Both Kevin Miller and Herbert Acevedo have always been passionate about creating beautiful spaces. They used to live and work in Marblehead, with a weekend retreat in Wellfleet, but by 2005 had had enough of the commute: it was time to move to the Cape for good. Kevin worked for a design/build firm in Chatham while Herbert was at Cottage in Provincetown; they purchased the building where they are now in 2011. “We were fortunate to have a couple of good interior design-clients who were our angels,” remembers Acevedo.
Where did the name come from? “Well,” says Miller, “The business is right here along the shore. We wanted something that felt light and happy, and a friend came up with this great beachy logo. It just felt easy and made us smile.”
Their work makes other people smile, too. The retail location on Commercial Street next to the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House feels like a home, and every day there are people gathering there on the porch or terrace under the tree to relax and chat. The guys like the retail location for other reasons: “It lends itself well to our design clients,” Acevedo says. “It works as a showroom: they can touch and feel objects, textiles, see how things look together.” The place is always fresh. “We try to avoid reordering the same items. That way there’s always something new and surprising for people to see. It’s also a laboratory for us to try things out.”
Most of their time and energy is devoted to interior design. “We’re not as fancy as the store,” says Miller and laughs. “It can be fun to do a small space. You have to be more creative in a smaller space. We’re eclectic, not elitest.”
They start with a consultation at the client’s house where they learn likes, dislikes, the period of furnishings, and style. This isn’t just about assessing needs; “it’s a conversation,” says Miller. “We get to see their personality, and from that we create an idea book together.” Following that critical initial conversation they’ll work up a contract with an estimate of the hours for the design of each room, listing services and fees provided. A reasonable time from start to finish is nine months to a year.
And at the end? “We do it soup to nuts,” says Acevedo. “When we’re done you can walk right in: everything’s ready to go with towels, lighting, bedding—everything!”
“We like to re-use when possible—it doesn’t have to be brand new, we like to mix new and old, vintage, antiques it all can mix in. If they have special pieces, collections, etc. we can build a room around that,” says Miller. And the ideal Shor client? “Someone who knows what they like but are open to something unexpected,” says Miller. “We try to push the boundaries of clients’ comfort zones so they can think outside the box. That’s what makes a truly dynamic space.”
Clearly it works. “Some of our clients, we’ve done four houses for them,” says Acevedo. “Almost all of our work comes from referrals—clients are happy and they send us their friends and neighbors.” They’ve also done homes in NYC and Florida for Provincetown clients who liked what Shor did on their second home in Ptown.
What do they do when they’re not designing? “We go to furniture shows! We love to shop! It’s tiring, but we only buy things that we like. We like to mix things up. There’s always a story, a thread, that we might not have even seen. We make frequent trips to the design center so we can see what new styles are available, flooring, tile, etc. It’s educational every time we go there.”
Miller’s favorite moment is “once we do the installation and the initial walk-through with the client, and when they see it. For a moment like that, it’s important to try to do the total installation. Otherwise the whole story isn’t there, it’s not a complete sentence yet.” Acevedo, for his part, loves the transformational process. “We’re enhancing people’s way of life,” he says. “Home has to make them feel comfortable and beautiful, and still be functional for guests. The transformation can be in your heart, it makes you feel good, it makes you smile.”
Telling a story through furniture, fabrics, and accessories. It’s what Shor Home Furnishings and Interior Design is all about.