacco Road is right where I was 14 years ago with Curious Sofa. Every little detail from graphics to display to products got me excited while planning the brand down to the light bulbs (Edison of course!). And although Tobacco Road is not a full-on, 4,000 sf brick and mortar store, the details of it are still important to me. I joke that it is my "pathetic Midwest attempt at Ralph Lauren's Double RL". (look here) But you won't find any $300 belts (mine are under $25) or vintage motorcycles (I wish) or $2,000 Indian rugs. What you will find is affordable rugged clothing (western shirts, denim jackets, canvas bags, cowboy boots, newsboy caps- most under $30) and inexpensive Southwest style beaded jewelry. Then I mix in some industrial lights, rusty carts, wooden ladders, rag rugs, apothecary bottles, vintage books, Indian baskets, tufted wing chairs and like I said, the results are "my pathetic attempt....". It's simply what I love and what I would wear, use and decorate with myself. Curious Sofa always had a touch of laid back country and Tobacco Road has that too, certainly more rural visually, but that is more my style anyway. As I fine tune and update both of my spaces are Top Hat Mercantile I can easily see the two melding into one. Why can't a crystal chandelier be hung inside a teepee?? Why wouldn't you wear a white linen skirt with cowboy boots? Hmmm... I may be onto something. Or wait, Ralph has already done that!

Look around:

Thursday, August 14, 2014


NEW jewelry, (some vintage) JUST IN!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Well the first and second show at Top Hat Mercantile has come and gone and I think I am finally getting my sea legs back. Although I will be selling there on the first Friday weekend of every month, I am getting back to what I also love- hunting, shooting and posting items for you at

This weekend I have been diligently adding items to the online store; mostly vintage but with some popular items back in stock too. I am excited to announce that my newest venture, Tobacco Road, will be a new category on the website! This week I will send an email out announcing when it is full of vintage clothes, boots, bags, western baskets, beaded jewelry and more. I am really looking forward to your response on these items as it is near and dear to my heart. I love the west, country life, and all the accessories that go with it. I do believe there is a bit of pioneer woman in all of us!

Be sure to sign up to be the first to know here.

Let the shopping begin!

Monday, July 14, 2014


On July 4th, Curious Sofa returned to a new type of brick & mortar. Top Hat Mercantile opened on Independence Day to a line of customers waiting to see what all the fuss was about. I am happy to report we did not disappoint.

After 9 weeks of constant remodeling as well as buying new and old goods we were able to get down to what we really wanted to do- SELL SOMETHING! Take a look around at Curious Sofa's new home and as their hired Creative Director, allow me to brag a little about the design I am so proud of:

THE AFTER! A newly designed exterior with old school doors, transom window, larger than life sign and an iron deck with stairs and a ramp.
As you enter: A website search inspired me to design these silhouette heads and add the Beatles quote. Pam Renner tackled the project perfectly.
As you leave.
A Pinterest image inspired me to ask Paige Jenson to make this overhead lighting fixture from bicycle wheels for our entrance.
I ordered these top hat signs from a source I had then added our own signage. The guys secured them to our checkout counter.
Dealer April Spencer tackled the bathroom remodel by adding an industrial cabinet base, copper penny backsplash and another custom fixture from Paige made from plumber's pipe.

An old overhead projector came in handy as I painted this Mona Lisa on our back doors.
More signage for our downstairs departments.
The stairwell was lined with vintage photos with everyone wearing top hats and another graphic I designed to guide customers downstairs.
Pam found these metal lights which worked perfectly illuminating the stairwell.
Another found image of a circus group framed to hang in the stairwell.
Our best selling t-shirt of this dachshund is also painted on the lower level exit.
Random graphics of Kansas City landmarks were painted throughout. I asked my sister to do this one!

Top Hat owner Michael Renner showed up with his amazing new purchase which I have aptly named Red Rita. Look for her outside the shop every First Friday!

I couldn't help but add a little patriotic flare to the entrance.

I am especially proud of offering a Top Hat Gift Shop. It was fun curating this and ordering the custom signage.

And my Curious Sofa space goes neutral- of course!

Above, the tags I designed for my newest brainchild Tobacco Road: rustic workwear for men and women with some home goods tossed in.

A customer wandered by and we had to take this shot for Facebook!

 And below, a sampling of the graphics I designed for Top Hat.

This postcard using an old Victorian cabinet card portrait (yes! of a dog wearing a top hat) announces our arrival.

Another feminine version was designed as well.

The first Top Hat business card with our calendar on the back. These will change every season.

One of 5 Facebook ads I designed.

Top Hat tote bags.

I had the most fun gathering vintage t-shirts, then took to a local printer to do four different designs.

Our front door signage.

Large 24" signs were hung in the lower level showcasing our departments.

Fun tags we add to our Boneyard dept showing deep discounts.

Our return policy sign.

2" buttons all the dealers wear during the show.

And my baby, wondering when we're going home. Her third store opening!