New Year, New Design

An interview with Shannon Callaghan of Clover

Picture this scene—the clock strikes midnight on December 31 and New Year’s cheer is widespread like a recent snowfall, glittering and perfect under a silver moon. It’s the moment most of us have been waiting for, mentally. To simply start a new calendar year and renew our spirits. And with that yearning to renew and refresh invigorates our curiosity within our own homes, the place where we’ve dwelled for so long it seems. Shannon Callaghan, the owner of Clover—an apparel and home store located at 114 East Main Street—is here to help us bring new life to familiar spaces. 

Your home is a great place to start. Costly renovations and large home-improvement projects are overwhelming and there are simple ways to bring renewal to your home by making a few small changes such as reducing clutter, as well as adding meaningful pieces to your décor. Shannon and the staff at Clover can help you through that process.  

Her store is comfortable and full of natural light. You feel at home as soon as you enter the store. Filled with a well curated assortment of meaningful, timeless accents and staples, you’ll enjoy browsing through the warm neutral tones of alpaca pillows, organic blankets, and cashmere sweaters. 

What is your experience in design?

My degree is in interior architecture with a minor in graphic design and I have had my own design business in Missoula since 1998. I work with both commercial and residential clients but in the past few years most of my projects have been high end turn-key.

The client will hire me to do the entire project from start to finish and in some cases I actually draw the floor plans. Then I select all of the interior and exterior finishes and materials starting with the flooring and then countertops, cabinets, tile, lighting, plumbing, fixtures, etcetera. If the client wants to purchase furniture, bedding, and accessories, I offer that, too. I can source anything the client is looking for, down to the dishes and silverware. 

How would you describe your design style?

I grew up in Montana so inherently I love natural materials and bringing nature inside with things like wood and stone. I would call my personal style Montana Modern because I like to put a Montanan twist on modern homes by mixing earthy, neutral colors with leather, metal, stone, and wood. With the products I bring into Clover, it is much of the same—cotton, denim, cashmere, organic fabrics, and leather goods. I do my best to purchase from vendors that produce in the USA. These are more of an investment and last longer than synthetics. Since I reopened I have had customers comes into my store and say that they still wear a sweater that they bought from me ten years ago.

Tell us about Clover.

In 2010 I rented this space to be a designer showroom and then the recession hit. My brother had an organic clothing line so I did trunk shows while still doing design out of store. The clothing was selling well so I started bringing in more apparel and accessories and my son and I came up with the name Clover. When the lease came up in 2014 I was really busy with my design business and had to make a decision to choose one or the other so I decided to go back into design full-time. The landlord called in the summer of 2019 and asked if I wanted to rent this space again. At the time I thought it was a no-brainer with the new hotels opening and the new library. Main Street was going to get a lot more traffic. So I decided to re-open Clover as a lifestyle boutique offering apparel, accessories, home decor, and design services. I opened February 28, two weeks before COVID hit. Fortunately, my design clients kept me busy during that time.

Clover is warm and welcoming and I want customers to feel there is something for everyone when they come. 

What are some simple ways you can bring a new look to your home in 2021?

After the holidays people are ready to freshen things up and now with everything that’s going on, people really want to brighten up their home. A good way to do that is to have neutral bases and then add color in a pillow, rug or vase. I call it POC or Pop of Color. Adding texture is important, too.

Also assess what’s important to you. William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Have one or two things on a shelf that really mean something to you instead of having every inch of the space covered. 

Do you have tips on creating an effective and welcoming home office?

Put things away in files. If you’re focusing on clutter, it takes time to get started on what you actually need to do. Make it calming. A comfortable chair is important and plants are really important. They make your space feel like it’s living and livable.

What are the benefits of hiring an interior designer as opposed to doing the project yourself?

Education and experience are important and I have both. In new construction, I make sure the plan is functional before any material selections are made. In home design I don’t take my style and say this is what I like. It’s not about what I like, it’s about what the client needs and their aspirations. 

I also buy wholesale so I have my own sources of product lines that I offer to my clients. I offer design packages based on the size of the project work within their budget. There are a lot of very talented makers in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley that I really try to utilize for my projects.

What do you enjoy about working with the Missoula community?

I’m so grateful to the people who have supported the store during COVID and the continuing construction downtown. It’s been really humbling to have customers come back and also bring their friends and family into Clover. Small businesses are the heart and soul of downtown. The Missoula community has kept us going through all of the craziness in 2020.

Our perseverance as a community is remarkable, as is Shannon’s passion and commitment to her customers. No matter the season, of life or year, her vision is as unswerving as her talents to make your living space beautiful and inspiring. 

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