Press & Special Projects

Business Reimagined

Business Reimagined by Rick Romano

While the number of local businesses is growing, so too are those entrepreneurs infusing their own stamp with a major dose of creativity. No need to build from scratch when innovation can give life to new spaces.  

Amy Carman has an obvious affinity for history. The owner of Amy Carman Design has established her interior design firm for the second time in a historic site, this time in the former administration building of the old Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Economy. It is part of the campus at the northwest corner of the Milwaukee County grounds, designed in 1912 by Milwaukee architect Alex C. Eschweiler.

Carman noted her penchant for older buildings, such as the former St. Mary’s church in Elm Grove, whose loft space was the previous home to her business. With the church being sold and her staff expanding, Carman searched for a new home for months.

“I worked with a broker and we looked all over, including the Third Ward, and we just lucked into this,” she said. “It was a perfect choice.”

She worked with an architect to repurpose the space, a balance between form and function. Key areas include an open-concept office that promotes teamwork, while other spaces encourage personal work space and meetings with clients and collaborating professionals.

The centerpiece room includes extensive cabinetry and a supersized island that serves as both storage and store, and makes an ideal area to lay out various design materials like fabric swatches and paint chips. Order is key, Carman said, to keep those materials categorized by client project.

It’s all done in a very modern motif, but also with respect to history.

“I have a degree in art – studio art, drawing, and painting,” Carman said. “This is a dream work space because of the creative use of an old building. It’s inspiring.”

The building’s amenities also inspire. Amy Carman Design is one of the several tenants with access to the building’s shared party room, large ballroom space to host groups and potential clients, a workout space and an outdoor swimming pool.

Carman said the building’s natural setting is another perk, offering a peaceful wooded respite when needed as well as ample sunlight through the expansive windows when working inside.

“It promotes problem solving,” she said. “In the end, it’s a space that helps us practice what we preach.  We come into a space that represents who we are.”