Borrow design firm banks on interest in custom decorating

Since 2013, what was formerly known as Borrow Rentals has been providing customers with antique, vintage, upcycled, and handmade furniture for events, weddings, and other special occasions.

While founder Ann King has always done a small portion of custom interior design work, her company in late August transformed into Borrow Curated Furniture + Design, 2625 St. Clair Ave., to serve a growing demand for custom interior decorating in Cleveland’s corporate spaces.

Ann King, founder of Borrow Curated Furniture + Design.“The rental business is going awesome,” says King. “But this has always been our trajectory. We want to do more custom furniture in people’s lives.”

Even though King will still scour estate sales, auction houses, and antique shops for those perfect, unique furniture and accessories, she is expanding her work with local makers like Sawhorse Woodworks, Rust Belt Reclamation, and Shred and Co. for custom furniture that exactly fits her corporate clients’ needs.

“Our social mission is so hardcore—we’ve always been about local business,” says King. “We’re so excited to help local businesses like this.”

But just because it’s custom doesn’t mean the costs will break the bank, says King. The furniture is mid- to high-end, she says, but within the budgets her clients lay out. “It’s not Wayfair, but it’s very reasonable because we can do so much in-house,” King says. “It helps with rates considerably. Most designers don’t have an in-house team, and we’re going to do higher quality products all the time.”

King says most pieces range between $800 and $3,000, depending on the piece, the finishes, and whether fabric is used. “We’re always respectful of budgets and we always design to fit that budget.”

King says she usually likes to focus on a “superstar piece” and work around that, which helps keep to a budget. “Personally, I like messing around,” she says. “It’s fun, it’s like a little puzzle.”

On King’s end, she says “it’s like the complete design experience,” where Borrow staff come to the client’s offices, measure layouts, design the rooms, and then build and arrange the furniture.

“It was just the natural thing for us to do,” she says of the expansion. “We established all these connections, so it wasn’t a huge stretch for us.”

King says the services Borrow offers fit those customers who really have an eye for good design. “This is for people who care about design, who want to do something different, do something locally made,” she says. “This is what makes Borrow different.”

Berkshire Hathaway's Gordon Square offices, designed by Borrow Curated Furniture + Design. Borrow was hired this summer to design real estate broker Berkshire Hathaway’s Gordon Square offices. Every detail was covered in the design, from conference room furniture, to creating a welcoming waiting area, to the décor on the tables and shelves.

“That was a super fun project,” says King. While office chairs and a green sofa and chairs were sourced items from a furniture wholesaler, she says, Sawhorse made the cubicles and front desk, Shred did the glass build-out for a small conference room, and Borrow staff makers created the upholstered black and white striped office chairs.

For those clients looking to hire Borrow for special events and weddings, King says they will still offer all the services they always have.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
Signup for Email Alerts