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Visiting Catrina’s at the Ranch in Boerne is like going on a treasure hunt – you never know what you’re going to find, but you know it’s going to be well worth the search.


 “There’s an abundance of merchandise,” says Catrina Hoelke, award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and owner of the 6 1/2-acre furniture and design compound that bears her name. “The look in the store changes day by day.”


And what a look it is. Every corner of the 7000-square foot main building is brimming with one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, hand-forged chandeliers, artwork, tableware, tribal rugs, and eye-catching accessories from all over the world.


Hoelke grew up in the furniture business, working as a designer and buyer for stores in Texas and Colorado. It was during her recovery from a broken neck in 1998 that she decided to strike out on her own, opening Catrina’s Closet – a used clothing and furniture store — in Camp Wood, Texas.


“I started with five hundred dollars,” she says, sitting on one of her comfy custom-designed sofas replete with fringed pillows.  “That’s what my husband gave me, jokingly, when I said I wanted to start a business. He said, ‘Here you go, baby. Run with it.’”


She did – from the Camp Wood store to Catrina’s Western Center in Uvalde to a store in Sabinal, eventually finding a small space on Boerne’s Main Street until she found the present property on IH 10 West in 2004. There was one small snag: the building (ironically the former home of the Loft Restaurant, one of Hoelke’s first design jobs 35 years ago)
was condemned. City officials told her it was a scraper – there was no way to fix it. “I told them to hide and watch. I was a determined woman.”


That’s putting it mildly. Hoelke is a whirlwind, dealing with staff, taking calls, showing a visitor through some of the dozen or so display rooms at her showroom, and talking the whole time about the journey that brought her back to Boerne and the passions that fuel her jam-packed life.


“I work seven days a week. That’s what it’s taken to build this business.” She’s drawn as well to charities close to her heart – the new battered women’s shelter being built in Boerne, the American Cancer Society, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and the San Antonio Zoo.

In addition, there’s a new passion in a new town – San Antonio, to be exact. In October, Hoelke opens her new store, La Catrina, off 1604 and Babcock near The Shops at La Cantera.


“It will have a more European look mixed with contemporary,” says Hoelke, adding that it will be a perfect complement to the Texas Tuscan look of the ranch store.  “La Catrina will give customers a whole new selection and choice.”


La Catrina will also carry on the tradition of providing the ultimate in customer service, especially Hoelke’s signature custom designs that allow clients to help create the perfect look. “They can select their own fabrics and styles so that their choices are unique and
fit their home décor.” They can also take home whatever they see at the store, unlike
some other high-end furniture stores that make you wait six to eight weeks while they order a sofa you saw on the showroom floor. “Anything you see here, you can buy.
We won’t make you wait.”


Others need Hoelke’s expert advice on site. A design call involves a visit to the home or business to photograph the space, then sketching out designs for suggested pieces.
“We price it all out in a list, room by room, so they know exactly what they’re spending.” There no additional charge for custom designs either, whether it’s one piece or a whole room. 


Hoelke is mindful of the rarefied image custom furniture has as being inaccessible to the average consumer. Not true, she says.  “We save money here. Other stores might mark up an item three times with freight. We don’t do that. People love to fix up their homes, but these are hard times and we appreciate that. We give them great value here.”


Hoelke shares the wealth in other ways, never forgetting how she started out and paying
it forward by mentoring other women with business dreams of their own. “I want to be the message to women that they can do it too. Start small and persevere. Find something you enjoy and diligently work at it.  Don’t give up and don’t look back.”



Catrina’s at the Ranch is located at 31300 IH-10 West in Boerne. To learn more about custom furnishings and accessories, and the new La Catrina store opening soon, call 830.755.6355 or visit

The Arts and Crafts Movement that began in England in 1880 and held influence throughout Europe until the 1930s advocated the qualities of simplicity, use of honest materials, and an emphasis on craftsmanship. The Movement was a prelude to the Bauhaus School and modernism.
In America, Gustav Stickley, a leader of the American Craftsman Movement, which spawned the Craftsman (also known as Mission) style of furniture, was ahead of his time. Gustav believed, as leaders of the Bauhaus did, in incorporating machinery to improve the production process.
T oday the company that bears his name, Stickley Furniture, adheres to the guiding principles of the Arts and Crafts movement: dedication to quality, integrity, and pride in creating pieces of the finest workmanship. Using solid construction and the highest quality woods, the furniture created by his company was not only beautiful to look at and practical to use, it was made to last.
Staying true to its roots, Stickley Furniture continues its tradition of fine design principles born in the Arts and Crafts movement with designs that also reflect the Bauhaus and modernism periods that followed.
Mike Trescott, sales manager of Stickley Furniture in Charlotte, says the level of construction and craftsmanship they’ve maintained for more than a century at Stickley
Furniture is unique in the industry. He also notes though the Stickley name is associated with the Mission furniture created during the Arts and Crafts Movement, the company has carried the craftsmanship into new designs that fit well in an urban lifestyle.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

