Area Environments

Area Environments was founded in 2012 out of a shared adoration of fine art. In the five years since, 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. We appreciate your interest as we continue to grow, and we look forward to collaborating with you on your next project.

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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.


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. 


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Deborah Rasinski

Account Manager

Deb grew up in Minnesota, but spent a long stint in comparatively snowless Seattle, where she most recently worked at a showroom for high-end interior products. With an extensive background in merchandising and buying for home decor and furniture, she loves online window-shopping and scouring thrift stores when she's off the clock.

"Not being an artist myself," Deb says, "I appreciate being able to work so closely with fine art at Area. It's about as close as you can get unless you're working at a gallery!"

Deb’s a hardcore soccer fan (the Seattle Sounders, natch), a Mexican-food devotee, a Radiohead-head, and secretly dreams of being a filmmaker. She and her husband have a puppy, Oscar, who looks like an Ewok. In high school, on a dare, she played on a boys’ football team for a year. That’s the kind of person you want handling your accounts.


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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.


JENNIFER NORMAN  

Resource Manager

“Jen Norman’s my name, organizing is my game!”

We’re talking OCD-level organizational skills. Alphabetizing, numerical, by color… you name it, she’ll arrange it. Nothing makes her happier than everything having a place, and everything being in its place!

As the Resource Librarian, this skill truly comes in handy. She'll make sure your showroom and client samples are stocked and sent in the timeliest manner possible.

Jennifer comes from the design world, and when she’s not at Area counting and putting things all in a row, 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 magazines!


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. 


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!


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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.


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Emily Ruf

Studio Assistant

Emily is a Minnesota native but has also lived in Austin, Texas and Brooklyn, New York. She earned her BS degree in textile development from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Emily joins Area from the freelance world, creating artwork and illustrations for publications, small businesses, and bands. In her free time, Emily loves painting and drawing, listening to records, and hanging out with her three cats.


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Orion Frey

Logistics Manager

Hailing from Alaska, Orion is the resident lyricist and perpetual learner. Bringing over 15 years of painting and carpentry experience, he prides himself on efficiency and versatility. Orion enjoys the day to day challenge that both Area and Apropos Studio present and is always looking to the horizon. In his off time, Orion works on his music and spends time with his daughter.

“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” -Norman Shidle


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Eric Bryson

Quality Control

Nothing escapes the all-seeing eye! Eric is a production artist and the quality control expert for Area and Apropos Studio. 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~


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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