Area Environments

Area Environments is a creative studio that curates original work from contemporary artists to produce exclusive wallpapers and large-scale murals. Founded in 2012 out of a shared adoration of fine art, Area’s unique approach to creating wallcoverings continues to be fueled by this passion, alongside our obsession with quality and our desire to challenge the link between art and environment.

Our participating artists are from all over the world, and we consider them our partners. Their wide-ranging artistic voices, stories, and talents have allowed us to build consistently compelling collections, and we are grateful to them for the opportunity. We’re also proud of their individuality; we honor their work by maintaining the integrity of their original pieces, as well as compensating them with a portion of each sale.

In the seven years since Area was founded, we remain just as committed to selecting artwork that inspires the creative process, delivering unparalleled service, and surprising and delighting all who work with us.

ASutton.jpg

Anna Sutton

Operations Manager

Anna developed a love for art and design at a young age, when she would be found sketching out different furniture floor plans of her childhood home.  She finds satisfaction, both physically and mentally, from cleaning or organizing a space and was jokingly teased by her friends in college for color-coding her DVDs. While she decided after college not to specifically practice her degree in Interior Design, she knew she wanted to continue with a company that promoted creativity, forward thinking and life/work balance.

After nearly ten years in Chicago, Anna returned with her husband to the Twin Cities.  She now resides in the suburbs of Saint Paul with her husband, two kids and two black cats.  When asked if she would prefer to be a stay at home mom, her response is,

“I love my family, but by having a career, I am a better mom and a better wife.  Childcare is expensive and my house is always messy, but my kids are getting a better education and our time together means more.”

Life beyond work include spending time with family, friends, finding local deals, gardening/yard work, a good Netflix binge, travel, photography and all things Shutterfly. At 72” high, what’s the best thing about being tall?  “People look up to you!” 


Amy Jo Fuller    

International Sales Manager

Returning to design after a four-year hiatus in the bike industry felt like coming home to Amy Jo. She was especially thrilled to be joining the Area team, as wallpaper is in her blood: growing up with a British mum, Amy Jo helped her mother change and install new wallpaper many times. She gives her mother credit for sparking her interest in design: “She would rearrange rooms in our house – furniture and artwork – and I could feel the impact that would have.”  

Originally educated in the field of higher education, Amy Jo pursued a certificate in interior design while working for an online university. From there she took a position at Holly Hunt in the textile department of its Minneapolis showroom. After several years, she moved to Chicago, home to Holly Hunt's corporate office. Overall, she spent nearly 10 years at the eponymous design house.

As part of Area, Amy Jo brings a passion for design and a sales philosophy focused on customer service and building relationships. 


Laura.jpg

Laura Knutson

Account Manager

Laura started her career in the A & D community by way of an art and framing gallery, she was particularly interested in how to build the gallery's business. The gallery fueled her interest in interior design and her eventual direction into some of the best showrooms of luxury furnishings. Laura created an amazing career by cultivating relationships with the Architects and Designers for both the Holly Hunt and Donghia showrooms where she worked, collectively, for the last 20 years. 

Always curious about how things are made, she never passes up an opportunity for a factory tour or to flood a maker with questions.

"Working with nice people that create beautiful art and get it out into the world for others to enjoy, is the best."

Naturally curious with the creation process, Laura is happy to make her way to the manufacturing side of the industry here at Area Environments. With so much experience behind her belt, she is the perfect fit for our customers and showrooms.

Laura likes gardening with native plants for the butterflies, working with her neighborhood to restore their local pond, visiting museums and galleries, iced coffee, and dark chocolate.


SSowder.jpg

Stephanie Sowder

Account Manager

An artist and entrepreneur from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Roanoke, Virginia, Stephanie now makes her home in Minneapolis, where she’s discovered a whole new well of inspiration. In addition to her husband and two cats, she also brought her passion for “accessible art.”

