Retropolitan Style

By Karen Parr-Moody


The Retropolitan booth at GasLamp Too is hard to miss: It’s clean with bright colors that pop against a white background. And that clean, bright vibe is at the heart of the Retropolitan brand.


“My brand has always been modern eclectic with a splash of vintage,” says owner Amy Heimermann. “I have tried to create that splash so that it still has a warmth to it.”


Since opening the booth at the back of the store, Heimermann has heard people say it is like a “little warm glow" in that nook.


"That makes me happy," she says.


Customers are happy, as well. The large Retropolitan booth, T-714, means they can easily locate finds such as the set of four gilded French chairs in the photo, above right, which Heimermann — despite being an avid upcycler — found as is and kept that way ($195 each).


“I absolutely love them!” Heimermann says enthusiastically. “Ornate French pieces like that are especially fabulous when paired with more streamlined, modern pieces. That's certainly part of the Retropolitan aesthetic.”


Heimermann got into the business years ago after working on an interior design job for a studio in Franklin, Tenn. When she couldn’t find the exact furniture she wanted through the existing channels, she saw a possibility.


 “I decided to put up a small shingle, so to speak, and Retropolitan was born,” she says, noting that she got her first retail spot at the original GasLamp in 2006.


During the last three years, she’s operated a big (and popular) store in Hillsboro Village. But like a number of tenants in the building, she was forced to relocate when the owners announced the building was being torn down.


“I was thrilled to score a space at the GasLamp Too location,” she says.


The Retropolitan aesthetic is one that allows GasLamp Too shoppers to find numerous decorating options through one-of-a-kind treasures, such as the Mid-Century Modern architectural prints in the photo, above left (prices vary).


“Those architectural prints are some of my very favorite finds ever,” says Heimermann. “They are graphic by nature, which is why I love them. Collections really make an impact. They really draw you in and tell a story.”


As many interior designers know, a little Asian style goes a long way — hence the fabulous lamp in the photo, right ($325). Heimermann fell in love with the style years ago and thinks it complements a modern interior.


“I always seem to have a piece worked into the rooms I do,” she says. “It seems like something's missing without just a touch of it.”


At Retropolitan, new pieces can always be found blended in with the vintage finds, as with the table, photo left, from a high-end furniture line that Heimermann loves (table, $995; four chairs, $465). The base is the height of faux bois chic: A tree trunk made of cast bronze. It is topped with a polished circle of black granite.  


“It’s great as a small dining table or would be really nice as a foyer or center table,” says Heimermann. “It’s very sophisticated. The chairs are vintage and have been upcycled with new fabric and a painted inset in the chair back. It’s a very interesting pairing, I think.”


The little chair in the photo, right, is yet another example of Heimermann’s knack for upcycling ($85). It's been improved with touches of white paint and new chartreuse fabric.  


“This little chair is wonderful,” Heimermann says. “It’s just a smart way to introduce a little color and whimsy into a room without doing too much.”


In the photo, below left, one gets a sense of how Heimermann pulls it all together. The seating pieces also have a bit of that Asian flair she loves so much and the vivid blue color makes for an undeniable presence (loveseat, $795; chairs, $625 each).   


“The color is so great,” Heimermann says. “I just love the strong lines of these pieces. They definitely would do the talking in a room setting. The rest of the pieces in the room would play supporting roles. I think you need that type of balance in a room. You've got to have a star, but you also need the supporting cast to bring the whole thing together.”


Now that she’s come full circle at GasLamp, where she got her start, Heimermann loves what she calls the “collective feel” of GasLamp Too.


“It has the feel of a designer trade show,” she says. “It's inspiring and I think it's headed in a sophisticated direction. I'm glad to be here!”


We’re glad she’s here too.


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