Wren & Willow's new Carriage House Project

Historic Tacoma Living recently sat down with Laureen Skrivan, president of Wren & Willow, a contracting company in Tacoma that specializes in design-build, custom homes, home remodels, commercial, architecture, and interior design. Laureen says, “It’s really a one-stop-shop. We have our own architect, Stacy Ostlund, and can start designing a project from the very beginning. It then goes over to our construction division and interior-design team. We can do it all. Nobody has to go anywhere but here.”
 
Laureen and her partner and project manager, Cliff Kendall, opened the doors of their new company in 2008, right in the middle of an economic crisis, which Laureen laughs about now. “It was probably not the best time to start a contracting company, but we made it through and are very proud of where we are now.”
 
And where they are now is growing. With 15 employees and over a decade of experience, Laureen and her team are expanding, building a brand-new space for their offices, plus a little extra to extend their hand out to the community. “When we thought about our new headquarters, we wanted something that would have multiple uses. We love our community, and we really wanted to build a place where people could grab a cup of coffee and a pastry, and a place where the people could come together and hang out.” 
 
The new building will include a bakery on one side and a retail space on the other, with a large, two-way fireplace in the middle accommodating seating for around 20 people. There will be an amenity deck at the top of the building with an amazing view that will be open to the public during business hours, and the bakery will have bistro seating outdoors in the summer. There is residential space included in the plans as well, a two-story townhouse and two two-bedroom penthouse suites on the top floor, which are all already spoken for. Laureen added, “We are all really excited about this project, and the City of Ruston is really excited too!”
 
Wren’s Nest Baking Company 
Laureen grew up in Philadelphia where there is a bakery on every corner, kind of like there is a coffee shop everywhere you turn in the PNW. She remembers walking to the bakery with her grandfather and picking up pastries to share with the family every Sunday, and she wanted to honor her mother who was an excellent baker. Her idea was to merge their philosophy as a business that creates spaces for family and people coming together, and adding a bakery really does connect with who Wren & Willow is as a company. 
 
And it’s going to be exclusively gluten-free! “There are so many people out there who are really deprived of enjoying a good pastry because of their intolerance to gluten. We have been baking and testing, and I really think this is going to be the best gluten-free bakery. We will have donuts, breads, sandwiches, pies, custards, cakes, cookies. We’ve been practicing, and we are working with a gal who’s been baking gluten-free for years, and everything is really delicious, and I am very picky!” Laureen says. They will be offering some vegan options as well. 
 
Willow Branch 
The retail space will mostly be a combination of fine gifts and furnishings, with a lot of local artists represented. Laureen describes it as a walk-in Etsy shop. “We are a construction company with an interior-design combination, so we wanted to incorporate it all in the retail space. The hope is that it’s a destination spot. Our offices will be located on the second floor, and we welcome anyone to come up if they are wanting projects done or looking into building a custom home. We are there to sit with clients and answer questions.”
 
Any Advice for the Community?
“When you go to find a company to help you with your remodel, the first thing you should do as a buyer is to interview the company to make sure you are a good fit. When you enter into a project agreement with your contractor, you are going to get to know them very well. You will know from the beginning if you are going to mesh with a company. We actually interview the clients as well to make sure that the relationship fits. A company like us kind of moves into your home for months at a time. You have to make sure you feel comfortable with the people who are coming into your home."
 
“Look for contractors who are licensed and bonded. This is huge and a bigger deal than you may think. Wren & Willow’s employees are all members of the Master Builder Association, an organization for builders and associates who are all in our industry. We come together and share ideas, learn from one another, take classes, and to be a member, you must be licensed and bonded, which means things are going to be done correctly and lawfully.”
 
To learn more about Wren & Willow:
 
www.wrenandwillow.com
253-227-8189
5104 N. Pearl St. 
Tacoma, WA 98407
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