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Downtown Shop Owner Returns to Rochester With a 'Refined' Focus on Design

His family once owned the Chapman House, and now Jonathan McGowen is the creative mind at Refined.

It was once the brightest building in downtown Rochester, but now Refined Home is a little more, well, refined.

And it's not just a paint job—turning the hot pink house on Fourth Street to taupe—that has changed about the home decor business.

The shop has a new owner, though he's not new to town.

Jonathan McGowen may have spent the past 10 years in California but he's home now and he says "there's no place like it."

McGowen's family once owned The Chapman House; he ran the retail side of it from 1993 to 2002. Work took him to the West Coast, but it was family that brought him back.

"I came home to take care of my sick dad," McGowen said. "He was so pleased to know that The Chapman House will be enjoyed by the public and continue to be used to build memories."

Urban transitional look

Refined Home is still consignment-based, but McGowen is now offering more of a design element to the business with new home accessories and gifts.

Their real specialty is with painted finishes.

"We take the best stuff and give it a designer touch," McGowen said. "It brings a piece current."

Kim Thompson, interior designer and painter, does most of the painted furniture. 

"We can't keep it in," she said. "Most pieces sell before it's done being painted."

Their most popular colors are black and Antiquity, a retro color from the green family.

They also use red, olive and teal.

"This isn't the shabby chic look," McGowan said, "It's urban transitional. The painted pieces really are my favorite."

Customers are also welcome to bring in their own pieces to be painted. For example, a customer recently brought in a Pottery Barn kid's bed set and made it "teenager cool" with a teal paint job.

"It's the ultimate recycling concept," McGowan said. "Use what you have."

Break the rules

If there's a theme to the new Refined Home it's masculine. Black and white stripes can be found throughout the store. So can a healthy helping of plaid. 

"I like using creativity to push the envelope," McGowan said. "Anyone can buy a piece of furniture but I like to break the rules with design; it makes things more interesting."

For the holiday season Refined Home is taking clients for interior decorating projects and will sell fresh greens arrangements. 

Refined Home is located at located at 116 E. Fourth Street. They are open Monday through Wednesday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 248-651-9422 with questions.

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