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Business Happenings - May 2005

Su Casa - Turning Southwestern Houses into Cherished Homes
By Deirdre O. Keating

Su Casa
690 S. Main
Moab UT 84532
(435) 259-1781

The word is out about Moab’s smallest big treasure, Su Casa, a decorating store for the southwest lifestyle. Talk about size being deceiving, who knew all the resources in that cute little store next to the Moab Brewery?

Obviously others did, because it has already become a destination store for lots of visitors in town. Some say their first stop in Moab is Su Casa, before they hit any trails or the river. Even though owners Dee and Don Kellogg opened the store to cater to Moab’s specific needs and keep it open year-round, the word has just begun traveling among Moabites that you can now decorate your home with treasures from around the world without even leaving town!

I’ve walked by Su Casa numerous times, always tempted by the beautiful displays and the wonderful scents…but I mistakenly assumed it was one of those tourists’ boutiques that never carry things you really need. I couldn’t have been more wrong and now I am kicking myself for not finding designer Dee Kellogg six months ago when we first started designing our own home.

To begin with, Su Casa carries twenty lines of lighting, door and cabinet hardware, including the Rocky Mountain line, and handcrafted rustic furniture. They have recently added upholstered furniture with lifetime guarantees and hundreds of selections of fabric and leather. And to think of all those wasted trips to Salt Lake when we could have found the style we wanted right here in Moab!

Explore the entire store and you’ll be delighted to find choices in quality patio furniture and pottery, as well as interior and exterior fountains outback. The gorgeous patio furniture is guaranteed against sun blistering, and is heavy enough to resist Moab’s windiest days. These details, that newcomers to Moab often don’t know to consider, reflect the Kellogg’s knowledge of southwestern needs.

Everything in the store is literally hand selected. Dee just returned this month from a 4000 mile trip throughout Mexico to bring back specific pieces. “The beauty of the Southwest style doesn’t rely on Mexican imports only,” Dee is quick to point out, as she shows me pieces in the store from Malaysia, England, Ecuador, Spain, Brazil and Thailand. Suddenly the boundaries of Southwest style seem less confined and take on an internationally eclectic manner.

“What I love about Southwest style,” explains Dee, “is that it’s comfortable and casual. It has a way of quickly making a house more of a home, and not only are you comfortable but so are your guests.” Dee’s expert eye makes Su Casa the place to come if you are building a southwestern home in any of its many variations: high style rustic, Santa Fe colonial, mountain lodge, western ranch, and southwest contemporary.

From outside, one can’t begin to imagine all the resources within the store. Forty percent of the business is special order, with most pieces coming in the door and going right out for delivery. There is something for every budget, with offerings of 99¢ votives to a $4500 painting. Multiple lines of furniture, window shades, pottery, tableware, candles, bedspreads, iron work, lamps, and unique rugs fill every corner of the store. Beautiful hand-carved posts and corbels rest on the back patio. Besides having the most extensive line of custom lightning in Moab, Su Casa also offers unique architectural elements and works of art by J.C. Borders and Cassandra Coles.

Dee and her husband Don know first hand the frustration of trying to decorate a home in Moab. After retiring and buying a home in the foothills of Spanish Valley, they were discouraged by how little they could find locally to remodel their home. They decided to open the store and utilize their experience building and remodeling homes throughout the US. “We knew it was needed here, but we had no idea how badly,” says Dee, explaining how their “grand hobby” quickly turned into a real business. This month marks the first anniversary of Su Casa in Moab, which has grown enormously in its first year.

Fortunately, Dee was already certified as an International Furnishing and Design professional, and after years as an international executive, all that time spent in different locations allows her to understand exactly what will be needed for a Northern Italian kitchen versus one in a Northern French style. Don, who worked for forty years with the government, is also a master gardener, and now designs El Fresco kitchens and exterior living spaces. In addition, Don and Dee Kellogg practiced feng shui long before it became a yuppie fad, and welcome those interested in having its principles applied to their design layout.

In their first year of business, the Kellogg’s have already earned a reputation for their customer service that goes above and beyond. One woman came into the store panicking, saying that her builder told her to decide on all the lighting and several other features by the very next day. Dee helped calm her down and said, “Let’s go to the site.” The next day, after having Dee walk her through all her options and help determine the look she wanted, the same woman returned with a huge bouquet, thanking Dee for the first night of real sleep she had enjoyed in weeks!

“The biggest misconception people have,” according to Dee, “is that they need to wait until their home is built and then focus on the decorating.” Even some of the best architects don’t always incorporate how the family will actually use the space or their unique needs. Dee always does a lifestyle walk through, thinking about how the family entertains and how the kitchen should be laid out, so that the house flows with the way they live.

Small changes made in the early stages of building can save a fortune later. Dee describes one home where she widened the stairway to allow the owner to showcase her beautiful collection of pottery, which added pennies to the building cost but would have been prohibitive if the stairs had already been done.

Sometimes a window moved just slightly will better accommodate a family heirloom piece. Instead of waiting, you should be heading to Su Casa as soon as you have blue prints with which to work. You can hire Dee as a personal consultant, and in return you receive her rare ability to visualize from a floor plan and see the challenges as well as opportunities. Decorating services include house staging, color selection, room arrangement, and interior or exterior living area design. She spends a tremendous amount of time doing research for people, to find that specific item they want that fits their taste, style, and life.

As news of Su Casa spreads, you can see Dee’s hand in the décor of local businesses, including the beautiful new setting at Desert Bistro. She is currently working on ten homes in Moab, as well as homes in Aspen and Telluride. Su Casa has also designed model packages for condos at Coyote Run and Orchard Villa.

Dee and Don Kellogg have heard customers from Aspen, Taos, as well as Lake Tahoe, saying they couldn’t find the same choices near them as we have here in Moab at Su Casa. So, next time you walk by that charming little store on Main, come in and discover the treasure of resources that will turn your house into a home.

Su Casa, located at 690 S. Main, next to the Moab Brewery, is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. Decorating consultation is available by calling (435) 259-1781 for an appointment.

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