R.L. NIELSEN
Writer, artist, Dauchsund fan. 

Showroom

BY KIMBERLY MACARTHUR GRAHAM

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENNIS SCHLACHTER

>>> Nielsen-Metier, Denver, Colorado

Nielsen-Metier.  

High ceilings and natural light add to an airy ambiance at the Denver Nielsen-Metier showroom.

Standing in a spacious new Denver showroom that reflects his vivacious personality, Richard Nielsen offers a grin, a handshake and a few words of welcome that make every visitor feel at home. More to the point, he makes clients feel that any of the stunners in his Nielsen-Metier showroom could go home with them. Clearly, the buoyant Nielsen loves what he does: staying immersed in design, working with people and helping design professionals connect the two.

Nielsen started Nielsen-Metier 16 years ago with a partner whom he eventually bought out. He substituted the name "Metier" for his original partner's and took the split as "an opportunity to change the way the business ran, to bring my marketing background to it." He began using his people and promotional skills as a strong complement to his impeccable eye for design, and business took off. Just last year, Nielsen-Metier, which also has a Phoenix locale, relocated from the Denver Design District to an enormous space on Santa Fe Drive, a burgeoning art and design nexus. "It's continually interesting. There is ongoing change," Nielsen says. "It's like a holiday year-round. Things come in, you open it up, and it's a gift."

Nielsen-Metier.Vignettes at Nielsen-Metier range from traditional to contemporary.

With the help of architectural firm Jeff Swanson & Associates, Nielsen has crafted a showroom that sparkles. Given 10,000 square feet to play with, the team created a clean, modern space with large, unfettered areas that Nielsen says allow for "new options for display. We're able to keep the look clean, and that's very important to us."

The Denver showroom's appealing vignettes are built around pieces both unique and beautifully crafted, with perhaps a soupçon of classicism thrown in. This mixture is perfectly represented by Nella Vetrina's line of exquisite hand-painted cabinets, their traditional shapes complemented by entirely funky patterns and brilliant colors reminiscent of harlequins, or maybe shapely legs wrapped in fantastic stockings.

Nielsen describes the showroom's guiding style as "impressive," and he means it in a literal sense. "It leaves an impression on you that you can't get rid of. I want people to respond to this showroom, since most people have strong feelings about their home," he says.

Nielsen-Metier.Richard Nielsen, center, flanked from left by staff members Amber Weiser, Olivia Martinez, Jennifer Dearlove and Mary Pat Heath.

Among the impressive lines Nielsen-Metier shows are Andre Arbus Collection, William Switzer & Associates, McGuire Furniture Company, the aforementioned Nella Vetrina ("inside the window" in Italian) and the Lucien Rollin Collection. Lighting line Palmer Design adds elegance, while chandeliers by Niermann Weeks are glittering crystal ambrosia. And don't forget the fabrics. With the new, larger showroom, Nielsen was able to give the displays of sumptuous textiles by manufacturers such as Koplavitch & Zimmer, Tessuti Uno, Summer Hill and Scalamandre the space and light they deserve.

A lifelong painter and a sometime furniture designer, Nielsen identifies with the creative people he works with: artisans, interior designers, the client who wants a table that is a work of art. Always on the lookout for "something totally new," Nielsen thinks in terms of artistic evolution and edginess. He challenges, "Question yourself: How will you evolve? What is tomorrow going to bring? I'm always looking for that next unusual impression."

A tour through the Nielsen-Metier showroom engenders a storm of design ideas, endless possibilities for a creative and classy home.

Nielsen-Metier.A large, well-lit section of the showroom is devoted to fabric.

The orange lacquer and blue-grey velvet L'Austerlitz chairs by Andre Arbus Collection will speak to some. The Burton-Ching coffee table dressed up in black and gold lacquer will sing to others. For some, the siren will be William Switzer's leggy and gorgeously grained Athenes side table or Switzer's (Lucien Rollin Collection) Fauteuil Entrelas armchair. All are fabulous items, each rife with personality and verve — and Nielsen revels in helping interior designers match such pieces with just the right client and project.

The eight-person staff at Nielsen-Metier works only to the trade, striving to give design professionals service as excellent as the inventory. Nielsen sums it up: "In every respect, designers bring to me challenges, and it's my job to rise to them and to make successes out of them." Drawing upon the marvels of a showroom Nielsen calls "a celebration of high design and high style," Nielsen-Metier offers a degree of design savvy and enthusiasm that makes this showroom a design destination.

Nielsen-Metier, Inc., 965 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204, (303) 722-0072; 4836 E. McDowell Road, Ste. 103, Phoenix, AZ 85008, (602) 273-0300.