SNOQUALMIE – Earlier this month, the quaint shops of Railroad Avenue welcomed a purveyor of old world charm as Mignone Interiors opened its topiary-trimmed doors.
The home furnishings shop was quickly embraced by Valley dwellers who have scarcely seen a store of Mignone’s kind in the area.
“People are very excited about it,” said owner Kristi Woods. “There’s definitely a need for it up here.”
While Woods and her husband Rick were building their home, Woods found the job of gathering supplies and furnishings directly from vendors to be easy and enjoyable.
“I thought, hey, I could do this myself,” Woods said. “It all just sort of snowballed.”
Somewhere between all the compliments and pleas from friends for home decorating advice, Woods realized she could make a business out of doing what she loved.
Woods’ partner, Sandy Salmon, helped her get the store started. The design mavens have been decorating together for years, ever since they met through the friendships of their children and husbands.
“More than anything, we’re doing this because it’s just a lot of fun,” Woods said.
Woods said choosing her location was simple. Driving past the storefront at 8150 Railroad Ave. S.E., she noticed the building was for rent and a call confirmed the price was right. The space, formerly home to Mark Ghaly’s Edward Jones investments office (which has since set up shop just behind Mignone), proved the perfect setting for a cozy little decor shop.
“The Ridge wanted so much for such a small space, it’d be difficult to survive,” Woods said. “I love the character of old Snoqualmie. Everything in this town is in transition. I think it will be amazing in a short time.”
An intoxicating cinnamon aroma is detectable while strolling past Mignone, but fragrant candles are hardly the only come-hither fare the shop showcases.
“I think what we have is unique, our style is unique,” Woods said.
Her store features the simple elegance of old-world European furnishings including rugs, furniture, draperies, custom pieces, mirrors, lighting – pretty much any piece your heart desires from whatever corner of the world it originates from.
“We can get anything,” Salmon said. “If you bring in a photo, generally we can get it for you.”
Mignone is ideal for finding small luxuries such as the softest bath mat known to man, but it is also capable of procuring items seen in European interior design magazines.
“We try to not get everything locally,” Woods said. “We try to find original pieces by contacting vendors directly. Next year we’ll start traveling to Europe to find new vendors.”
The 700-square-foot shop seems much larger than it is, with warmly textured walls and track lighting, not to mention a mood-setting sprinkling of delicate chandeliers. The ambiance takes on a Tuscany feel – not overly formal, but rustically chic and comfortable.
The style gurus hope to spread their gospel of the power of accessories to save rooms from a stark existence.
“So many people buy furniture and stop at that. It’s amazing how much a room can transform with just a few things,” Woods said. “It’s such a crazy world right now, it’s nice to have a warm house to come home to. People are more into fixing up their homes right now; it’s kind of their sanctuary.”
Mignone’s grand opening event will take place Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a special appearance by Bill Racic of “The Apprentice” from 1-4 p.m. Racic, who was chosen as Donald Trump’s apprentice after the first season of the hit reality show, is a good friend of Woods’ husband, Rick.
Other grand opening events will include hors d’oeuvres from Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano, Mignone’s new neighbor.
Mignone also does co-marketing with Home Theater Northwest, which builds framed mirror plasma televisions and plasma pop-up televisions. Soon, Mignone will offer a consignment service on its Web site and through an in-store catalogue that allows individuals to sell fine furnishings that don’t fit their homes any longer.
In addition, Mignone is teaming up with artist Michele Rushworth and hopes to feature new local artists regularly.
Woods and Salmon encourage customers to come down and look through their decorating books themselves. “If people know what they like and want to do it themselves, we welcome that.” In-house licensed designer Rachael Barrett is also on hand at Mignone to assist customers.
“Mignone” is Woods’ middle name and comes from the French phrase “elle est si mignonne,” which means “she’s so petite/cute.” The store’s name is partly a tribute to Woods’ late French father, who always supported her in her life’s work.
“I lost him five years ago in a plane crash. I wanted to celebrate him, he’d always been so supportive of everything I did,” Woods said.
Mignone Interiors is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. Woods and Salmon can meet customers in their homes or at the shop. Call (425) 888-1950 for more information or visit www.mignoneinteriors.com.