By: Kendall Louis
The office space sitting just southeast of the intersection of College and Magnolia avenues is small, but with an exterior painted in hues of aqua and coral, it hardly flies under the radar. The occupant of this space is Hutson Creative, a full-service communications and creative agency with a bevy of local clients, plus a few national players as well. Chances are if you’ve been around Fort Worth long, you have interacted with someone it represents. “We work with clients in a variety of realms: lifestyle, food and beverage, shopping centers, entertainment, commercial and residential real estate, legal and finance,” says Beth Hutson, CEO of Hutson Creative.
It was its client in residential real estate, 6th Ave Homes, that led Hutson Creative to the space at 1313 College Ave. The team moved from its former digs in the Marquis on Magnolia to the College Avenue space in early 2016. “We love this neighborhood because it’s artistic and inspires creativity,” says Hutson. “We couldn’t pass up this adorable turquoise and coral ‘hoffice’ that Jamey Ice and Jimmy Williams of 6th Ave Homes restored,” she says.
The “hoffice” - part house, part office - is 1,382 square feet of funky. And it’s the perfect space for the self-described “petite and powerful” team. “We’re like a little family. We’re a close-knit team and have fun together,” says Heather Hughston, director of PR and client services.
Hutson founded her namesake PR company in 2004. It’s a family affair too. Her husband, Brian Hutson, is the company’s president of photography. His photos are the ones you see here. They often bring their two kids, Christian, 13, and Avery, 6, to the office. “Sometimes they give us tips and opinions,” Hughston says with a laugh. Four-legged kids are welcome in the office as well.
The Hutsons, who walk to the office from their home in Fairmount, often bring their two dogs to work and allow employees to do the same.
Originally built in the early 1900s, sometime in the ‘70s or ‘80s, the house was turned into a duplex. It was the perfect project for locally owned 6th Ave Homes. The fixer-upper team has a knack for finding distressed houses and flipping them into move-in-ready, well-designed homes. Together, they have bought, sold, and restored more than 36 historic properties in Fort Worth, often leaving their mark with a fresh coat (or two) of bright paint. When they found the College Avenue property, it was a duplex with linoleum floors and wood paneling. 6th Ave Homes took on the task of converting it back to a single-family home by opening up walls and corridors that were closed off.
The center of the house, which Hutson Creative uses as a small conference room, features another one of 6th Ave’s signature marks – shiplap. “We love getting to expose shiplap anytime we find it, because we love the texture and character of 100-plus-year-old wood on a wall,” says Ice. “It softens a room, and we think adds some great aesthetics. 1313 College was the first time we have ever come across vertical shiplap. As soon as we found it, we knew we had to expose it!”
The conference room also features a tin roof. “When we bought the house, there was an old shed in the backyard that was on the verge of falling over. But it had this crazy cool old tin roof on it,” said Ice. “We knew the shed had to go, but we couldn't bring ourselves to get rid of the old tin. So, we decided to repurpose it and use it on the ceiling of the conference room. The tin, combined with the shiplap and original unstained pine wood floors, made for a funky and fun vibe,” said Ice.
In addition to repurposing items from the home, 6th Ave Homes tried to stay true to the original charm of the house whenever possible, opting for black and white tile floors in the bathroom and kitchen.
When 6th Ave Homes bought the house, it was surrounded by a chain-link fence and overgrown grass. Now, the picturesque front and backyards are low-maintenance and high function. Pebble ground cover ensures the tenant will never have to invest in a lawn mower. Stepping stones lead the way to the front door and a porch in the front, and a hammock lies between two trees in the back, ready for work breaks. Various tree stumps are scattered around for organic seating. Cactus, agave, yucca and ice plants, from Calloway’s Nursery (another Hutson client) add to the aesthetic and promise to survive the Texas heat.
The work done by 6th Ave Homes is the perfect canvas for the Hutson’s eclectic taste. Beth Hutson says the office is absolutely a reflection of her and Brian’s actual home. She found the colorful conference room chairs from local artist Lorraine White on the Fairmount Neighborhood Exchange page. A vintage “H,” found at a Wimberley antique store, welcomes guests when they walk through the front door. A yellow lacquer credenza, from Gary Riggs Interiors in Dallas, is the ideal platform for a vintage typewriter and hand-blown glass art from SiNaCa Studios. A vintage Coke machine anchors a flex space. Beth says she hopes to refurbish it and fill it with Rahr & Son’s products - you guessed it, another Hutson Creative client.
Everything in the office looks equal parts planned and accidental. Work from local artists, including Brian Hutson, hangs throughout the space. Sarah Greene’s portrait of Beth and Brian is prominently displayed in their shared office.
Hughston says the “homey” feel of the office makes employees look forward to going to the office every day. “The space lends itself to creativity and collaboration. We have multiple seating areas, like the big red couch, where we can comfortably have a brainstorm session. Our conference table doubles as the break room where we can sit down and trade stories about our weekend over lunch and then have a strategy session with a client. If we ever need a change of scenery, we have a small porch or the hammock outside where we can work when the weather is nice,” says Hughston. “We have a display wall where we showcase our proudest design work.”
And it’s no mistake that the Hutson Creative team works in one of its client’s proudest designs.
By: Kendall Louis