Celebrate with Style:
  On Thursday, June 14, from 5-8 p.m., Ambiance Interiors will hold a thirtieth anniversary party at their store at 27 Broadway in Downtown Asheville. As a testament to their time-honored design philosophy of comfort and style, the casual party will feature champagne, and bluegrass, as performed by Woody Platt and the Pisgah Pickers. Wayne Caldwell will also read from his debut novel, Cataloochee, a book that Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier describes as “a brilliant portrait of a community and a way of life long gone, a lost America.” Cataloochee was published by Random House in May.


Kathryn, Linda, Amanda and Wayne invite you to join us for great music, great literature and to enjoy the warm summer evening. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Amanda at 253-9403 or Amanda@ambianceasheville.com

  Changing Styles of Downtown:
  Today’s downtown Asheville may seem like an obvious choice to locate an upscale design shop, but in 1977, when Kathryn opened for business at 27 Broadway, large portions of the city center were emptying out and relocating outside of town.  

Opening of
Ambiance Interiors

Left to right: Sarah Long, former Mayor of Asheville Gene Ochsenreiter, Kathryn Long ASID and Wayne Caldwell


By opting to stay downtown, Ambiance Interiors and the extended Sluder Furniture family were able to exercise influence on an urban landscape that was, at that time, only about twenty-five percent occupied. In the early eighties, when plans for the Strouse-Greenberg Mall threatened to flatten seventeen acres of buildings in downtown Asheville, meetings were held at the Sluder family stores to encourage citizens and business owners to vote against the measure, which they did, in a 1981 referendum. Wayne Caldwell was chair of Save Downtown, Inc. and provided visionary leadership to this group.

By the nineties, as downtown Asheville was being revitalized, Kathryn and her family remained active participants in the downtown’s economic development. “The change has been remarkable,” Kathryn says. “It’s hard to imagine now that Broadway, with its crowded sidewalks, bustling new restaurants, shops, and businesses, is even the same street that it was thirty years ago.”

Staying at the same downtown location for the last thirty years has allowed Ambiance Interiors and its family the rare opportunity to watch the city grow around them and count Ambiance among the pioneers of downtown style.

  Growing and Changing with Style and Pizzazz  

On a warm June day in 1977, Kathryn Long, ASID, was preparing to open a brand-new business in an old downtown building, which for years had housed Tingle’s Restaurant. Equipped with a singular design sensibility that married high style with comfort and ease, the young designer had returned two years before to her hometown with a graduate degree, two years of European travel, and a brief tenure at a New York commercial design firm. She began from the back corner of Sluder Furniture – a downtown presence since 1905, which her parents, Ray and Sarah Long, had purchased in 1964 – and grew Ambiance into its own building at 27 Broadway.

She was supported by her mother, Sarah Long, who was managing Sluder’s, and who continues to be president of Kathryn’s fan club. Added to this mix were Wayne Caldwell, Kathryn’s brother-in-law, who swapped a teaching career for one in retail business, and Linda Constable, fresh from a Forest Service job. Throw in Bob Reagan, who has since retired, and you have four people who made the core of Ambiance grow and thrive over the past three decades.


The Ambiance Staff
June 2007

Left to right: Amanda Holland, Kathryn Long ASID and Linda Constable look through swatches in the shop.


In those years Kathryn has earned considerable acclaim for integrating traditional style with sophisticated new forms and concepts. Whether re-creating a perfect replica of a 1930's kitchen with all contemporary functions, or collaborating with architects and contractors to create lush, eclectic designs, Kathryn made unique statements. But even at her most artistic, this seven-time winner of “Design Excellence” awards from the Carolinas Chapter of ASID stood by her mantra, “Life is too short not to be comfortable.”

Linda and Kathryn agree that “People seek out an interior designer when they feel uncomfortable in their homes, but care deeply about their living environment – whether an existing home or new construction.” At Ambiance client relationships are personal. Designing a living space is by nature collaborative – a kinetic process in which everyone strives to create the ultimate goal of style and livability. The results of Ambiance’s partnerships with clients are never static. They are warm, inviting, and reflect their residents’ personal styles and tastes, so are also diverse.

It’s difficult to remain true to your sensibility and yet be open to change. Kathryn and the gang have evolved, both professionally and esthetically, but designs remain true to the promise of thirty years ago.

“Styles change,” says Kathryn. “For thirty years we’ve watched the city, the region, the nation, and world change dramatically. The key to being successful, in part, is recognizing that change is a constant. And we’re still growing and changing every day. It’s not always easy, but it’s so very gratifying when you realize you’ve been able to manage change and continue to thrive.”

“We’ve enjoyed an exciting, creative, and dynamic business through the years,” she says. “We look forward to celebrating this thirtieth anniversary with our friends, families, clients, and community."

  Thanks to You  

We’re excited to celebrate a remarkable 30 years of service. It’s been an amazing endeavor. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the many architects, suppliers and especially our clients who have been such an important part of work. Each of you has contributed to Ambiance’s success. You have become our special friends and have made the business of design a pleasure.

In this Issue

Celebrate with Style
Changing Styles
Growing and Changing
Special Thanks

Trade Secrets

Tips from the
Ambiance Staff

A picture is worth a thousand words. Ambiance friend and client Kim Wiggins dropped by with the book French Influences. She had marked a page with a warm, inviting room featuring yummy long draperies, wood paneled walls, a sofa with a nice curved arm, and an interesting leather occasional char. Voila! We will be working to help Kim accomplish her dream with this wonderful visual inspiration in mind.

As Kim said, “It was really helpful to collect photos of rooms we loved. It created a visual reality and helped us know what we wanted.” Creating and formulating ideas is a creative composition and an important part of great design. It inspires and helps you to communicate and enjoy the look and feel of what you are after.
Ambiance in the News

Carolina Architecture and Design
Pinnacle Living

Contact Information

Kathryn Long, ASID
Linda Constable
Amanda Holland
Wayne Caldwell

27 Broadway,Asheville, NC