When Katie Laughridge is not working overtime as the new owner of Nell Hill’s — the beloved home furnishings store at The Village at Briarcliff — she is a dancing quilter.
She may not do the two activities simultaneously, but Laughridge says dance music and sewing are things she really enjoys when not running the store or running after her 2-year-old son.
She loves trance and house music — the electronic, mostly instrumental music you’d hear in a dance club. Laughridge says it gets her going in the mornings. It has also become a behind-the-scenes change since Laughridge took over Nell Hill’s.
“We kind of pump it every morning at the shop,” Laughridge says. “I love that it’s high-energy. I’m that person in the car dancing and singing and just listening to the music way too loud. I adore it.”
Nell Hill’s staffers switch back to regular (as in, more mellow) store music when the store opens.
When she wants to relax, Laughridge loves quilting. Her grandmother taught Laughridge to sew at a young age, and she finds the straight lines of quilting to be peaceful and calming.
“Sewing always fed my creative side and tested my brain,” Laughridge says. “It taught me new skills and was really relaxing for me.”
Her first quilt was a black and pink creation made in high school. Her most recent quilt, also a favorite, is flag-themed for her son, who was born right around the Fourth of July.
“I did a red, white and blue with stripes and stars quilt. We fold it up and use it as we need. It was a play mat when he was a baby,” Laughridge says.
Laughridge, who took over Nell Hill’s from founder Mary Carol Garrity in January, hasn’t had much time to quilt this year. She admits that the store is another one of her obsessions. She and her husband Brandon decided to buy it because they were such big fans.
“It’s a Kansas City institution,” Laughridge says.