by Sam Rose
Sutlers were the original purveyors of provisions, goods and of course, spirits in against-all-odds events. Housing their businesses in makeshift tents directly next to the front lines, they traveled to the most remote locales to make sure the military was provided for during combat.
It was with this history and background knowledge that local interior designer Amanda Brown went to work. “I knew what I wanted to do before I even met with Scot.” (Scot Sanborn is the owner of Sutler’s Spirit Co.)
Brown’s concept, “antebellum industrial chic,” was based upon images of Revolutionary soldiers lined up purchasing goods from tents at military outposts. She knew she’d be working with features from the historic West End Mill Works and that the heart of the project would be the distiller’s Portuguese copper still.
“I had to work around very specific laws and regulations to create a separate tasting room and distilling area in this project,” she said.
Brown had visions of times soldiers at war. She wanted to work with more copper elements and felt the presence of a tent was key. This would allow for private tastings in an intimate setting while capturing the history of the sutler.
There are many personalized elements in the space, from the distillery’s permit numbers on the canvas walls to the buffalo nickel buttons in the tufts of the seat cushions. It’s all in the small details with this space.
“We knew we wanted the bar to be unique — it needed to be movable and multifunctional, but also intimate with seating for four,” she said. Brown personally drafted the CAD drawings and Sutler’s hired a custom builder to create the copper topped bar, which over time will age impeccably.
Every piece in the space is multifunctional and can be easily converted or moved. This makes Sutler’s Spirit Company perfect for events and entertaining while also allowing it to remain personalized and intimate. Theoretically Sutler’s can host anywhere between two and 200 people.
The job wasn’t designed with an excessive budget; to stay on track and under the cap, much of the work was done by Brown and Sanborn themselves, with the exception of the stained concrete floors by local company Perfection Plus. DIY is a realm in which Brown excels. She can help guide clients through tips and tricks and the best practices and least expensive ways to accomplish expensive looks. The space was designed in stages, which leaves room for growth as the business grows. Brown feels that leaving room for growth and change in a space is key as it evolves with time.
Brown’s design philosophy states: “Every single piece needs a friend in the space, it has to speak to something else.” For instance, at Sutler’s the Portuguese copper echoes the copper bar top. The chairs speak to the sheet metal wrapped around the bar. For Brown, balance is the key to any space.
“It is why you hire a designer,” she said. “We help the client find balance in the space, in the project.”
Brown takes a scientific approach to her work alongside her creativity. She believes that great design happens in more than just three dimensions — the most important of which is time. She works to capture timeless designs and spaces that will transition permanently. Lastly, Brown operates in the dimension of love.
She states, “You have to love your space. Clients often ask permission: ‘Can we do this?’ But that’s not what it is about. It’s about doing what makes you feel happy and comfortable.”
Amanda works with the history of a space, her client, and their story to tell tales through interior design from her design studio located in downtown Winston-Salem. She graduated from High Point University with a degree in interior design while beginning her career in the furniture industry in High Point. She is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and is honored to sit on the ASID Carolinas Chapter Board of Directors. In January 2014, Amanda opened ID by Amanda Brown to serve clients on projects from paint color selection to working with international clients coming to High Point to shop in the furniture industry’s most exclusive to-the-trade showrooms. Visit her website, idbyab.com, for more information.