The Third Ward is a unique microcosm of retail where small shops like Inspired, Embelezar and The Home Market coexist with big-box stores like West Elm and Anthropologie, all offering their unique spin on contemporary décor.
The newest kid on the block is Inspired (239 E. Chicago St., which opened in October, and offers rustic chic furnishing, décor and gifts. Husband-wife team Chris and Terry Peterson moved from Lake Country to the Third Ward to open the shop. They were empty nesters and had no retail background, but a strong commitment to design and personal expression.
I spoke with Terry Peterson and design partner Dana McNamee about how they curated this lovely spot.
What’s your design inspiration?
TP: It comes from our personal preferences. We aim for casual, comfortable, welcoming and warm. You’ll find a lot of transitional pieces that can work in any environment.
People walk in and say “I want to live here.” We hear it all the time, and it makes us feel like we’ve succeeded. We want people to feel like they want to stay and have this be their home.
I think people have a hard time doing what we’ve created here. They think your space has to be designed, but it should be collected; it should speak to you and be a collection of things that you love — things that showcase your personality and mean something to you. This setting works so well for that.
DM: l also have a background in little bit of everything, but designing and being creative is all I’ve ever done. We have a passion for it and make it a priority in their lives to make sure our surroundings are fun and inspiring.
Where do you source your unique products?
TP: We go to market a couple times a year and seek out small, niche, family-owned and produced items. We like to focus on local designers (not just to Milwaukee) and items with a story. We also love the reclaimed look and say that nothing is more green than vintage.
Milwaukee designer Cival Collective has been so popular. We’ve had to reorder from them several times.
What are some of your other most popular items?
TP: We have sold six dining groupings and about 16 swivel gliders. This is the most amazing chair and it comes in 200 different colors and styles. The personal accessories are also really popular. A lot of people come in for gift items like scarves and jewelry.
Who is your typical customer?
TP: We see lots of people from the Lake Country area and a lot of people from Illinois. It makes us realize that Milwaukee has really come into its own. They love it because it’s stress free and walkable down here, with so many layers of personality.
Anything else we should know about you?
TP: We also offer home styling services and go into people’s homes and help them style their space based on adding and editing items they already have. This allows people to re-purpose or give new life to special items they already have. It doesn’t have to be much – it can just be a new coat of paint of re-accessorizing. We love these special billy goat paints that we sell .Add a new chair and a few small pops of color and you get a whole new look.