Stickley Furniture is located at 721 Governor Morrison Street in Charlotte. Find them online at or call them at 704-442-7171.

The kitchen is fast becoming the core of the home. As more homeowners opt to remodel rather than relocate, this room is often the first to receive a facelift.
A s long as Ashley Nydish has lived in her traditional Lake Norman area home, she knew the stark white laminate cabinets and countertops would have to go. “The kitchen was extremely outdated, and the cabinets were falling apart,” she says. “I needed to remodel for aesthetic reasons and to improve functionality.”
However, “Rearranging the layout wasn’t an option, so I needed to utilize the space that I had,” she relates. At Old River Cabinets, we see many homeowners who run into the same issue. Any cabinet can look good from 10 feet away, but how does it perform? Remodeling allows clients to gain functional space the original builder failed to design.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

To find out how Old River Cabinets can design beautiful cabinets with smart storage solutions for your home, call Aaron or his staff at 704-831-6267 or visit the showroom at 10235 Perimeter Parkway, in Charlotte or on the web at


     As fall approaches and the weather starts to cool, it won’t be long before entertaining makes its move indoors. But for one Charlotte family, they cherish the crisp autumn air and hold on to every possible last bit of being outdoors. For them, fall is all about entertaining on a manageable scale with close friends.

    “For me, spring and fall are the best times to entertain in the South,” said Robin Branstrom. “But I’m especially fond of fall entertaining because the weather is so beautiful and it is such a wonderful time to get back together with friends who you have not seen over the summer.”

    And the Branstrom’s know how to throw a party! Robin and her husband, Bill, are part owners of the fabulously successful fine dining group, Harpers Restaurant Group. This includes such dining establishments as Zink, Upstream, Harpers and Mimosa Grill.

    First, a little history about the setting for this wonderful get-together.

    The Normandy Tudor style home was originally built in 1927 and came close to being a local historical landmark. A home that old in one of Charlotte’s original neighborhoods, understandably was in need of some updating.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.


   Fashion forward or a blast from the past? Last year’s exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York made an interesting connection between the modern architecture, furniture and art we appreciate today and a movement that took place almost 100 years ago.

          The exhibit, “Bauhaus 1919 – 1933: Workshops for Modernity,” showcased work inspired by the Bauhaus School in Germany. Founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus and its teachings grew out of a desire to help rebuild the country after the devastation of the First World War.

          The school was only in existence for 14 years, disbanding in 1933 when the Nazis rose to power, yet it was considered the most famous and influential school of avant-garde art in the twentieth century. It is widely agreed that the Bauhaus philosophy of clean, simplified design has strongly influenced the timeless style of international modernism in today’s architecture, art and design.

Variations on a Bauhaus Theme

         One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus School was the blending of art, craft, and technology. A reaction to the emotional expressionism of the time, the Bauhaus design aesthetic was based on simple forms, clean lines, rationality and form that followed function.

         From concealed kitchens to the sleek lines of a contemporary sofa or a chrome hands-free faucet, there are striking similarities between today’s trends and the principles sought by the Bauhaus movement. That’s why Urban Home asked Charlotte’s leading designers to tell us how they think the influence of Bauhaus has helped define our image of the modern home.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

Why would a well-established local business choose to change their name? In the case of Queen City Countertops, a name change was needed to better represent their expanded service offerings. They recently broadened their scope of services from countertops to include complete renovation services, becoming Queen City Kitchen and Bath.

They now offer turn-key kitchen and bath renovations and project management to act as a liaison between the various subcontractors that are involved in a kitchen or bath remodel.

“Because we run the entire project in-house, this ensures on-time delivery and high quality workmanship, alleviating unnecessary homeowner stress,” says Dee Grannan, their in-house kitchen and bath designer.

