Q&A with Vail Home Outfitters

Q&A with Vail Home Outfitters
Donna Lang Arenshield, has owned Vail Home Outfitters for 30 years.

Brent Bingham, courtesy image

Vail Home Outfitters has offered homeowners distinctive home decor and design for more than 30 years. The team there believes in honesty, integrity and providing a relaxed, beautiful atmosphere when it comes to helping people furnish their homes. They take the time to listen to what you want and cultivate lasting relationships, so that you can find unique items to reflect your personal style. The following is an interview with Donna Lang Arenshield.

Tell us about your interior design experience.

I knew in high school that I wanted to be a designer and graduated with a degree in design in 1975. It seems like yesterday. I then worked for a large retail design showroom — much like Home Outfitters — and my career took off. It was a combination of being in the right place at the right time, and taking advantage of what opportunities were placed in my path. At that job, I worked with a team that created a personal space for the King Khalid of Saudi Arabia at The Cleveland Clinic, designed the offices of Mark McCormack (founder of IMG) and designed the corporate headquarters of Diamond Shamrock.

Finally, the job that jumpstarted my career was working on a team that designed the personal residence of Will McFarlane, who ended up being my extremely supportive mentor, in Naples, Florida. He owned AIRCOA, a hotel equity and management company based in Cleveland, Ohio. After the completion of his home, I was offered the position of director of design for his hospitality company, moving from Cleveland to Denver. So, the majority of my background was in hospitality design: The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver and The Maxwell House in Nashville are just two of the hotels that I am most proud of.

Since 2016, I have been fortunate enough to make the change to residential design. Working on the design of Mikaela Shiffrin’s home in Edwards was the first residential project that helped put Home Outfitters on the map. Since that project, I have been able to work on so many wonderful and creative renovations and new construction here in Vail and around the country. Through those relationships, I have been so fortunate to have formed many wonderful personal relationships.

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What can customers expect when they walk into Home Outfitters?

I feel that we have curated a visual that offers our customers not only a selection of what is new but also what is comfortable and offers a value for them.

What kind of perspective do you bring to curating items in Home Outfitters?

We really do a lot of reading and research in what is new. We offer a bit of what is trending but place an importance of what is lasting for our customers. Furniture is expensive today, and we want to make sure that our customers are receiving a value for their money.

Describe your design services.

DLA: In addition to our retail showroom, we offer a full-service design department. We are hardworking and detail-oriented, but most importantly, we believe that we listen to our clients’ needs and wishes. My overriding philosophy is that our job as designers is to interpret our client’s vision — not impose our aesthetics on our clients.

What makes your store, as well as your services, unique?

We believe that our showroom is a reflection of what our customers are asking for — but they are also looking for our expertise, our experiences and the research we are willing to undertake for them. We love what we do!

What has one of your favorite projects been and why?

I can’t really reduce it to one, though I think of the fun I had working with Mikaela Shiffrin — receiving texts with pictures of furniture she loved and styles that she hoped would work in her home. The honor of working on the Brown Palace Hotel and the history that I was expected to honor was also wonderful. And there’s so much more: every time I finish a home for clients, then being asked to design another one, to my parents trusting me to design their vacation home in Naples. That was a project of love and respect.

What else would you like to add?

I feel it is such an honor to be asked to help someone make their home not only beautiful but also comfortable and personal. In my mind, it’s a trust issue, and I always hope, at the end of the day, I have fulfilled that goal and honored that trust.