From a blank space into a colorful place, a Billings boutique creates a sense of joy as you enter
Photography by Renata Haidle
The connection between interior space and inner happiness should be acknowledged—which is exactly what The Joy of Living does. Designed by Jeremiah Young of Kibler & Kirch, the Billings boutique creates a sense of joy as soon as you enter.
The whimsical Joy of Living sign contrasts with the brick façade of the historic Stapleton Building.
The cheery space is located in the Stapleton Building, a historic building that Young has renovated. The building has a rich Montana history—built in 1904, it was the first commercial building in Montana with an electric sign. It housed a little of everything, including various ground-floor merchants, a hotel and “a gentleman’s club of some kind,” as Young puts it. Turning to history for inspiration, Young envisioned the space as a “contemporary take on a 1904 mercantile.”
A small round table displays household goods and also divides the space in an organic way, directing shoppers to different parts of the store.
Soaring ceilings, white walls, warm woods, exposed brick—these are some of the ingredients that helped turn a uniquely shaped, small space (less than 700 square feet) into a beautiful boutique. In keeping with the mercantile tradition, Young paid great attention to two important elements: a wall cabinet and rolling ladder.
Gifts of all kinds are beautifully displayed at the Joy of Living boutique in Billings, Montana. Reclaimed wood built-ins inspired by Old West mercantile stores add warmth to the predominantly white palette.
Constructed of reclaimed fir salvaged from floorboards from an old feed store in Twin Bridges, Montana, the wall cabinet at The Joy of Living literally embodies history and offers a counterpoint to the modern white surfaces throughout the rest of the boutique—“the white envelope of randomly stacked poplar walls, white powder-coated metal tabletops, painted white maple floors and tin ceiling, and the abundance of natural light,” as Young describes it.
“When customers walk in, they are instantly drawn into the environment,” says owner Kris Carpenter.
Even more attention went into creating the store’s ladder. Both a practical and aesthetic piece, the rolling ladder helps organize the store’s inventory—and symbolizes Western mercantile tradition. Kibler & Kirch collaborated with Troy Evans of Blockhorse Designs to execute the ladder’s design, which became “the centerpiece of that space,” according to Young.
It’s all in the details—shiny jewelry on velvety moss, colorful ribbons on a wood round, a large floor mirror in a crisp white dressing room.
Sometimes happiness really is about the little things—in this case, the interior design of the boutique and how it showcases The Joy of Living’s products. “Every aspect of the design is thoughtfully considered and edited,” Young explains. Store owner Kris Carpenter agrees: “As a retailer, the space is always easy to change up and is a dream to do displays in. Everything looks good in there!”
Both the gifts and the space mix different textures, shapes and materials. A chic leather-and-hide purse sits on a rustic tree stump.
By engaging with the space’s history, adding wood and other natural materials, and using a clean white palette, Young of Kibler & Kirch designed a space that creates a sense of happiness—a blank slate for the colorful gifts including aromatic candles, inspirational books, pillows, cozy blankets and a host of other feel-good items found at The Joy of Living.