Interviewed by Margaret O’Meara
Doors closing on Cameron lead to new opportunities ahead for local designer! A few weeks ago, we had the chance to sit down with Todd Martz of Home on Cameron to talk about his time here in Old Town. After many years of peeking in the colorful windows of Home on Cameron, the store is now closing, but the design work is far from over.
Home on Cameron opened five years ago at 315 Cameron Street. For the past five years, the store has been filled with beautiful furniture, colorful home goods, and a fabulous window to look into for inspiration. Now, the building has been sold, and the last few weeks of April marked the closing of Home on Cameron. With the closing of the store, new doors are opening for owner and designer Todd Martz. He’s excited to be able to refocus on his clients’ design work and offer more flexibility and time to their needs. He wants to be able to be immediate with responses to clients, and flexibility is most important to keep projects moving at the pace the clients want or need. Stepping away from the retail store will open the opportunity to dedicate more attention to his passion for design.
“The store was always colorful, energetic, and happy. I like a more timeless and traditional approach to design, and I hope everything in the store will last over time. The lines aren’t too modern, and they complement antiques to help make the space warm and feel current and timeless.”
Old Town memories:
Some of Todd’s favorite Old Town memories have been his interactions with people who walk their dogs past the shop. He’s loved meeting new people, talking with them about the items they see in his store windows, and of course, meeting their pets, who are so polite when walking around inside the store! Through the years, Todd remembers fondly that the store has been great to meet people and have fun with design. The look and feel of the store was really an extension of Todd; colorful, approachable, and welcoming. The store was beautiful, and he’s found that people identified with the general feeling of the store and the fact that he likes to work with color!
Working in Old Town specifically, Todd has loved Alexandria’s quirky homes, where every project brings new surprises and challenges. People would come in and show photos of their living space, and Todd would help direct them to something that could fit their needs, even if it wasn’t from his store directly. “What I like about design is the opportunity to help people create their nest and home.”
The design process & working with color:
“I find it interesting that Old Town has a lot of young couples and young families. When starting the design process, we point out the difference between investment pieces and functional pieces. If you live in a small house and need a dining room table, is it something you can see yourself taking with you when you eventually move into a bigger space? What are the pieces that will grow with you?” When working with clients, Todd tells them, “I hate to spend your money twice,” so he wants to help his clients, especially the young couples and young families he works with, build an ‘inventory’ of furniture that will grow with them. A big part of the design is looking ahead and thinking about what could be used in a different house.
Looking ahead at future use also goes with family treasures too. When a piece is passed down with an emotional or sentimental attachment to it, it’s important to think out of the box to help “make those things with memories create new memories for the next generation.” Todd remembers one client who had an old table with a design on the top that just didn’t fit with their current house, “we simply just put a tablecloth on it! Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.”
When you look at Todd’s portfolio and the store, it’s clear to see he’s not shy around color and pattern. “Color is all about balance in a space, and balance can be the hardest thing to achieve. There are no simple rules to follow, but color is a great way to make a space yours. I firmly believe a house needs to reflect who lives there and their life experiences. My job is to curate what people have and organize it in a way that functions and is visually appealing to the people who live there.”
Although the store has closed, Todd will continue to serve clients as he refocuses his business. He looks forward to future projects, big and small, around the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. During a project, Todd pushes for “the personal look” by utilizing smaller businesses and local suppliers to make the home unique. Even with the physical store closing, the personal touch of Home on Cameron’s thoughtful design will continue in our area.
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