 Having custom-painted many a furniture item, clothing, shoes, and once even the interior of her own car, she loves bringing art into her daily life. You know the places Steph’s been because she leaves everything covered in art.

 “Art should not just be seen in museums or found in books. It enriches our lives and should be a part of our everyday environments.”

 With a background in graphic design, digital marketing, and business management (including her own vintage store, Freckles), Stephanie has found her dream job here at Area Environments. When not at work, she can be found making weird crafts, watching classic movies, showing off her epic rap skills at karaoke, strumming John Denver songs on her guitar, or collecting vintage treasures.



APrado.jpg

Abi Prado

Account Manager

Abi is originally from Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Minnesota.  She dreams of one day living in a warmer climate (preferably Mexico).

Having spent the last 10 years working in healthcare administration, Abi is new to the design field. 

“I am so excited to be a part of the industry and to be surrounded by these beautiful pieces of art.”

When she’s not at work, Abi is probably planning a trip somewhere (she loves to travel), cooking (or scoping out new recipes), listening to music, salsa dancing with her husband or working on items for her Etsy shop:

AmpedCreationsShop.Etsy.com



JENNIFER NORMAN  

Marketing Director

Jennifer started at Area as the Resource Manager and has recently made the move to Marketing Director.

She comes from the design world, and when she’s not at Area she's most likely to be found in her home studio printing on her letterpress or making color swatch books. She loves paper, ribbon, scissors, and finding unique ways to use and play with them. Her husband thinks she hoards these supplies; however, she prefers to think of herself as an aggressive curator. Plus, they're all organized neatly!

Jennifer especially loves to find the perfect gift and wrap it perfectly – her motto is never to underestimate the gift of a prettily wrapped present. She searches for inspiration in everyday details that are often overlooked and can get lost on Pinterest “for days.” What's more, she often picks her outfits from the bottom up because she's shoe-obsessed. Oh, yeah, and she says she'll never have enough Japanese craft and design books or Australian magazine


M Glanville.jpg

Michelle Glanville

Sample Librarian

There always needs to be someone who can handle the dirty work, and it’s rare to find someone as enthusiastic about it as Michelle. As the sample librarian, she makes sure that you get the orders you need. After four years of social work for underprivileged preschoolers and their families, the quiet of cutting, shipping, and setting up files is a happy change of pace and focus. Michelle is a true Minneapolis native who can run the lakes in her sleep, although she prefers to have true crime podcasts accompany her on her jaunts – a true murderino. 

When she isn’t working, she is still probably working. She stays busy with home improvement projects on her NE Minneapolis house, where she lives with her husband and dog (Marvel), as well as with creating custom watercolor drawings for people who want to commemorate a home, pet, or special event. Or maybe you will find her kicking ass at Ticket to Ride at your neighborhood brewery. 

Michelle is very excited to be a part of the Area team!


richard houff

Print Technician

A Minnesota native, Richard's lived throughout the Midwest over the course of his printing career. Prior to Area, he had five and a half years of experience printing banners and promotional material for venues including First Avenue, Mill City Nights, Minneapolis' skyways, and the Target Center, as well as creating custom vinyl wraps for DJ equipment and sponsored events. (He also used to teach martial arts to 8-year-olds!)

Introduced to Area through numerous friends and acquaintances, Richard felt he was "ready to level up" in his printing career. So far, he says, "I'm absolutely loving it!" He appreciates Area's range of personalities and thinks there's a lot to learn and be inspired by.

Richard's undeniably got the best bandana collection of anyone at Area, as well as a seemingly endless array of snapbacks. In his non-printing life, he likes to sew his own clothes, hang out with Heather (his partner in crime) and their rescue Munchkin cat Darla, play arcade games, and put sriracha on everything. 


ABartell.jpg

Adam Bartell

Print Technician

Adam is a Twin City native and life-long resident who is hoping to do some traveling. He’s a big fan of cartoons and animation and even went to school for media arts and animation. He has spent a good portion of his life working in the trades, mostly in carpentry, although he does have two years of experience working in the print industry.

