There is local pride in knowing which side streets to travel. Today, we recommend that you turn down Racine. You know the street where Amro Music and The Woman’s Exchange have been for a long, long time. Cross over Walnut Grove, grab a cup of joe at Republic Coffee and then keep going until the road ends at Ray & Baudoin’s showroom and warehouse.
When Memphis homeowners are building, renovating or upgrading, Ray & Baudoin is an obvious smart choice for interior design advice; this we all know. But don’t forget to visit them when you simply want a standout accessory, one fresh furnishing or the perfect gift, because their showroom is a Midtown gem.
When Greg Baudoin and Grant Ray moved from their former location nine years ago, they traded a highly visible, small house-style building on Union for a spacious warehouse setting tucked away on Racine. But no matter the location or task, Ray & Baudoin’s aesthetic is always handsome, soothing and comfortable, with a pleasing touch of the unexpected. In turn, their showroom is filled with unique, livable products, both classic and contemporary.
And if all of that isn’t enticing enough, here are five more reasons to explore all sides of this multifaceted local resource:
1. The people
Side street shops and boutiques are often where you find the best customer service. These are the local stops where you get to know the person helping you, and they, in turn, genuinely care about meeting your needs.
The showroom team at Ray & Baudoin includes, of course, Grant and Greg, who do most of the buying. Shawn Mathews and Ragan Magness manage showroom operations and assist in selecting inventory. Shawn also manages installations, and Ragan is a design assistant. Jennifer Willis is the fabric and vendor librarian; Whitney Joiner and Diane Martin are design assistants; and DJ is the warehouse manager—an indispensable support team for the talented interior designers in this firm: the aforementioned plus Suzanne Varner, Michele Pinstein, Cindy Owen, Rodgers Menzies, Laura Davis, Whitney Joiner and Diane Martin.
2. Pillows galore
If you would like to freshen up a room or experiment with a new direction in your home, decorative pillows are an ideal starting point, and this shop has a bunch of them! We’re talking couture, custom pillows in a variety of shapes and sizes ready to go and starting at $100. Change the look of an outdated chair fabric with one great pillow until you have the time and money to reupholster the entire piece. A pillow from this respected store would make a great gift, too.
3. One-of-a-kind lamps and light fixtures
Lamps are one of the most room-changing accessories. It is especially fun to find lamps with unusual bases made from repurposed objects. While you may enjoy designing a clever lamp or browsing antique malls and design stores for days looking for the perfect lamp, finding the time to do so may be a challenge. Ray & Baudoin has a large, enticing collection of lamps starting at $200, and there is a good mix of modern and classic styles. Many of them have repurposed character, such as their collection of lamps made with antique wallpaper rollers.
4. Gift shopping
Yes, Ray & Baudoin is high-end, but we have had no problem finding novelties and gifts for reasonable prices at this side-street gem. If you are shopping for someone who loves their home, stop by. There are many artisan novelties under $50. Often the items in this shop come with a story about the European market where they were discovered or the craftsperson who made them.
5. Community involvement
Grant and Greg travel across Europe and the United States, and their inventory reflects close ties to New Orleans. While they are well connected to the bigger design world, they never lose sight of the local community. At Ray & Baudoin, you are shopping with people who are passionate about Memphis. For example, you have probably heard of ArtsMemphis’ amazing Culinary Series, an annual celebration of our city’s innately cool foodie scene and the arts. Did you know that Greg, with support from his entire team at Ray & Baudoin, is the driving force as chairman of this major ArtsMemphis project?
The next and final dinner party of the 2015 culinary year will be June 6 at his lakeside retreat. Acclaimed Memphis Chef Jason Dallas, executive chef of Interim, will prepare lake-inspired cuisine enhanced by stylist Greg Campbell of The Garden District, all to the live musical performance of saxophonist Jim Spake. And the dress for this lakeside evening is, of course, pontoon posh.
From their surprisingly large inventory of couture pillows and lamps, and a significant selection of well-priced, one-of-a-kind gifts, Ray & Baudoin also has friendly expert assistance that extends beyond their acclaimed design team. You never know what treasures you will find when turn down a side street in Memphis!
Ray & Baudoin is located at 169 Racine St., Memphis. Learn more at (901) 791-0138 or at their website, rb-id.com.
Photos: Julie Wage Ross