Chrissy Norman came to Schoolhouse to tackle an important project: representing the Schoolhouse ethos and spirit in the city of Pittsburgh as the manager of our first new store in over a decade. With ambitious plans for the Detective Building store, and an intense desire to show a city as inspiring as Pittsburgh what we were all about, we knew we couldn’t hire just anyone. The ideal candidate would seamlessly blend a passion for design and an understanding of our product with real knowledge of the city itself.
But if anyone was up to the task, it was Chrissy. While Chrissy’s resume lists her impressive design education and experience, you only have to take a tour through her own home to see the talent on display. Today, we want to take a moment to do just that, as well as introduce our readers to what makes Chrissy such a special part of our team.
What’s your role here at Schoolhouse?
"I’m the Retail Manager at the new Pittsburgh location. There are many parts to the role, but for me, the best parts are collaborating with my team and connecting with our customers."
Tell us a little bit about your background! Where did you grow up and what has your path been to bring you to where you are today?
"I grew up a little ways outside of Pittsburgh. It was a small town and after high school I was craving a big city. So, I moved to New York City for college. I loved living there and taking advantage of all the city had to offer, but I was really missing my family. After graduating, I moved back to Pittsburgh for graduate school where I studied interior architecture. Design has always been a passion for me and it felt like the perfect path for me. But I’ve worked in retail forever and so I moved to NYC to work in visual merchandising. It was a great balance for my professional and educational experience. I also did some freelance interior design work and was really loving that. But again, family was calling and I couldn’t stay away. Pittsburgh had grown so much, that I was ready to move back and stay. After hearing that Schoolhouse was opening in Pittsburgh, I patiently (not actually at all) waited for the hiring process to start. I’ve been a fan for a long time and was so excited be able to work for the company."
How long have you lived in your home and how did you find it?
"We have lived in our house for a little over three years. We were looking for a house we could make our own and I stumbled across our gem on a real estate website. It had been vacant for over 10 years and needed A LOT of love. But I could see the potential and how fitting it would be for my husband and I to grow into."
What do love most about your home?
"I love all the character. The house was built in 1890 and there were a ton of beautiful details, but the previous owner damaged almost all the trim with drop ceilings and wood paneling everywhere. We tried to keep and reuse what was possible and I love how the mix of old and new turned out."
What would you change if you could? Have there been any challenging projects to date?
"I would have made the closet in our bedroom slightly longer. There’s a little bit of room where we could have taken it out further, and gained some storage, but it’s not the end of the world. Definitely the hardest project was refinishing the floors. They had been painted several times overtop of the varnish and it was grueling to remove all of the buildup. I cannot tell you how many times we went to buy more sand paper!"
How would you describe your style when it comes to decorating?
"Eclectic. I don’t find myself drawn to one particular style and so it’s hard to settle on one look. Lately, I have been very excited by color and getting that back into our space so I’m looking to find some artwork and other details to amp up the space more."
What are some of your favorite Schoolhouse pieces?
"The orbit 12 chandelier is one of my favorites and any day now, I’ll be ordering one for our living room. I also love all the bedding – not only is beautiful, but the feel of it is out of this world. I had to purchase it as soon as I saw it in person."
What does a perfect day in Pittsburgh look like for you?
"I like to start out with a low key breakfast at Pear and the Pickle – they have Stumptown coffee which is a favorite and hard to find in the Burgh. If the weather is nice, we’ll take our dog Charlie for a long walk on the riverfront past the stadium. There are a lot of geese which Charlie loves to chase. After some downtime, we’d meet some friends for dinner and cocktails at any of many favorite restaurants. If there’s one thing you can love to do in Pittsburgh, it’s eat!"
Our Pittsburgh store in the renovated detective building was a multi-year undertaking. What was the opening process like and what’s your favorite part of the finished store?
"I came into the project at the tail end when construction was wrapping up – for the most part – and it was time to outfit the space. It was so much fun to start from scratch and bring the Schoolhouse brand to life in Pittsburgh. I was able to collaborate with so many different people from Portland and it helped make the space feel dynamic and fun. There were a lot of ups and downs and challenges, but everyone really came together to solve and support. As far as a favorite spot, I’m not sure I could pick just one area. For me it’s a sum of the parts and how great it feels to be in the space."