Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's in a Ruehl?

Last weekend the girls and I ventured to the Galleria to find sandals from Melisa before her big cruise at the end of the month. We hopped store to store to store, stopping at our favorites until we came along a new addition to the mall venues: Ruehl No. 925, (pronounced Rule). The exterior of the store looked like a row of old Brooklyn brownstones, squished together with iron gates and window boxes, complete with seasonally appropriate greenery.

Knowing that I wouldn't care for the clothes, I could help but be slightly interested in the interior design of the place, curious of what lurked among it's dark (and I mean DARK) halls. So we moved in, immediately greeted by a bouncer. Yes - A Bouncer! Was this a club?

Long halls lit only by track lighting that resembled fresnels stage lighting with shutters only on the small scale, featured dark charcoal walls and ceilings, gorgeous hardwood floors in a warm cherry finish, and strategically placed area rugs and leaning wall art. Oversized lampshades and paper lanterns covered bare bulb pendant fixtures and were dotted throughout the store.

The more I explored, the more I thought of the little gambrel on our street that I kept urging Scott to let me buy. Granted, these walls were dark. Very dark, but the overall feel of the store did feel like a home - an expensive, well decorated, dark home. I could see the walls of that little house painted in a deep charcoal, the ceiling adorned with these beautiful track lights. Hardwood floors adorned with beautiful kilim rugs and black and white art framed in chunky black frames with wide white mats leaning against the wall.
I don't know that I could live like this daily - but a walk through sure tempted my design senses!
The cash registers are located in the "garage" of the complex, next to the covered patio which is complete with club like lounging space. Who would go into Ruehl to chat is beyond me, especially since they keep the music so loud no voices could be heard - without shouting of course.

The handbags, jeans, gloves, and scarves are all layered onto these beautiful hardwood bookshelves in sections of the living areas of the store. Deep charcoal turns to deep cloudy blue and then do a deep sage green as you move your way in and around the store. A mirrored hallway, complete with spot lights is almost begging for a cat-walk - but I did resist.

Super large, overscale pieces - like this lampshade are found throughout the store, atop tables and benches, providing just enough muted light to see where you're going. The clothing is highlighted by the track fixtures and several hanging pin lights.

So, not having a single itch to buy a stitch of the overpriced clothing Ruehl sells, I do have this comment to make on their interior design - lovely. Dark, but lovely!

23 comments:

  1. Dear Artie: Maybe you will think I am from 'The Dark Ages' as I detest poorly lit showrooms.....of any kind and I don't give a hoot how lovely they are. Da*n it, I want to see exactly what I am purchasing....smiles.

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  2. Okay, that is the most unusual clothing store I've ever seen in my life! Did you friend buy anything from there? I don't dare even ask how much one of those purses cost!

    Justine :o )

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  3. First I want to say that I am glad that you resisted the "cat walk"... And then I want to say how much I enjoyed the tour! I am sure that is as close to the store as I will ever come. thanks

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  4. Hi Artie...hmmm, very interesting to say the least... ;-) Bo

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  5. Oh Artie, I love it for the artful way of displaying. I would love to shop there. Kathy

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  6. That does look interesting but confusing. I'm not sure I would be comfortable shopping there.

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  7. I agree 100% with Mrs. Ben about wanting to see what I'm purchasing. I suppose it's suppose to be for atmosphere, but give me good lighting any day!

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  8. What a fascinating store...at least your trip there wasn't a total waste of time!

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  9. Interesting post, Artie.

    I'm one of those folks who pays attention to detail. Sometimes, it's a curse rather than blessing. You should hear some of my conversations with painter guy, this week, as he transforms the island. I "see" what this will look like when it's finished. Of course this leads to my "seeing" other things I want done, before he leaves!!;-)

    I'm happy to hear you looked around the store, rather than the clothing. I do this quite often.

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  10. We had one of the first Ruehls in Columbus,OH and I loved the interior design as well, the bouncers guarding the front entrance not so much. It was funny they had these poor model looking types out front of the store like guards. A guy I used to work w/ said it felt like you should be making out w/ someone being in there, its so dark and loungey like.

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  11. Hmmmm. It seems classy, the rugs the art. Fun!

    Never heard of it.

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  12. I love artwork on the floor leaned up against the wall. What a moody broody place - I actually really like it. It's a great concept and a different shopping experience, which is always good in my book. I'd go there just to look around, but for clothing, my money would go where it's actually paying for the clothes and not the atmosphere - but hat's off to them, for the seriously brilliant idea.

    Thanks for taking us along, it was great!
    xo Isa

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  13. Ohhhh, wish we had one close to us. Sort of reminds me of the dark lighting and loud music I experienced in Portland last summer at Abercrombie & Fitch. The entire environment was kind of frenetic, the decorating theme fantastic, the sales folks were young, gorgeous males, you couldn't hear yourself speak - let alone think, and merchandise was literally flying off the shelves!

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  14. I like a lot of atmosphere, so I think I'd like the store. I had the same thought as longonstyle, sounds like a great place to make out. ;) If there is other Ruehl's in Ohio, I would think the store did well enough there for another one to open in another location.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs
    'D'

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  15. Hi, Artie...we have a couple of stores here at our mall that are so dark, I can barely see to put one foot in front of the other...and the music...well, loud is hardly the word.! Neither come close to being as pretty as this store, tho!!
    xo bj

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  16. Evening, Artieness! Oh, that's a dark shop! I suppose I agree with some of the others, I do like a nicely lit shop so I can see. Were the dressing rooms this dark too? If they were how would you know how you looked in the clothes? Oh, I get it! You'd look nice and thin because 'dark' makes you look skinnier! Hey, maybe I would like that shop after all!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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  17. Hi Artie, I always look forward to your posts as there is always something unexpected. Never heard of this clothing chain. It's definitely different! I think I would definitely not be in their target demographic! Do they need bouncers to quell fights over purses or what?

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  18. What an interesting concept. Don't think it would go over to well in our little town lol (maybe Austin) I do love the b/w photography lined up against the walls, and it does have a broody sort of charm. Just can't say that I would be thrilled about parting with my hard earned dollars at a place that needs a "bouncer" - is this to keep out the riff raf? Thanks for the interesting post! Kathy

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  19. Hey guys I just want to let you know that some of those pictures are of different times in the stores history. The brand was released in 2004 and saw its height in 2005. The picture that have the giant luggage cases are from 2005. Merchandise was much better than, compared to now where the quality is SEVERELY been diminished to reduce costs, unfortunately.

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  20. The quality is just as good now as ever. I LOVE this store and they reduced their prices by about 15 so yay!

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