Walking into the newly remodeled Executive Branch building can take one’s breath away.
What used to be offices in different shades of brown, with cracked walls and out-of-date ceiling tiles are now bright, with new fixtures, artwork, carpet, flooring, ceilings – and Osage interior designer Chad Renfro designed it all.
“Chad has exceeded all expectations. He designed our offices into something we can be proud of. These offices were in shameful condition when we took office. Since the remodel we have hosted Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, regional director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, staff from the offices of the Oklahoma governor, tribal dignitaries,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “It’s amazing what he did with such a limited budget.”
Chief of Staff Jason Zaun said it was a place he felt proud to come to work.
“I am really glad to be back home,” Renfro said.
Renfro, who has spent the last 20 years traveling the country with his interior design business Chad Renfro Designs, grew up in Pawhuska at 1115 Grandview, just down the street from the Osage Nation campus. Coming home and getting to work on the Nation’s Executive Building, that houses the Office of the Chiefs, was very sentimental and a great honor, he said.
He attended college at the University of Central Oklahoma and has a degree in Public Relations and Marketing. At the age of 20 he received an invitation to work in Florida and took it. He began working in the floral business and worked there for several years. His floral work included weddings, parties and he also worked as an event planner. One of his clients came to his house and after seeing his interior design wanted him to design their house and restaurant. After that, his interior design career took off.
He has designed day spas, registered facilities, homes and commercial properties in places such as the Bahamas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Utah and Oklahoma.
His company operated out of Palm Beach, Fla., but he now has an Osage-licensed business in Pawhuska called 1115 Enterprises.
According to his website, he was one of House Beautiful's 2010 Next Wave of Designers, his designs have been featured in Cottages and Garden Magazine, Florida Design, Palm Beach The Island Magazine, Palm Beach Illustrated, Palm Beach Daily News and The Palm Beach Post. Drawn from the success of projects in the Palm Beach market, Chad Renfro Design has expanded his reach to include projects in Manhattan, The Hamptons, Atlanta, Aiken, South Carolina, the West Coast of Florida, and the Caribbean.
He had a $40,000 budget for the Osage Nation Executive Building and acquired furniture from various vendors, all items American made and bought at wholesale prices.
The construction work on the Executive Building was done by Skiatook-based Osage contractor VP Construction and the Penta Building Group. VP Construction renovated the bathrooms, the flooring, plaster and made minor repairs. Penta Building Group was hired to do the ceilings and the heating and air. Renfro came in after all construction was completed and designed the newly remodeled building.
Renfro had photos printed from the Osage News to line the walls of the hallways and borrowed paintings from the Osage Nation Museum.
Renfro has a matching grant with the Osage Nation Foundation for an arts interwoven project. Osages Welena Fields and Jennifer Tiger helped him come up with guidelines to make the project functional and great, he said. The project will involve recruiting Osage artists to put their artwork on a 20 x 20 work of art that will later be turned into interiors such as pillows and textiles.
Artists will be asked to go by the guidelines he has established to create beautiful authentic works of art to be used as interior design textiles and fabrics.
The artists can use paint, drawings, beadwork, finger weaving, and even the Osage headdress in their artwork.
The original work will be put on display at the Osage Nation Museum and he will buy the designs upfront from the designers. These works of art will then be manufactured at his company 1115 Enterprises and will be the manufacture and distributer of this project.
“I am really excited to see what people bring to the project,” Renfro said.
He also hopes to help with design work at the Osage Casinos and possibly the old Superintendent’s House on the Osage campus.
He has also worked with Blue Star Studios on The Sky Lodge Estates, Osage tribal housing in Skiatook.
Renfro is from the Osage Cheshewalla family from Pawhuska. He is deer clan and was given his Osage name by Dudley Whitehorn. He participates in the June Osage In-Lon-Schka dances.
For more information on Renfro’s design work visit his website at www.chadrenfrodesign.com/
Click the following link to view photos of the completed Executive Branch interior design work by Renfro: www.flickr.com/photos/osagenews/albums/72157664541779526