Kent – You just don’t find places like this any more.

Shops like Sue Nelson Designs, Ltd. in historic downtown Kent died off when big box hardware stores replaced family-owned interior design sales and services. But Sue Nelson has kept her shop alive at 156 South Water Street for nearly 25 years by offering an ever-widening array of quality products and customized services.

P5130575-(benjamin-colls-imac's-conflicted-copy-2013-05-14)Emphasizing that “our pieces are meant to last a lifetime,” Nelson builds custom upholstered maple hardwood furniture, and offers skilled services including reupholstering, custom window treatments (including blinds, valances and drapery), computerized color matching, hand-repaired/restored furniture, custom lamp shades and chandeliers, floral arrangements, additions, countertops, cabinetry, carpentry, interior design, painting, tile work, custom framing, chair caning and rushing.

Whether your style is classic, Colonial, Victorian, modern, rustic, or eclectic, Sue Nelson Designs can please your aesthetic palate — and palette. The daughter of a carpenter, Nelson was further educated by experts in design at both Kent State and Hiram College. After earning her degree, Nelson gained a decade of hands-on experience at Jacob’s Paint & Wallpaper, formerly located across the street from her present shop. “We do things the traditional American Way, meaning lots of sweat equity, hard work, quality products, local sourcing and no short cuts.”

Sue Nelson Designs carries Pratt & Lambert and Pittsburgh Paints, ceramic tile and laminates, fine designer upholstery, thousands of fabric selections, drapery, wallpaper, carpeting, custom area rugs, Oriental rugs, lighting, original art pieces, and gift items — the lion’s share made in North America and many products manufactured locally. (Most of the art is also created by local artists and craftsmen.)

Case in point: Pratt & Lambert Paints, manufactured in Cleveland and known for superior coverage and splatter-resistant qualities, produces paints and stains at affordable prices.

P5130567“There’s a whole Pratt & Lambert history in this area, which has sold this paint for more than 100 years. Irwin Hardware in downtown Garrettsville used to carry this line of paints, but now that the hardware store is gone, its customer base isn’t being served. We want the communities in and around Garrettsville to know they still have a source of their favorite paints right here.”

A second source is Portage Paints at 640 West Main Street in Ravenna, operated by Nelson’s husband, Rick Davis.

Sue Nelson Designs caters to out-of-state and international customers, but wants area residents to feel comfortable walking into the store, browsing the selections and asking for help with either do-it-yourself or customized home interior projects.

The shop is open Mondays through Fridays, 8am – 5pm; and Saturdays 8am – 4pm. Call (330) 678-5300 for more information.