219 E. Commercial St., Springfield
Open by appointment only*
Springfield’s C-Street might as well stand for Creative Street with the number of creative types that officially and unofficially set up shop there. So it came as no surprise when a new full-service interior design firm specializing in residential work moved into the space previously occupied by Pin Up Salon.
Walking into Refine Studios is like walking into a cozy, perfectly Instagrammable living room that you never want to leave. Pillows and throws invite you to lounge in the chairs, couches and beds neatly arranged around the store. Exposed brick at the front of the store meets crisp white walls that offer a modern feel. Several ornate chandeliers hang from the imprinted ceiling, which is commonplace in buildings on Commercial Street. Succulents are everywhere in the store. They sit on nearly every tabletop and even on several white wall-mounted shelves near the cash register. The more you look, the more you’ll find.
Charity Evans, a 25-year-old Monett native, is the mastermind behind this chic, bohemian wonderland. Evans moved to Orlando after graduating from Missouri State University and worked at Marc-Michaels Interior Design. She continued to work remotely for the company after moving back to Springfield in 2015 but also started working on projects of her own.
In November 2015, the first iteration of Refine was up and running. In January, Evans opened the brick-and-mortar storefront under a different name, which she decided to change for personal reasons. She searched for something new and found it in one word: refine. “The definition of it is to polish, to perfect, to make small changes, and that’s kind of what I had to do is just perfect it and make these small changes to make it better,” Evans says.
One of those changes includes embracing the small business community around her. “Being a small business owner, I know how hard it is, and I realized that after I started the store,” Evans says. “Eventually we would like for everything to support all the other businesses in Springfield.” Evans started by hosting monthly workshops (the first was in May) on topics like succulent-building and watercolors led by local artists and makers. The store now also stocks handmade pillows, locally made pottery and handmade wall decor.
The Stuff for Sale
Refining also reflects Evans’ process when working with clients. “You go in, and you take out the unwanted elements, and you perfect it,” she says. Although she has two employees, Evans is currently the only designer on the team. As a full-service designer, Evans manages projects from start to finish. This includes selecting paint, materials, furniture and accessories as well as creating floor plans, layouts and other construction documents for any given job. Her recent work includes a first-floor remodel and a redesign of a teenage girl’s bedroom, but she has done lots of work on kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms.
The store itself is home to mostly refurbished furniture that Evans and her team rehab themselves. She finds most of the items in Kansas City but visits Springfield flea markets and shops online, too. You can also order custom furniture that’s made in Springfield using local materials. Refine stocks rugs from multiple vendors including Loloi, Jaipur Living and Surya, lighting from Arteriors and Zou Modern and home goods from Magnolia Home.
Part home goods store, part design firm, Refine Studios is a perfect destination for DIYers and people wanting a more professional touch. Expect to see the store continue to evolve in the coming months and years. We imagine little changes will continue to make it better and better.
*Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new hours for the store.