Curated, edgy, conversational, one-of-a-kind—these are just a few words that describe the look, feel, and experience at Hearts & Fire furniture and décor boutique located in Rockbrook Village. Owned by mother/daughter team Lori Kirkpatrick and Tahnee Chedel, Hearts & Fire specializes in custom furniture and artisan-made pieces in a mix of vintage and modern styles that attract customers from across the country who want their homes to express their vivid, individual personalities.
After raising her family in North Platte, NE, Kirkpatrick moved to Arizona where she managed a furniture and décor boutique and then opened her own called Dos Corazones, which means Two Hearts—symbolic of the love between her and her husband. Meanwhile, Chedel lived in Omaha as a marketing professional but spent her vacation accompanying her mother on buying trips for the boutique. Each experience reawakened a passion for interior design that Chedel had from a young age and now shares with Kirkpatrick.
The pair also shared a dream of one day owning a store together, but it didn’t seem feasible due to living in separate cities. However, Kirkpatrick surprised her daughter when she announced on Chedel’s wedding day that she and her husband had decided to move to Omaha to be closer to the family. “The day they announced they were moving back, we knew we were going to open a store together,” Chedel said.
The 4,000 sq. ft. boutique opened in October 2018. “Our goal was to curate a distinctive look and experience for Omaha filled with color, cutting-edge style, and inspiration-provoking items for those seeking out the next treasure to incorporate into their home,” Kirkpatrick said. “We were confident that Omaha would fall in love with the artisans we had sourced and established relationships with over the years. Omaha has gone crazy for them.”
Chedel and Kirkpatrick attend every major market across the country: Dallas, Atlanta, Las Vegas, New York City, High Point, NC, and visit smaller markets in Mexico. They approach these shows by seeking out pieces that likely aren’t sold anywhere else in Omaha. “We don’t know what we’re looking for until we go,” Kirkpatrick said. “We cover every square inch of the shows because you never know what you might find.” They move through the vendors quickly, starting early and staying late. They also visit the smaller vendors off the beaten path—anything that helps them to keep their offerings distinct.
Hearts & Fire purchases from a number of artists in Mexico who specialize in items such as hand-carved wood, hand-blown glass, and custom metal work. Kirkpatrick has even collaborated with artists to create the perfect piece for clients. Some of their favorite fabrics include cowhide, leather, velvet, and faux fur for a luxurious tactile experience. Every piece of furniture in the boutique has been fully vetted by the pair at market as well. “We’re very particular about quality, so we don’t order furniture without seeing it, feeling, it, and interacting with it at market first,” Kirkpatrick said.
Purchasing curated pieces for individual sale is one part of the Hearts & Fire business model. The majority of the boutique’s business comes from working with clients to design entire spaces in their homes, which is also Kirkpatrick and Chedel’s favorite aspect. The process starts with a visit to the client’s home to observe their style and determine if they want to keep it, change it, or design around a favorite item such as artwork. Kirkpatrick and Chedel take measurements of the space and then spend hours choosing furniture pieces, fabrics, and décor.
Kirkpatrick said they don’t have a typical look or style they follow. Rather, they enjoy bending the rules and finding those fun, daring items that reflect a client’s personality. “Our clients come to us ready for a change but don’t know how to put together a look that represents them,” she said. “We love seeing the transformation that clients experience when they first see the fun, bold pieces we present, to when they see the finished concept months later and fall in love with their new space.”
Unlike most interior decorators who charge for their time by the hour, Hearts & Fire charges a retainer for services that is then applied toward items ordered. Chedel explained that this method allows them to design an entire space from the bottom up without charging a separate fee. “Purchasing an entire room of furniture can be overwhelming, so this provides the client with a level of reassurance that we will help them from start to finish,” she said. “We give them an individual experience and help ensure their furniture suits their style and will stand the test of time.”
The boutique recently celebrated its four-year anniversary with a large event and typically holds three to four events each year that bring in clients from across the country. Kirkpatrick and Chedel’s next goal is to develop a design center where they can house fabric samples, have a presentation space, and invite other designers to collaborate on projects. They’d also like to create an e-commerce site for online orders.
For now, the co-owners encourage everyone to experience the boutique, which includes a complimentary glass of champagne, lively music, and an inviting space to sit back and relax or catch a game on TV for spouses who may prefer that over browsing. The boutique has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for modern or rustic, from a simple gift to custom-designed pieces.
Chedel described walking through the boutique as a journey of discovery that requires several laps to absorb everything it has to offer. Kirkpatrick added, “You don’t want to miss an opportunity to experience Hearts & Fire. Once you do, you’ll feel like you’re at home and will want to come back again and again.”
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