Local Interior Designer Opens Fabric Row Boutique

Christina Henck’s new Fourth Street showroom lets you see what she can do for your home before she does it.

henck design showroom living room ensemble

Imagine this living room in your living room. You can experience it all the way live at the new Henck Design showroom on Fabric Row. | Photos: Henck Design

Sure, you can read the design magazines, browse through catalogs, watch the HGTV shows, visit the home-decor and interior-designer websites and peruse home and design sections like this one in order to fill your head with ideas about what you’d like your home to look like.

Then you could consult with an interior designer in order to get the look.

Or if you’re on a budget, you could just go down to Ikea and look at their model furnished rooms, then walk out with a bunch of furniture to assemble.

Interior designer Christina Henck has taken a page from the Ikea playbook, only with better furniture. Her new office and showroom on Queen Village’s famed Fabric Row lets you see how she will give your home a look you’ll like.

Like most interior designers, Henck has a distinctive design sensibility but works with many different suppliers to source her furnishings and decorative objects. The purpose of the showroom is to let you see, feel and touch how everything fits together.

furniture and objects on display

Many of the items on display in the Henck Design showroom you can take home with you. The designer also had some books made up that display sayings she lives by on their spines. One of her favorites, on the shelves at left, comes from Coco Chanel: “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”

Henck’s main inspiration for the showroom comes from her profession; interior designers usually shop at showrooms open only to the design trade. “Usually, the companies that have showrooms are the actual furniture vendors,” she says. “Then you have some mixed-vendor showrooms where they’ll show you a Vanguard, they’ll show you a Baker, they’ll show you a Bernhardt, and it’s all mashed together under the umbrella of that one showroom.

”That’s kind of what we’re doing, but I think it’s warmer, more relatable, and we have cash-and-carry stuff,” says Henck.

And there’s also the fact that the furniture is displayed in ensemble room-like settings. Here her cues come not as much from Ikea as from the high-end furniture retailers in Old City that show off their product lines in room-like ensembles.

But the difference here is that the ensembles have been put together with a professional designer’s eye, and customers can meet with her while in the showroom to get advice on how to give their rooms the style they see around them.

dresser and ottoman with beach grass

Furnishings from local artists and nationally known manufacturers coexist peacefully in the showroom along with touches of nature like the California beach grass and potted plant in this display.

You’ll find more greenery and natural accents at Henck Design than you will at most furniture showrooms. That’s another extension of the proprietor’s personality. Neutral colors abound in the settings on display, which combine a contemporary sensibility with a touch of the outdoors. Plants like California beach grass add to the West Coast vibe, which Henck, who grew up on the Gulf Coast, personally favors.

“The showroom is a visual representation of who I’ve become as a designer up to this point,” Henck says.

It’s also designed to express her philosophy that home should make you and your guests feel comfortable and relaxed. “I always reference Maya Angelou’s saying — ‘People don’t remember what you say, they remember the way you make them feel,’”

She also features furniture and artwork from local designers and artists whose work you probably won’t run into in Old City. She prefers working with artists who don’t show at the major galleries.

den ensemble

The color palette in the showroom is designed to be neutral and natural, but Henck isn’t afraid to use color to good effect.

The daughter of an architect, Henck has had an artistic bent since she was a young girl in Gulfport, Miss. After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, however, she decided that the East Coast would make a better base from which to launch a career in design.

“I graduated from college and immediately moved to Philadelphia, thinking it would be a stepping stone to New York, and I fell in love” with the city, she says. She has no regrets about not having gone on to New York: between the desire for a more affordable place to live and the flight of well-off residents from the city in search of more room, New Yorkers have been coming to her.

Henck’s showroom makes her a standout among interior designers, who usually work out of offices or their homes and don’t offer furniture a la carte. Thus, by opening the showroom, Henck also gets the best of both worlds: She can offer unique designer furniture, fabrics and objects to the general public, who might never have been able to find out about them otherwise, at retail on a cash-and-carry basis. But she also gets to offer the same stuff and even more at substantial discounts to clients who utilize her design services.

henck design showroom storefront

The Henck Design showroom storefront on South Fourth Street in Queen Village

The Henck Design showroom formally threw its doors open to the public this past Wednesday (July 1st) with a virtual grand opening party. While the very sociable designer hopes to be able to host in-person parties in her space someday, for now, those wishing to experience Henck Design in person should simply follow the CDC social distancing guidelines and visit the shop at 733 S. 4th St. (at Pemberton Street) on Fabric Row in Queen Village.

The Henck Design website offers more about Henck and her projects than can fit into the showroom, but in the showroom, you get an up-close-and-personal, tactile experience that the web can’t deliver. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with Henck to discuss your design needs, call her at 215-239-3045.