Westfork Gallery owner Michelle Pickens is a diva of interior design who brings artistic skill and style to everything she does.
For the past 17 years, the accomplished painter and professional framer has created a warm and inviting boutique store in Dolores filled with unique accoutrements that make a house a home.
Her contributions to decorating homes and work spaces near and far earned Westfork Gallery the Dolores Business of the Year recently.
"It started out as a custom framing business and has evolved into home decor with a Western, rustic edge," she says during a recent tour. "I am honored and proud to be recognized for the award. This is my home, and the community has been very supportive."
Her shop is part museum, part art gallery, with a nice selection of furniture and household goods you can not find anywhere else.
"I stay affordable, and work with customers on a personal level to create a comfortable space that is interesting and reflects their personality," Pickens says.
The variety is astounding as well. From shell-covered African baskets, traditional Native American wares, and local jewelry to animal-skin rugs, large Western oil paintings, light fixtures, candles and ceramics.
In recent years she added the well-designed Karma Coffee bar, and created a wine-tasting room in an old vault that had been used for storage. The room features wine from Mountain View vineyard out Olathe.
The building is on the historic register and used to be a track house where locomotives and the Galloping Goose were repaired.
Pickens and her daughter, Sara Everin, run the place with enthusiasm and love for design, community, and art.
"I grew up in the gallery and learned everything from my mom," Sara says. "She really knows her business and has excellent tastes. It shows in this store."
Working with artists is an obvious passion for Pickens. Her custom frame shop caters to painters, designers and photographers.
"Every piece has a story to tell. I learn what a piece means to them, who it is going to and where it will hang, then design a frame to fit that space and personality," Pickens says. "I help complete the story."
Pickens is an art dealer and designer for 25 fine-art publishers, and continues to create her vivid watercolors of flowers and scenic home settings.
She emphasizes that there is something for everyone in her store. It is one of those special shops that requires multiple return visits. Wherever your eyes land, there is a unique item, meticulously positioned, waiting for a spot in your home or office.
Pickens describes her work as framing an environment: "An exceptional home is simply a frame for an exceptional life."
Contact the gallery for interior design needs, project planning, and custom framework. Westfork Gallery is located at 105 South 5th St. in Dolores. (882-2211) Visit their website at http://westforkgallery.com/