In 800 square feet in the historic Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, interior designer Greg Morris has realized a dream.
“My goal has always been to open my own shop,” recalled the stylish Mr. Morris on a recent winter afternoon.
The graduate of Kent State University with more than 20 years of experience in interior design shared his beginnings in the field as he sat perched atop an antique stool alongside a table of industrial lamps. Both were showcased at wine&design, the shop he opened with partner Dan Rensel on Starkweather Avenue nearly five years ago.
It was at Harrison’s Fine Furnishings in Lakewood where he began his career, Mr. Morris explained, working as one of about eight interior designers before a brief stint at Arhaus Furniture.
He went on to operate his interior design business out of the Tremont home he shares with Mr. Rensel before opening wine&design, where the name is made clear in a vast array of home furnishings, including rugs, artwork and lighting and gift items, as well as Mr. Morris’ and Mr. Rensel’s other love, wine.
While the couple’s dog Sobe snoozed on a tiny bed in the corner of the shop beneath a contemporary piece of art bursting with brilliant color, Mr. Morris joked that his love of all things creative dates back to much earlier days. “It was ingrained at a young age,” he said of his love of design. He distinctly recalls remodeling his own room as a child, painting and changing things around constantly and even redoing his parent’s living room. At the time, he had no idea that he could turn that creative outlet into a career.
He went on to do just that, amassing clients nationwide and working with vendors from all over the country, supporting as many local artists as possible, to create interior spaces that fit each client’s needs, developing a design they can enjoy for years to come.
He is able to keenly get a sense of his client’s own style and, if they are not able to identify it, he melds his own personal style to create living spaces that are both functional and beautiful. He labels his own style as rustic contemporary, coupling clean lines, upholstered furniture and contemporary artwork with a mix of rustic wood pieces and accessories to soften the look.
Mr. Morris’ range when it comes to interior design is vast. “I can do anything from formal and traditional to French country, mid-century, contemporary and everything in between,” he said.
While most of his clients have a good sense of what they like and don’t like, they may have a problem executing that. In working with his clients, Mr. Morris provides a range of services, from choosing paint colors in an already furnished home, to starting from scratch, working with a builder in conjunction with the client.
He takes on projects of all scope and size, labeling some of the most exciting ones of late a remodel of a townhouse in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Art District. “The owner gave me free reign” and desired the look to be warm yet contemporary, which Mr. Morris expertly carried out in the narrow space.
“Every project is different and every client is different,” and that’s just the way he likes it.
Mr. Morris proudly supports as many local artists as possible, regularly showcasing their work in his shop. He works with vendors all over the country, with his main upholstered line by Younger Furniture out of North Carolina. He also regularly works with dealers in Los Angeles.
He keeps abreast of all of the latest styles by attending trade and furniture shows all over the country, as well as spotting things on his travels. But he doesn’t go along with trends. “I go with what’s current, but not necessarily trendy,” he said. As a result, Mr. Morris designs spaces that have a timeless look.
He and Mr. Rensel’s favorite travel destination is Miami Beach without a doubt, he said. They love it so much, they have a second home there that boasts white walls with lots of gray. “I love the art deco” look there, Mr. Morris said. “Every space you go into, whether it is a restaurant or hotel, they push the envelope with interior design.”
Back at home, Mr. Morris opts for lots of color (as Cleveland is often “gray,” he said with a laugh) and a rustic, contemporary look.
While he decorates all sorts of spaces, his favorites are living spaces such as great rooms and living rooms.
What’s the future of wine&design?
“I would love to have a bigger space and show more furniture,” he said with a warm smile. “Cleveland is such a big arts community.”
Visit wine&design at 751 Starkweather Avenue, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216.781.8000.
(Photographs by Rob Wetzler)
By SUE REID