Business Person of the Month : Claire Herthum Major

­ClaireArtvark, Ltd, LLC
Claire Herthum Major, Owner/Designer
672 Jefferson Hwy.
Baton Rouge, LA
(225) 778-5160
 “The artful design of living and work space”

Claire Major, owner/designer of Artvark, Ltd. specializes in art, interior design and decorating.  The shop features antiques and vintage furniture along with other items such as original artwork from local artists (and beyond!).  Artvark, Ltd. can be hired to do a re-design of existing items or space or for renovations of space with new interior design.  If you want a new, fresh look using a combination of your own furniture or accessories or if you are looking for a complete renovation or redesign, Claire Herthum Major of Artvark wants to help.

The showroom offers an eclectic mix with a modern vibe and is composed mostly of vintage and mid-century modern furnishings and accessories. There is an abundance of beautiful things from times past that with a little paint, refinishing, new upholstery, or repurposing, can give your home character and pizzazz.  Customers can also get a modern look that many folks long for these days in the task-cluttered, time-deprived world we live in.

Claire has been working in the business world since 1978.  Customer service has always been the focus of her career beginning with her 12 years with the Marriott Hotel chain.  She learned the value of making people feel comfortable and at home. The Marriott focused very heavily on client service and people pleasing by promoting the Marriott Hotel and its services to encourage return business.

After leaving the hotel business, Claire consulted for 15 years helping companies develop customer-focused cultures.  She was instrumental in developing employee relations. This background and experience led her to establish her own consulting business that fostered the importance of employee well-being and job satisfaction.  Her consulting experience took her to many places around the world.  Eventually, she grew tired of the travel restrictions and regulations and decided to stay home.  During this time, Claire redecorated her house three times and moved on to decorating her friends’ houses.  Claire began to collect more items than she needed for herself or others and her husband told her to open a store and sell the stuff or have a garage sale.

interiorIn May 2011, Artvark, Ltd. opened at 672 Jefferson Highway and shares the space with MJ’s Café.  They often have art events and sales and participate in the Mid-City Merchant activities.

We like to think that designing and decorating your home is like the wedding saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”  No matter how modern your style is (and we lean toward fresh and contemporary) we believe having an antique, vintage or mid-century piece (or pieces) is a must.  Conversely, regardless of your love for the traditional, “modern, updated, and fresh” makes your home engaging, uncluttered, and have better resale value.  “Something borrowed” comes from our belief that a piece of furniture, art, or an accessory should be from somewhere other than your own country.  Borrow from another culture—it adds interest and variety to your home.  Finally, “something blue” is not restricted to this color only—but using any color can add punch, create balance and generate visual interest.

As an artist, I am a firm believer that art makes your home or work space more stimulating, unique and provides food for the soul.  I love decorating with pieces that tell stories—this is the difference in “plain old store bought everything” and a home where your eye is drawn in by items that are meaningful and sentimental to you—and makes it so inviting and interesting to your guests.  As Goethe said, the home should make us happy and give us “peace.”  Whether your budget affords original art or reproductions, art of any kind is a must!

3Claire feels fortunate to have the business experience that she has and to be able to roll it all into one incredible form of work—Artvark, Ltd. art and interiors—the artful design of live and work space. She knows the value of friendly, genuine attention to the customer.  Her avocation was art and interior design and decorating and now this is her vocation.  Practicing her own art-painting took a back seat to the business. “Interior design, decorating, and renovating homes is now my business and art is very much a part of it.”

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