Behind the Scenes

An Inside Look at James Décor with Owner Lee Haik

Photo: Michaela Satterfield

Photo: Michaela Satterfield

Sitting behind a desk covered in samples and papers from current projects, Lee Haik proudly reminisces on how she came to be the owner of James Décor, Springfield’s first interior design firm.

After obtaining a degree in home economics at what is now Pittsburgh State University, where she took design classes, Lee says she spent some time with her daughters Martie and Jacque as a stay-at-home mom before purchasing the business. In 1982, Lee and her husband John took over James Décor.

The store was originally opened in 1946. Wallpaper and paint were two of its mainstays, and Lee says she enjoyed matching colors. The original plan was to work part time as an interior designer, but Lee says running the business quickly became a full-time endeavor.

When the Haiks decided to move the business to its current location on Republic Road, Lee says they stopped selling paint and turned James Décor into a full furniture store and interior design firm.

Opening the John-Richard showroom in 2010 was a highlight for the business.

“That was probably one of the smartest moves we made,” Lee says, “because it gave us something to get excited about and people in town were excited about it.”

The line is a favorite among designers and clients, known for carrying unique furniture. Lee says the pieces are designed to work together.

“It’s still one of our best lines,” she says.

Lee says two of her other favorite lines are Marge Carson and Century, but she likes every line the business carries.

Two of James Décor’s goals are to offer a variety of price points and to offer both traditional and contemporary styles, Lee says. This style is called transitional—Lee’s personal favorite.

The variety the showroom displays carries into other aspects of the business.

Although Lee says residential design is her specialty, James Décor has ventured into other types of projects as well. Among the projects tackled are doctors’ offices, law offices and even a dairy.

“I really love what I do,” says Lee Haik, owner of James Décor.

“I really love what I do,” says Lee Haik, owner of James Décor.

“I really get bored if I do the same thing over and over,” Lee says. “I really like the mix. I like to change. Each individual project is so different and the way people live has to dictate the way we design.”

One of the trademarks of design at James Décor is that it’s centered around the people.

Lee remarks that some of her current clients have been working with her since she took over the business in 1982. She is even working with the children and grandchildren of some of her first clients.  

“You can be the best designer in the world but if you don’t have customer service and you don’t care about the people you’re working with, it doesn’t matter,” Lee says.

Relationships are what gave the business success in its early years, and they promise to keep the business running long into the future.

The business is family-owned and Lee says she hopes her daughters will eventually take over, with the help of a team of designers currently working at James Décor.

“I have a staff of young designers that are very talented,” Lee says.

Aside from a dedication to clients and other people involved with the business, the heart behind it all is a love for interior design.

“I really love what I do,” Lee says.

Michaela Satterfield

James Décor Writer

The Great Debate

Contemporary vs. Traditional Design



Coke or Pepsi? iPhones or Androids? Cats or dogs?

These hot debates never seem to reach a conclusion.

While there are thousands of styles out there, there is perhaps no greater debate than between these two styles: contemporary and traditional.

Similar to people’s preferences for certain phone brands or pets, most tend to side strongly with one style over the other. Contemporary style is shiny and new— a breath of fresh air. Traditional style, on the other hand, is timeless, and its mark on the interior design world won’t be fading anytime soon. At James Décor, we offer a selection of both styles to suit all different tastes.

What makes the two styles so different? Let’s take a look, so you can decide whose side you’re on.

A fundamental difference between contemporary and traditional interiors is that contemporary design places emphasis on space, while traditional design places emphasis on things.

Photo: Contemporary interior, from

Photo: Contemporary interior, from

The adage “less is more” could be used to describe contemporary style. This style emphasizes light and the absence of clutter. You’ll find mainly neutral colors in contemporary interiors, although pale or bright colors may be used sparingly. One trademark of this style is bold lines, which can be seen in geometric shapes and color blocks.

Photo: Contemporary bedroom, from

Photo: Contemporary bedroom, from

Furniture is typically simple and unornamented. Texture can be used to add some interest, but only on occasion. Common textures in contemporary design include wood grains, fur and natural fibers, like cotton or silk. Flooring can be wood, tile or vinyl. Carpet is only to be used if necessary for acoustics or other reasons.

Spotlights are common to highlight a significant piece of artwork or accent wall. Artwork and accessories are used sparsely. Bold, large pieces are common, rather than several smaller ones.

Large plants are also popular in contemporary interiors.

Photo: Traditional interior, from

Photo: Traditional interior, from

The traditional style is familiar to most, filling up furniture catalogs and showrooms. It is likely to be a style you grew up with in your own home, or perhaps your grandparents’ home. It’s no wonder this style is so cozy and comforting.  

In one word, traditional design could be described as predictable. It is orderly, and commonly symmetrical. You won’t find anything that stands out. Everything will match.

Photo: Traditional living room, from

Photo: Traditional living room, from

Colors are typically not very bright or very pale. Tones come from the middle of the road. Line is used softly, rather than boldly, and you’ll find a mix of vertical and horizontal lines. Fabrics frequently feature small patterns like florals, stripes and plaids.

Flooring could be hardwood, but carpet and rugs are also common. Furniture consists of soft textures and forms.

Lamps, books, plants, china and framed prints are common accessories.

Whether you prefer the simplicity of contemporary design or the comfort of traditional design, it’s clear that each style has an appeal in its own right.

We’ll just have to agree to disagree.


Michaela Satterfield

James Décor Intern