With Chicago’s historic Three Arts Club Building as his backdrop, Restoration Hardware Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman welcomed a large Gold Coast crowd to the retailer’s new flagship store at 1300 North Dearborn Street on Friday.
Built in 1914 and designed by the architecture firm of Holabird and Roche, the Three Arts Club provided a safe haven for women in Chicago to study music, painting, and drama. Part artist’s studio, part boarding home, the building continued on as a full-time residence until 2003.
The Three Arts Club Building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1981, but was empty and in disrepair for years until Mr. Friedman drove by it in 2011 and realized immediately this was the structure destined to be the new RH showpiece.
Noting in his ribbon-cutting address (which culminated in no ribbon being cut – he was eager to allow the crowd to enter the store) that “plants die in retail stores,” the Restoration Hardware team’s remodeling of the historic building opens the space up, allowing visitors and staff alike to “breathe.”
Patrons will also have the opportunity to dine without leaving the store at the full-service restaurant, for which Friedman brought in renowned Chicago burger and doughnut king Brendan Sodikoff. Anyone not requiring an entire meal can also seek refreshment at the coffee and pastry shop, or the wine bar. And just to put this rendition of RH completely over the top, there’s even a performance stage.
The $25-million upgrade of the 4-story, 58,000-square-foot structure included the addition of a roof-top level, giving the store a 5th floor of shopping, and two open-air spaces where seasonal furnishings will be displayed year-round.