Not all the construction around here is on big buildings, although the activity at Point Ruston and the Commencement is music to many local ears. Just across Pearl Street, a labor of love is transforming the former Oak Brother’s Antique building into a new home for Wren & Willow, Inc. Owner Laureen Skrivan started the company as an interior designer, but soon expanded to general contracting with the help of partner Cliff Kendall. She offers a unique perspective as a woman-owned business in a male dominated field. She not only carries a keen eye for design and space, but is passionate about staying true to the history of a building.
Laureen has put that passion to full use as she builds her own office. The space will be part gallery, part office, part meeting space, part showroom and all around beautiful. “When we are hired, our job is to tell our clients story. This building is our chance to tell our own story.” That story will transport visitors back to 1917, the year the building was first constructed. Laureen’s attention to detail is evident in her research into the building history and authentic design for everything from lighting to flooring.
The new office uses the full building, requiring the removal of a false wall that once cut the building in half. The new layout is shown below, with a wide entrance that will feature displays not only of Wren & Willow’s work, but a large fireplace and other pieces that take advantage of the big windows to attract foot traffic through the door. Laureen said her goal to make the office an inviting place to stop and chat. She hopes to eventually offer the space for small-scale community meetings, envisioning something like local history fireside chats and more.
Wren & Willow began in a small office in the Proctor district. They looked for bigger space in that area casually for a couple of years, but when the financing fell through on an offer near their old office Laureen decided to follow up on the “For Sale” sign in the Oak Brothers window. She said she was eating breakfast at Ruston Inn shortly after the Proctor deal collapsed, staring out the window across Pearl Street when the sale sign jumped out at her. The owner agreed to carry the contract and the new story for Wren & Willow is unfolding as time and finances permit.
The company is busy, but there is always room for more clients Laureen says. Wren & Willow focus on remodels, additions and tenant improvements, along with interior design. They hope to complete the front of the new office by summer with an awning and sign, and move into the building by late fall. They are excited to part of the Ruston-area and hope to grow their business as the community grows. Stop by to read the history page (copied below), watch progress and welcome our new neighbor.