Spruce Eco-Studio has an interesting niche when it comes to providing earth-friendly furniture and designs. Located on Magazine Street in the heart of the Lower Garden District, this beautiful boutique offers everything ranging from budget-conscious interior design to colorful, exotic fabrics from all over the world.
Business partners Nomita Joshi-Gupta and Cheryl Murphy teamed up shortly after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Gupta's home. "We lost a whole floor of our house during Katrina. In the process of rebuilding, I decided to go for the green options,” said Gupta. “I saw renovating our house as an opportunity to use salvaged materials such as pine floors, doors, windows and hardware.”
As a result of this renovation, Gupta decided to put her LSU education in architecture and her masters in urban planning from UNO to bring eco-friendly furniture and home accessories to the general public. Spruce first opened in the warehouse district 2008. Gupta draws her inspiration from fashion, architecture and, of course, all sorts of design, including graphic, industrial and interior. “My vision for Spruce is for it to become a name synonymous with outstanding modern products and design,” said Gupta. She definitely accomplished that with many upscale designer brands such as Brasa, John Robshaw, Mioculture, Roost, Kalon Studios and her favorite, Ecosmartfire, that produces bio-ethanol fireplaces.
When asked about how the economy has affected her business, she is realistic but hopeful. “We opened in a bad economy and we still continue to be in it…we feel we have been able to stay alive by offering our packaged design services and our unique products to a loyal local clientele,” she explained while also touting the virtues of shopping in the area. “The importance of supporting local business is crucial to saving our local economy. I think the economy has a life of its own and eventually it well level out, but at the moment, small businesses have to rely on our local customers.”
Gupta has found creative ways to accommodate clients who possess economic low-spirits and tight budgets. One is with uplifting colors for the fall. "Electric and bright colors are what's in now because it makes people want to be and feel more optimistic in an uncertain economy," said Gupta. If clients are embarking on a design project, they can count on some extensive savings as she shares access to her designer and trade discounts as well as a discount on all items purchased at the studio, including furniture, wallpaper and bedding for their project. Gupta also offers three specifically tailored interior design packages for clients whose dollar needs to stretch, whether they are starting from a clean slate or just want to update the look of a room or two.
Design in a Box is for people who want to avoid costly hourly fees and do some of their own legwork; it includes a room layout and selections for furniture, accessories and color. Spruce will shop for clients or provide them a list and access to trade-only products at reduced prices. Pricing ranges from $500 to $2000 depending on the size and complexity of the room. For $500 per room, Spruce it Up is for people who already have furniture, experiment in design and want to bring their home together. If you want to update your interior or exterior color palette, Color Me Happy will assist you in selecting a full selection of coordinating hues. Pricing on this package depends on the expanse of the exterior or the number of rooms being redone.
If you are interested in learning more about Spruce, you can visit their website or stop by the studio at 2403 Magazine Street. Since Spruce is one of the founding businesses involved in the Green Light District, they also partner with other green organizations and non-profits for regular events. During the holidays, they have green shopping days where customers can stamp their green passports to win prizes or discounts.
Spruce is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 6 pm.