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Boulder-based interior designer Emily Tucker had just returned from the East Coast—where she was working on the design of John Hickenlooper’s Senate office—when she met us in Cherry Creek to check out the new Herman Miller store. The lovely, compact retail location of the iconic American furniture brand opened over the summer, and the in-demand Tucker, principal of Emily Tucker Design, had found a lull in her schedule to peruse the store in person. Tucker’s inventive, layered design aesthetic borrows heavily from traditional and classic-modern forms, and, she says, Herman Miller pieces find their way into many of the homes she designs.
Herman Miller furniture, which is handcrafted in Zeeland, Michigan, is arguably the preeminent mid-century brand, and its timeless heritage pieces—think Noguchi coffee tables, Eames lounge and office chairs, Nelson clocks—are as relevant today as they were when they were designed more than 70 years ago. So, when you walk into the brand’s well-lit, Denver flagship store, there’s almost a museum-exhibition quality to the vignettes. But of course, unlike at a museum, the pieces here are for sampling. Tucker, dressed sharply in a black-and-white coat and faux-leather leggings with knee-high boots, looks right at home among the classic furniture.
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She flops effortlessly into a leather-upholstered Eames lounge chair with an “ahhh” of satisfaction. “These really are the most comfortable chairs. And they still look good in every single house,” she says. The store’s knowledgeable general manager, Brian Bourquin, chimes in: “The lounge chairs are so popular that they actually increase in value over time. These are the kinds of pieces that people put in their wills to hand down to family members.” Over the next half hour, as we admire each of the furnishings—which Tucker can name without even looking at the tags—it’s clear that the designer is both a student and a fan of the Herman Miller catalog. Here, she fills us in on her top picks at the store.
Emily Tucker’s Picks at the Herman Miller Store:
Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman in Walnut with White
“They’ve been making this chair and ottoman since 1956, and it is still so comfortable and still looks good in every single house.”
Eames Walnut Stools
“I love the warmth of the walnut in these stools. They come in three shapes and they make a cute grouping and work great as side tables. They are so sculptural; I always thought they looked a bit like oversize chess pieces.”
Nelson Eye Clock
“Some of my clients want a clock in every room, but at the very least, I always put one in the kitchen. Herman Miller’s Nelson clocks double as art pieces, and this one in particular is really cool because it looks like an evil eye.”
Girard Wooden Dolls, Little Devil
“Designer Alexander Girard made these folk-art sculptures for his own home in Santa Fe. The recreations are the perfect objects for a bookshelf.”
Eames Soft Pad Chair, Management Height, in Snail and Aluminum
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this office chair in houses I have designed. It’s so comfy and so stylish. We’ve done it in beiges and taupes, but I am also loving this navy.”
Alexander Girard Checker Fabric in Emerald Light and White
“I think this fabric would look so amazing on one of the Eames plastic molded chairs. Why not spice up your life a little with a chartreuse-and-white check?