Power couple Kelti and Tanner Ziese have combined their creative minds to form one of Bellevue’s newest shops. Sitting on the Corner of Fairfield and Washington avenues, Coda Co. sells all things handmade and upcycled. Don’t run away too quickly, all you skeptics out there: This is not a hippie haven — Coda Co. focuses on being local, community based and creating beautiful home décor from items no longer in use. They specialize in handcrafted pillows, plant holders, macramé, wooden homegoods and their signature bourbon barrel tables.
Kelti is the softer side of the business, hand weaving macramé wall hangings out of cotton rope — organically attached to driftwood collected from the banks of the Ohio River — while Tanner works with reclaimed bourbon barrels to create a variety of wood furniture and accessories. As a pet lover and foster for the Stray Animal Adoption Program, Kelti also makes dog beds (and pillows) from repurposed coffee bags and hopes to expand to a full line of pet products soon. The store, which opened on Aug. 12, is immensely cozy, and Kelti, the bubbling personality behind the counter, creates a space that is welcoming, airy and oozing with creativity.
CityBeat: Your website says that this whole handcrafting furniture thing started from you and Tanner trying to create a Pinterest DIY project. What did you make and why?
Kelti Ziese: We were looking for something to do that was a little different from the typical movie night date. Wanting to make a product together was important, so we just gave it a shot. We ended up making a coffee table with a window as the shadow piece. Looking back on it now, it was so bad — our projects now are much, much better.
CB: What was the attraction to Bellevue?
KZ: I am originally from Traverse City, Mich., so this street reminds me of home. All the little shops, family-owned stores doing things for the community, even the ice cream shop next door (Schneider's Sweet Shop) reminds me of a small town. Charming is the word. Actually, once we moved in, the whole town of Bellevue was so nice and welcoming and once they all found out we were looking to set up shop somewhere, all the store owners around here helped us get this place together.
CB: Who was the mastermind behind opening up shop?
KZ: I would say it more presented itself to us. In the beginning, we kind of started making little things here and there for our friends. Then we got the feeling that this was really taking off and started going to craft shows and putting together nicer items. We didn’t expect to have such a high outcome, but we were pleasantly surprised.
CB: The pieces you make take a lot of time, energy and knowledge. Which of you has the artsy background?
KZ: I was always into creative things growing up — painting and drawing. When we started working together, Tanner learned a lot about wood and all the different types and has now blossomed into this “wood connoisseur,” which is how we are able to produce our bourbon barrel tables.
CB: Talk about “upcycling” and how that connects to your home decor.
KZ: We find pieces of wood rather than whole barrels in Louisville. That city floods with great wood. There, a lot of people do bourbon barrel projects like tables, coffee stands, dining room pieces, and we thought we should bring it here to share such a neat personal touch on furniture. Upcycling is just a way to reuse items. I make reusable coffee sleeves and pillows from local coffee shop burlap sacks to cut down on paper usage. I also reuse rope from our hanging plants to make keychains, and also our macramé, which hang on our walls. We try to have as little waste as possible.
CB: Do you sell any of your materials to local shops and vice versa?
KZ: Yes! We are in Red Tree Gallery (in Oakley), and also had some stuff across the street at Frame and Hang Studio Gallery before we opened our own store. Also there is a little Kentucky gift shop in Covington that carries our products, and we are trying to get our coffee sleeves into local shops as well.
CB: Do you do custom orders?
KZ: Yes. We actually just delivered this huge walnut table to a lady and when she got it she just kept hugging it. It really just gives you satisfaction that what we are doing here matters to people and that’s it’s worth our time and energy to keep creating.
CB: How long do your typical coffee tables and side tables take to make? How about dining room tables?
KZ: For smaller tables, around two weeks because I have to gather materials then sand and coat it. For bigger tables, one or two months because that is typically what Tanner specializes in.
CB: Do you have any upcoming events your doing?
KZ: We’ve got Black Friday and the Bellevue Christmas Walk. We stay open late and Santa will be here with reindeer. With every shop people come in and visit, they get added to this big raffle and receive either gift cards or products from the local stores. Shop owners will give out hot cider, hot chocolate and coffee. It’s a cute local thing that I’m excited to be apart of now.
Coda Co. is located at 400 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue. More info: shopcodaco.com.