When he is not at work Adam enjoys live music and is a bit of a film fanatic.


Jesse Barstad

Designer

When asked what his ideal Saturday would look like, Jesse says, “Brunch and a beer!” Although beer isn’t a part of his day job any more (save for the occasional Friday afternoon), Jesse comes to Area from a job designing and printing materials for a beer distributor. He has a background in animation and illustration, and he’s usually working on an illustration project in his free time. Jesse’s a Twin Cities native who's super into cartoons, especially Rick and Morty, and is also a giant Star Wars fan.

Jesse appreciates Area’s comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. He likes that his coworkers at Area are friends outside of work, too!


Oliver.jpg

Oliver Evans

Designer

Born in Washington, DC, Oliver has spent time in Minnesota, North Dakota (where he earned a degree in graphic design), and most recently Chicago, where he worked at a digitally printed clothing company. Oliver has his own company as well: Lake Street Apparel, a lifestyle apparel brand that began as a college project and whose proceeds go toward a charity that plants trees in areas of deforestation. His company is on track to support the planting of 1,000 new trees in California by the end of 2018!

Oliver’s a total dog person and an aficionado of classic comedies like The Big Lebowski and Caddyshack. Although Area’s offices are located in neither a bowling alley nor a golf course, Oliver says he immediately felt relaxed here. His ideal Saturday would consist of a long bike ride and ice cream, ideally in an unexpected flavor.


E Bryson.jpg

Eric Bryson

Quality Control & Logistics

Nothing escapes the all-seeing eye! Eric is the quality control and logistics expert for Area. Eric originally hails from Stillwater, Oklahoma but his creative quests have taken him many places where he has gathered a variety of skills along with a keen eye for color. Eric worked in Montreal as an effects technician for film and television for five years and then spent time in New Orleans fabricating Mardi Gras floats and silk screening wallpaper. He has a BFA in graphic design from Oklahoma State University and Associates in Industrial Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Having found a haven of artistic endeavor in his workplace, he is the ever-vigilant eye of our quality standards.

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche~


DPerry 5x7.jpg

Diane Perry      

President

Diane came to Area with an impressively multidimensional background: a talented photographer and graphic designer, she initially went to school for fashion design, then had her own photography business for 20 years while simultaneously working in retail management. What started as a graphic design intern position at Area blossomed into a bold and wonderful career as Operations Manager, and Diane was appointed President of Area in May 2018. Building on Area's forward-thinking culture, lighthearted atmosphere, and the high standard of customer service the company has become renowned for, Diane is planning for worldwide coverage of Area’s products. As Area continues to grow, she’s looking forward to expanding its offerings of new, cutting-edge materials for the architectural and design community.

“I have obtained bliss! I am so lucky to be able to work for a really cool company that values art and the creative process.”

Originally from Colorado, Diane moved to Minnesota in 2012 to attend the graphic design program at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). Charmed by the concept of Area, she jumped on board and set sail on what has become an incredible journey. Her life beyond work includes being the mother of two young men who have inherited her adventurous spirit. She frequently uses a sketchbook to document her journeys, which allows her to slow down, absorb details, and observe the world from a completely different point of view than behind a camera’s lens. Dedicating her time to family, friends, volunteering, design, travel, and art of all mediums, Diane enjoys a very full life.


Jamiereich.jpg

Jamie Reich

Owner

 

From studying both art and theater at the University of Buffalo to working as the prop master at the famed Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Jamie Reich – the owner and founder of both Apropos Painting Studio and Area Environments – has a long, illustrious history as an artistic innovator. Apropos Painting Studio has been in business for over 25 years and has evolved into a booming art, fabrication, and print business that employs a growing number of artists and tradespeople. Apropos has created sets for numerous film projects and produces ongoing interior projects for hundreds of retail stores worldwide.

 
The Apropos + Area Family

The Apropos + Area Family