Former BI municipal court building has new tenant

The former site of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Court building has a new tenant.

Bower, a luxury vintage home furnishings business by BI interior designer Maggie Stephens, is set to open in the old court building on NE Valley Road May 17.

The shop, which is Stephens’ first brick-and-mortar business, will feature antique furniture, art, textiles, decor and gifts. Stephens hunts for the treasures throughout the country, but the pieces featured on the sales floor evoke the style that Stephens’ design firm focuses on.

“We want to be a go-to source for those unique, special pieces in your home. We were traveling to antique fairs around the country to source for clients, and thought, I wish this look was available at home,” Stephens said.

Before the Ted Spearman Justice Center opened last November, Bainbridge city departments were spread across the island. While the former court building avoided the unsafe structural issues that the former police station had, neither facility’s layout was efficient for the jobs they were supposed to do.

For one thing, at 2,300 square feet, the court building was too small to accommodate judiciary proceedings in a town of 25,000, city manager Blair King says in a 2022 report. Additionally, poor acoustics and an awkward path of travel from the judge’s office to the clerk’s office — first through the jury room, then through the jury restroom — posed a risk to security and confidentiality.

When the building became available to lease, Stephens “jumped to make it happen.” To prepare the space for commercial use, her team removed a partition wall between two offices to open the floor plan, then removed the carpet to expose the concrete beneath and treated the walls with a lime wash.

“We were surprised how much great light the old courtroom gets! Now that it’s opened, the windows are actually huge,” Stephens said. “I wanted an almost industrial feeling, so it was really about simplifying all the finishes.”

Stephens relocated her firm, Maggie Stephens Interiors, to BI in 2017, but she has been working in interior design for over a decade. Her clients, which range from fellow islanders to greater Kitsap County and Seattle, can choose between a quick re-dress of their space via consultation or a total turn-key renovation.

“Bower joins a suite of other home goods and boutique secondhand furniture businesses on BI, most of which are concentrated in Winslow. “I love our fellow Bainbridge design stores,” Stephens said, adding she takes pride in her eye for the “PNW organic modern” aesthetic and is excited to share it with islanders. “I’m a big believer in community over competition, and I think we all bring something different.”

Maggie Stephens arranges some greenery in a vase for a client.

Maggie Stephens arranges some greenery in a vase for a client.