It may appear difficult to pick the most unique aspect of Hunt & Gather. Is it the unrivaled selection of curated vintage items? The amazing candles that give off a warm glow and relaxing scent? Or is it Harper, the rescued shop dog, who greets each guest with the tenderest of sniffs and nudges? I think it might be Harper.
When I met Kelley Howley, she made it clear that her shop was about making her customers feel at home. Open since December 6th, 2012, each piece in Howley’s store is carefully selected with her discerning eye to fit into the shop’s appeasing aesthetic, and hopefully, into your home.
Howley studied business and higher education, but the lack of a formal design degree is not apparent in her shop or home, featured on the popular lifestyle blog, A Beautiful Mess. From the East side of Michigan, she moved here for school and quickly fell in love with Grand Rapids’ charm, and decided to plant her roots. As she began decorating her home, friends complimented her style, which prompted her to start selling vintage wares at a booth in a popular local vintage shop. Soon, her desire to create a name for herself in the design world transpired into Hunt & Gather.
When she “hunts,” she looks for home decor with a modern flare and good bones. She trusts her instincts to pick pieces that will sell in the shop, and her perfectionist side to create appeasing displays. She never, ever settles for anything she doesn’t love. “I want you to fell like you’re walking into my mind,” she says of her store.
Her shop is self described as “hard to categorize.” Certainly not a full blown antiques shop (all items in the shop, aside from a few locally and artisianally made pieces, are Howley’s, and not purchased booth spaces), Hunt & Gather focuses on stocking high quality vintage pieces that appeal to the modern shopper. As Howley explains, “Why go to Target and buy a brass deer head when you can buy a better made version that will last you forever here?”
Although it might look like Hunt & Gather exclusively sells gorgeous wooden dressers, brass figurines, and unique art, Howley says its so much more. “I’m selling a modern vintage aesthetic here,” she says of her store’s look.
Her ultimate goal of Hunt & Gather is to showcase her design services, which ranges from a simple consultation with recommendation to full blown renovations. “I used to think that everyone could design a space, but then I realized it was a special skill that I had,” she said.
Her services are designed to be affordable, fun, and meet clients needs. Although she will work with any aesthetic, she is most excited about clients who favor rich tones, polished wood, and stunning vintage brass. Her most recent client was the Sigma Kappa house at Grand Valley State University, where she was able to design and decorate all the living spaces for the girls. She has also designed rooms for clients as far away as Seattle, who sought her out after her feature on ABM.
So whether you are looking for a new dresser to store your treasures in, or maybe just some inspiration to get your gears turning, stop on into Hunt & Gather in Grand Rapids, and give Harper a hug while you’re at it.