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Step into a cosmopolitan world at Stephanie Tripier Design in Sharpsburg

| Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, 12:18 p.m.
Stephanie Tripier
Sharon Drake | For the Tribune-Review
Stephanie Tripier

Cosmopolitan creativity greets you as you walk through the door of the 1880s building that's home to Stephanie Tripier Design in Sharpsburg.

The fuchsia entrance at the new business leads to a showroom for home accessories and the workroom for her upholstery business. Chairs waiting to be upholstered and personalized for her customers hang in rows on the wall next to handmade quilts, leather pillows and glamorous swatches of fabric. A few steps along the painted floorboards is a hand loom where Tripier weaves.

Whether shoppers want one unique piece, or help personalizing their entire home, visiting 511 S. Main St. will open up new doors.

“Shouldn't you have a nice, cozy home that reflects your personality? It's where you spend so much time. It's nice to come home and have an environment which pleases you,” Tripier said.

Her shop only recently opened, but she has been personalizing her space in Sharpsburg for a year-and-a-half. Her neighbors have been watching the metamorphosis from dilapidated laundromat turned tattoo parlor to a trendy business.

“I like Sharpsburg. It has that small-town feeling. It's on the move just like Pittsburgh,” she said.

The designer moved to the area at the repeated urging of friends at Carnegie Mellon University. Tripier had an upholstery shop in Marseilles, France, for 12 years. She spent time in San Francisco, too. Although she was born in Atlanta, her family moved to Germany when she was young. She sees herself as a citizen of the world.

Tripier, 62, says she has grown as a designer and artisan over the years. She earned a degree as a fashion designer in Germany. During her time in France, she became an upholsterer and then taught the craft.

She is designing a future focused on doing what she loves.

“I want to be able to make things I like and sell them. I want to work for clients who appreciate fine craftsmanship and quality work,” she said.

She prizes the individuality of her work. She sewed a quilt made from some of her favorite clothing from the ‘80s. When she designs quilts for others, she asks for a loved fabric to build it around.

Creativity is a base for much of her work.

One aspect of her design philosophy is to have a comfy sofa and add interesting chairs as exclamation marks. She has created an upholstered round hassock which is an extra chair or, by adding a tray, becomes a coffee table.

As busy as she is, Tripier finds time to relax by reading. She is eclectic in her choices, picking up diverse books to delve into.

And that she has interesting furniture to settle into with her favorite book is something clearly by design.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer.

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