Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Carter Averbeck of Omforme Design
Even a rebel needs an address.
Carter Averbeck has built his career on being a nonconformist—it’s at the very heart of his furniture designs, sold under the name Omforme, which means “to transform” in Norwegian. Known for taking beat-up furniture from dump yard to penthouse, Averbeck spent years “popping up” around town with his reimagined chairs and tables (think: 19th century settee reupholstered in vibrant orange and pink velvet) before finally settling into a Lowry Hill East storefront one year ago.
That consistent presence at 24th and Lyndale has not only boosted sales of his own designs, but it’s also led other local furniture designers—they’re coming out of the woodwork, so to speak—to Omforme, which is evolving into a showroom for points of view as diverse as French Revolution and steampunk. Now Averbeck complements his own restored designs with new pieces, like black walnut tables by local maker Nick Thompson and Aaron Brand’s funky chandeliers, made of objects as unexpected as food graters.
“Carter is directly responsible for putting me on the map in whatever small way I currently enjoy,” says Ross Mackert, another local lighting and furniture designer currently featured at Omforme. “There may be other shops that would accept my work, but I don’t know if they would work as hard on my behalf.”
Connecting with clients is gratifying for Averbeck. “It’s been really fulfilling to have people come into the shop and say they’ve been following me on the web, and now they can shop here.”
Averbeck is leading a charge among local businesses to brand the area LoHi, sending out newsletters and teaming up for events.
“We adore having Omforme as a neighbor,” says Roger Barrett, co-owner of the home store Pharmacie at 28th and Lyndale. “Carter’s up-cycling concept is a great complement to our notion of featuring small independent designers—and we’ve been able to share customers, which is great for us both.”
One of the best ways neighbors show their respect for Averbeck’s craft: by leaving junky old furniture at Omforme’s door. That’s fine by Averbeck, who keeps count on his website: 380 pieces restored; 5,900 pounds saved from landfills.
Omforme is open weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekdays by appointment.
613 W. 24th St., Mpls., 855-663-6763, omformedesign.com