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Comments Off on Chestnut Hill Local On the Avenue March 2006

New Hill furniture store the ‘Host’ with the most

by PAT STOKES

One of the most exhilarating retail events to hit the Hill recently is the arrival of an honest-to-goodness furniture store, yep, right here in our midst at 7946 Germantown Ave., on the southwest corner at Willow Grove Ave. “Host” opened its doors just weeks ago, in mid-February.
On entering this warmly beautiful interior, you feel immediately at home and get that old “I want everything in here” feeling. The colors on the walls are delicious and Doug Reinke, the owner, described them with knowledge and sensitivity based on a background in fine arts. It’s a scheme based on neutralized tones that work marvelously together: ochre (a color I like to call gray-yellow), burnt copper and darkish moss green. Against these shades the dark wood cabinets and their displays of silver picture frames, vases and other silver accessories stand out strikingly.
A collection of club chairs, arranged as several seating areas, are covered in rich brown leather, tomato red fabric or natural color fiber. Underneath are rugs of sea grass or sisal, bound in cotton, linen or leather in colors to blend with the color scheme of it room.
And whence doth all this knowhow spring? It would seem to have evolved from the training/ cum / experience of Doug himself in which bits and pieces coalesced into the ability to establish, shape and develop a home furnishing business conforming to the needs of today’s homeowners.
Doug hails from the good old Midwest, an area which has introduced many a musician, writer, artist and designer. In his early days at Trenton State College Doug studied art, aspiring to be an illustrator, but being a person of many talents, he found ways to diversify: he was art director at New York University for a time; he started a newspaper for a Wall Street firm; then started his own graphic design business. Some of his clients operated home furnishing businesses, so of course he took photo shoots and designed their catalogues and advertising.

All this led to co-owning a furnishings store in the Lehigh Valley. Totally hooked, he decided he wanted to have his own small store that he could manage by himself.
“Although much of my training and work has been in graphics, which is a two-dimensional art form,” he points out, “choosing and arranging large pieces such as furniture is, to me, graphics in 3D.”
So let’s look at the furniture. The club chairs (extremely comfortable) are from Lee Industries in South Carolina. They aren’t turned out on an assembly line, but in the trade are known as “bench made” (the frames), with springs that are hand-tied. Customers may order from the floor model, to be upholstered in his/her own material, or may choose from a large selection I of fabric samples to be taken and I tried at home.
A great looking dining table in dark wood is in a style Doug calls mid-century modern, from the ’40s and ’50s, currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity. Picking up on the general upbeat character of the entire place is the background music … classical ’50s and ’60s jazz. If you like what you’re hearing, you can buy any CD from his collection, right there.
Doug tells me he likes to focus on the idea of entertaining. Hence he includes white pottery serving pieces for dining or cocktail time; cocktail napkins in pretty, solid colors, books on wine and glassware and bowls elegantly rimmed in pewter. Different!
Then there are the pillows. Pillows are in, folks, as if you didn’t know. A few tossed on your present sofa can definitely give it new éclat. Doug mentioned that he sold out all of his pillows the first week he opened. I mustn’t forget to include here the Guy Wolff pottery, from simple cachepots for your indoor plants to the terra cotta types for the terrace. If you’re planning a bit of spiff-up for spring, here’s the place to start, at the Host with the Most. Phone 215-967-1196.

See you on the Avenue.