Chase Spivey and Nathan Lofties

Chase Spivey, left, CEO of Spivey Media, and Creative Home Designs’ Nathan Lofties share newly-renovated office space in Norman’s downtown arts district.

It’s rare that longtime friends have an opportunity to work in close proximity to each other, albeit in different enterprises.

In the case of Norman residents Nathan Lofties and Chase Spivey, it’s happening at a new office they share together in the city’s arts district.

Spivey Media and Creative Home Designs are sharing 120 Tonhawa St. Suite 103, which is adjacent to The Crucible Foundry.

The pair met nearly 20 years ago playing progressive rock music in outfits such as Farmer, Ghost of Monkshood and Magnificent Bird. Now, they’re both married and fathers making livings to support their families.

One of Spivey’s recent work projects was to design a sophisticated website for Creative Home Designs that employs Lofties. It’s proven effective in attracting out-of-state customers.

“We had a goal of potentially selling our home designs through the website,” Lofties said. “We have offices in Edmond and Tulsa, with Norman being our newest.”

Other nearby neighbors on Tonhawa are Yellow Dog Coffee Company and Equity Brewing Company. Landlord and Norman investor Gary Clinton envisions the area becoming more a part of Second Friday Art Walk activity. Spivey recently painted a mural on the nearby Legacy Trail bridge.

The area’s artsy vibe is growing.

“Moving here was an opportunity to spend daily time in a part of Norman that I love,” Lofties said. “I get to come downtown every day, where I’m able to walk to lunch on Main Street in the artistic heart of Norman.”

Spivey’s clients have shifted toward being more art-centric, including The Depot and Norman Arts Council.

“I’m really enjoying working for companies that are interesting, music and arts-related, nonprofits or who are friends,” Spivey said. “I got to do band photos here for The Lost End the other day, which was really fun. My friend, Tanya Felter (Bishop), is in the band.”

Spivey is the founder of the Norman Film Festival and has a background in marketing the bands he’s been in, along with others.

“I’ve spent a lot of time bringing the creative world into a marketing perspective,” he said. “A lot of artists are afraid of ‘selling out’ and then end up not doing anything with their art. That’s heartbreaking because, to me, it’s as simple as communication. Art is a form of communication, and the whole purpose is to be heard, seen or experienced.

“What business owners do isn’t that different from art. They have a product that can help somebody, or there’s always a story that I feel like I can connect with creatively. I help them see their business from a different perspective. It’s finding the art within all types of businesses and the creativity within it, which is exciting.”

In other organizations, Spivey copped to being the go-to “weird person.”

“I’d be the one with strange or attention-grabbing ideas,” he said. “I have a lot of fun coming up with crazy ideas for people who probably wouldn’t put themselves in the same room with me most of the time.”

There are lots of companies in Oklahoma and across the nation where you can meet with a home designer and develop a floor plan.

“Creative Home Designs offers that very basic service,” Lofties said. “If you don’t have a plan or you do but want to change it, you can meet with someone like me and we help you get through the process of designing the house that you want to live in. At the end of the process, you have a set of blueprints you can take to a builder.”

One aspect that sets Creative Home Designs apart from competitors is Spivey’s website design consolidates many home plan concepts from across the region in one place. There are over 70 visions to consider.

It’s significant that Lofties’ designs are often influenced from his living in or visiting historical residential neighborhoods. He often blends modern sensibility with timeless concepts.

“Tulsa is ahead of the curve, in terms of outlandish trends or trying thing that are exciting or fresh,” Lofties said. “We brought some of those ideas to builders in the OKC metro, pointing out things that work and ones that didn’t. Spivey’s website has helped us put that image out.”

In just the last few months, Creative Home Designs has gone from being almost exclusively a central Oklahoma company to one that’s working with builders in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.

“It’s all people who have come across our website (creativehomedesigners.com),” Lofties said. “The consensus is that our area builders have been doing the same thing for 30 years, and we need something fresh and exciting. People call and tell me they want what we’re selling because it’s new and updated.”

Both Spivey Media and Creative Home Designs pride themselves on providing personalized services to clients — not just throwing formulas at people but listening carefully to what they want.

All that creative knowledge that’s developed over the last 20 years by the pair is being channeled into services customers need and want.

“In the project I’m working on now, the clients know exactly what they want,” Lofties said. “They just need a professional to let them know what works and what doesn’t. Others have no idea what they want but have pictures of houses they like. Sometimes the only starting point is wanting an open concept. I never lose sight of the fact that I get to be creative, which is really cool.”

Emma Keith is the editor of The Transcript, where she covers Norman Public Schools and the University of Oklahoma. Reach her at ekeith@normantranscript.com or at @emma_ckeith.

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