Best New Showroom: Kohler
Among the flurry of retail openings this year, Kohler really blew us out of the bathwater. From tubs filled with champagne bottles at the opening to the stunning freestanding fixtures and the punchy Jonathan Adler sinks, this place makes a statement.
Best Retail Comeback: Cost Plus World Market
Yes, you blinked and it reappeared. This worldly retailer of home accents, furniture, and foodstuff is back after a three-year hiatus—and in its exact same digs. At the grand reopening, fans were ecstatic that they no longer had to drive to Des Moines and Madison for their fix.
Comparing it to a Brooklyn boutique is beneath us. But that won't stop us from making this the first stop on a local shopping tour with friends from New York. The spare corner space with exposed brick, wood beams, and a delightfully woodsy aroma is the perfect backdrop for the stylishly simple assortment of tabletop accessories and textiles.
Best New Office Space: Olson Agency (Ford Center's New Look)
Set on the top floors of the recently restored Ford Center, Olson agency is making us crave our own makeover. Designed by Gensler, the cushy board-rooms and well-lit lunchrooms inspire good ideas—as do their personalized glassware and creative neighbors, HGA Architects and Caldrea.
Best Woodworker: Willie Willette
We keep spying gorgeous custom, modern furniture in homes on photo shoots, and so often the incredible pieces are tied to this clever guy. williewilletteworks.com
Best Wallpaper Hanger: Kurt Peterson
This guy is proof that wallpaper is here to stay. He's constantly busy with huge designer projects and little bitty rooms. If you need a pro, Peterson's your man. 651-485-1806
Best Renovating Star: Nicole Curtis
The single mom and star of HGTV-DIY's Rehab Addict
tackles some of the grittiest projects in town, salvaging historic properties and bringing them back to life. The community—and her (nearly) 20,000 Facebook fans—thank her. nicolecurtisdesign.com
This quirky newbie is winning indie hearts with its mission to bring together Midwest designers, builders, and artists. Find furniture, accents, and plenty of local love.
Best Accessories Designers: Jennifer Wight and Julie Driscoll
We started seeing their darling Belle Vache leather bags and cuff bracelets a couple of years ago. Then they added Furbellish, a wide-ranging line of recycled fur products including luxe Christmas stockings, footstools, cell phone cases, and vintage jewelry. This year they also opened Crowned Cottage, an occasional shop in New Market. And, oh yeah, they do decorative and faux painting. No wonder they call themselves My Sister & I, Inc. mysisterandiinc.com
Best New Neighborhood Anchor in Uptown: CB2
Huge windows, cool lights, and clever displays transformed this corner into a hip hub. cb2.com
Best Mod Furnishings in Uptown: Roam Interiors
The local shop for Blu Dot offers gifts, home accents, and furniture from all the essential modern brands and a few surprises. roaminteriors.com
Best New Modern Accessories Shop: Jonathan Adler
This happy corner shop is a bright, colorful, cheeky, addition. jonathanadler.com