Five Questions with … Mary Liz Curtin

Photograph By Josh Marx

Though Clawson’s Leon & Lulu is owned by a husband-and-wife team, their names are not Leon and Lulu. Instead, owners Mary Liz Curtin and Stephen Scannell named the store after the family pets. Since opening in the former Ambassador Roller Rink in 2006, the 15,000-square-foot space has been filled with a quirky mix of gifts, accessories, and furnishings. Recently, Curtin took the time to answer a few of our questions.

As far as trends go, what are you seeing now?

Customers are looking for great design, good value, and a fun shopping experience. They’re more interested than ever in items made by American craftspeople and we often hear that they’re thrilled to shop in independent, locally owned businesses. Since many people are staying in their houses rather than moving, there’s an increased interest in home décor and comfort. Entertaining at home is going to be very popular this year, so your house should look great.

How do you keep things fresh?

My husband and I love to shop for the store. New product arrives almost daily, so there’s always something interesting to see. We also rearrange the floor and move things constantly, keeping the store crisp. At home, a new piece of art or a few accessories will give the house an entire new look. Of course, there’s nothing like fresh flowers to give any space a cheerful lift.

When you think of style constants in your life, what are they?

Bright colors, clean design, and a sense of humor. I try to keep the basics in both my home and wardrobe simple, so I can add lots of accessories. Our house is filled with folk art, lots of texture, and found items.

What companies or labels do you love right now?

I’m wild for Troll Beads. The beads are beautiful and every one tells a story. I also love Architectural Images, a company that uses pictures of architectural elements to make letters, which are then framed to spell words. Their work is unusual and compelling.

Finally, if you had to choose one thing to buy this season, what would it be?

My No. 1 one pick is a throw from Textillery, designed by Judith Rose and hand woven in Bloomington, Ind. Her designs are gorgeous and there are styles for every décor. A sofa without a throw is just not quite fully dressed.

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