In business since 2003 and family-run, the attention to detail and personalized service has been a critical component to this businesses success and repeat business…

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about Queen City Kitchen and Bath .

For more information on Queen City Kitchen and Bath, call 704-296-0040 or visit their new showroom at 3015 Chamber Drive, or visit

If the recession has taught us anything, it’s that bigger isn’t always better. Even when it comes to our kitchens, we’re downsizing; the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) design trends for 2010 included  concealed kitchens and space efficiency.

In this aspect, Europe is decades ahead of us. The European kitchen is the model of efficiency and beautiful minimalist design. Cooking in Europe is viewed differently than in the US with fresh ingredients and depends less on stored and pre-prepared food. Space is usually at a premium so appliances are smaller and storage is paramount.

Charlotte homeowners are in luck because Nolte Home Studios, maker of Europe’s most innovative kitchen and bedroom designs, has recently opened its first US showroom in Pineville.

Nolte is a German manufacturing company (second largest single label in the world) that has been designing and producing high-quality kitchens for more than 50 years. Their innovative space-saving designs keep everything in your cabinets organized and close-at-hand while using every inch of space available.

But those are the things you don’t see; the exterior of a Nolte kitchen is a work of minimalist art with clean uninterrupted lines and a streamlined elegant look….

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more about Nolte Home Studio.

Visit the Nolte Home Studio showroom at 11523 Carolina Place Parkway in Pineville, or call 704-542-4640. Visit them online at

Losing the Formalities– For me, when I come home and don’t feel a sense of calm, but more so, don’t feel inspired or happy with my place of refuge, I know it’s time for a change.

I recently decided to take my own advice and I gave the largest room in my house–a room originally designed as a formal living room–a new feeling of comfort. I wanted to make this room a place I would actually want to spent a lot of time in. I wanted it to reflect my style and I wanted it surrounded with the things I love.

 N owadays, transforming an entire room not only seems daunting, but it seems expensive, and like most of us, I was looking for a way to completely change things as inexpensively as possible.

Beth Keim is the owner of Lucy and Company, a full-service interior design firm located at 1009 East Boulevard. They can be reached at 704-342-6655 or at

 Visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to view the entire article.

The recovering economy may be encouraging us to make changes that enhance the appearance and functionality of our homes. But in these realistic times, we are re-defining luxury. The spending patterns that have emerged reveal our new emphasis on quality, affordability and long-term value.

Design trends have followed suit, as interiors now reflect a “less is more” philosophy that uses every inch of space wisely, conserves energy, and strikes a balance between substance and style.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recently announced the winners of its annual design competition, along with the top 10 design trends, many of which mirror our new

mindset. From practical to the purely aesthetic, we compared the results from NKBA with feedback from Charlotte design professionals to bring you the most significant kitchen and bath trends in our market.

Visit our website  to view the entire article.


1. With the rich color and warm texture of rattan peel, the Contempo collection offers the ultimate in outdoor living. Crafted from premium synthetic vinyl, Contempo is all about endless arrangement possibilities and durability. Porches and Yards. 704-987-3544.

2. With a fresh yet timeless approach to design, the Thom Filicia collection balances elements in unique and beautiful ways. The Robineau Road Round Mirror is the perfect complement to any living area. The Furniture Connector. 704-507-9023.

3. From organic cottons to recycled polys and renewable bamboo, this beautifully designed collection has the look and feel of a high-end residential fabric collection, while maintaining the earth-conscious philosophy that both Clodagh and Duralee have committed to in an effort to reduce our imprint on the environment. Front Door Fabrics. 704-844-6330.

4. Rennie armless leather sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is mid-century modern. Deep seat, small scale and sleek styling are enhanced by tall, thin tapered legs. The grid-tufted back gives it true, unseen comfort with the attached cushions.

5. Illuminate your home in a whole new way with the Soho 5 light antique nickel chandelier from Hinkley Lighting. Includes Opal etched glass shades that enhances this unique light fixture. Showplace. 704-553-1341. Unique Lighting

6. Add a little Moroccan flair with the Hyperion rug in red or olive. Available in sizes 5×8, 8×11, or 10×13. City Supply Co. 704-347-2489.

7. Galbraith & Paul lighting is designed with an artist’s eye and a craftsman’s hand. Remarkably soft and colorful patterned fabrics are teamed with high-quality lighting fixtures to create an amazing statement.

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