At TOWNhouse, founder Eddy Doumas digs deep to know details about every piece of furniture and art he carries.
By Nora Burba Trulsson
Photography courtesy of TOWNhouse
You could spend hours with Eddy Doumas on the floor of his new TOWNhouse showroom at the Scottsdale Design Center. He can rattle off not just the basic facts about a piece, but its overall history as well. “This is a chair designed by Clara Porset Dumas,” says Doumas, pointing to a slim woven chair from Mexa, a Mexican furniture company. “She was Luis Barragan’s interior designer, and this is a licensed reproduction from her archive.” A few steps away, he points to a pair of sturdy armchairs. “These are officers’ chairs, designed by Pierre Jeanneret for the new planned city of Chandigarh, India. He was Corbusier’s cousin, and he ran the India project and designed furniture for the public buildings.” Nearby, Doumas insists a visitor sit in a golden-hued Gio Ponti chair. “Can you see that you can’t really sit up straight in it?” he asks. “It’s designed for slouching.”
TOWNhouse is Doumas’ passion project, the work of a self-described “art and furniture nerd,” a showroom where he carries vintage, licensed reproductions and modern classic design furniture, art and accessories, all with a story and a pedigree. You won’t find the usual Knoll and Herman Miller suspects here, but instead, pieces by Edward Wormley, Adrian Pearsall, Paul Evans and others, as well as present-day designers such as Phoenix furniture maker Paul Rene and Chicago outdoor furniture artisan Zachary A. The showroom also carries Proper, the in-house line that is an homage to classic design.
Doumas’ path to TOWNhouse includes several success stories. Growing up in Chicago and Greece, he received a degree in fine art and started his career as a bookkeeper for an interior design firm. “I learned the industry from the business side,” he points out. Doumas launched his own interiors practice in Vail, soon expanding to Palm Beach and the Hamptons, following a second-home clientele. In 2003, he launched Town showroom at the Denver Design District, offering lines of furniture, fabrics and more, then brought the concept to the Scottsdale Design District in 2014. “We’ve had great success with Town,” says Doumas, “and the two showrooms have grown to feature multiple market-driven lines that meet the designers’ needs.”
But Doumas had an itch to offer something unique, artisanal, crafted. “I wanted to showcase pieces that are original designs, or respect the original design, and art that is not just decorative,” he explains.
He found a showroom just across the parking lot from Scottsdale’s Town and opened TOWNhouse, fitting the 6,000-square foot space with a full kitchen to cater events in the space, thanks to a collaboration with a Cordon Bleu-trained chef. He has a library full of design tomes (including books on obscure designers) and doesn’t mind clients sitting down and spending time turning the pages and soaking up a bit of knowledge. Doumas also hosts regular events, “TOWNhouse socials,” during which speakers come in to give talks about topics like Edward Wormley’s collaborations with Jack Lenor Larsen.
With many pieces being vintage or one-offs, a good deal of the inventory is sold off the floor, and the showroom is open to the public, with courtesy to the trade. “I don’t like the exclusivity that we see in some parts of the design industry,” Doumas says. “I believe in the democracy of good taste.”
And good taste draws. Architects, interior designers and other clients have discovered the stories and unique pieces at TOWNhouse. “This is meant to be a place where people can come for a cultural lifestyle,” Doumas says. “Everything here is design-driven.”