Story By Bonnie Bing - Photos By Whitney Pulen
If you love people who like to repurpose things, you would be an instant fan of Robyn Wells. She figures at least half of everything in her home is old, and much of it has come from her collection of architectural salvage items. A stained window from a church in Kansas City and drapes from a French castle are just a couple of examples. “I’m an architectural salvage nerd,” she said.
Robyn and her husband Dave Wells live in an Old Town loft that manages to be rustic and elegant at the same time. Everywhere you look there are items you wish you could take home with you.
She thinks her interest in architectural salvage started with the demolition of the Allis Hotel. She has a huge chandelier made from fixtures from the Allis. She loved them so much she took four fixtures and had them welded together.
Asked what she thought her decorating style is, she said, “Oh my gosh. I guess I’d say eclectic. I love the castle feel. I don’t like the word “gothic” because it sounds evil,” she said.
When they moved downtown from Crestview, Dave told Robyn the storage area in the attic looked like a store with all the things she had collected. Great idea! She opened Uniquities, a store next to the building where they live. “But I open only one weekend a month. That way I have time to go get more things to put in it,” she said.
In October Uniquities, 141 N. Rock Island, will be open the 13th, 14th and 15th.
Even though the interior is welcoming and comfortable, it’s outside where Robyn loves to sit and relax. The deck area is two levels. Four floors up the view is of the Old Town Plaza, their neighbor’s decks, and the roofs of buildings in Old Town. “On the upper deck we have the best people watching spot in town,” she said.
“I like to sit here, even in the winter, because the fireplace will keep you warm,” she said. “Actually it gives out so much heat, it can get too warm.”
The deck has a hot tub, lots of plants and flowers, a bar, and plenty of scenic places to sit. And yes, there is a television.