See Creative Talent on Display at London District Studios

Wade Oppliger and Leslie Rowland create the furniture and art for their London District Studios.

London District Studios is an intriguing shop that owners Leslie Rowland and Wade Oppliger have filled with custom-designed furniture, original art, hand-painted clothing, crafted jewelry and unique items for the home.

Both Rowland’s and Oppliger’s creative talents are on display at the expansive space in the emerging London Entertainment District of Biltmore Village.

The clean design of the upholstered sofas and chairs on display reflects the work of Oppliger who custom makes the furniture.

On the walls hang examples of Rowland’s artistry and her stylistic range from layered abstracts to representational paintings. To create her work, Rowland uses a technique of layering colors that she developed and various sources of inspiration from music to nature. 

Some of the items at London District Studios originated from requests of customers, Rowland said. People coming into the shop admired her paint-stained jeans and asked to buy them. So Rowland started decorating purchased jeans with streaks of paint in bright colors and now offers them for sale.

Many of the other items in the shop are works of area craftsmen and designers who use vintage materials such as World War II-era metal rulers for bracelets and silk ties fashioned into scarves. Cups and notebooks with whimsical and humorous inscriptions and soy candles infused with essential oils also are for sale at London District Studios.

The name of the area in which their shop is located is the inspiration of the couple who had their eyes on the space for some time as a desirable location.

After renting the space on London Road when it became available, Rowland and Oppliger talked about what the neighborhood in the southern portion of Biltmore Village would become.

“We saw a lot of potential for this area to expand,” Rowland said. “Then we named it the London District … We were the pioneers in here.”

Since the couple launched their business in early 2016, others have been established in the area, including breweries that offer entertainment and Haiku I Do, a wedding and event venue.

Rowland and Oppliger also built a coffee shop in a section of their space where live music is performed in the evenings.

With these developments, the couple decided to change their original moniker to the “London Entertainment District.”

“We’re happy that it stuck,” Rowland said of the district’s name, which has received media attention.

Both Rowland and Oppliger work at other enterprises while managing their business.

Rowland is creative director of Picture Source for which she creates art for sale. And Oppliger serves as vice president of Merchandising of Residential Upholstery at Bernhardt Furniture Company.

A native of Southern California, Oppliger has spent most of his working career in furniture merchandising and design in North Carolina. After growing up in Florida, Rowland lived in the West for many years, including the Seattle area, before settling in Asheville.

Five years ago Rowland and Oppliger met at a market in Las Vegas, Nevada and became friends. And last week the couple was anticipating their upcoming wedding in Savannah, Georgia where they have friends and business associates.

“So many good things have happened to us there,” Rowland said of the coastal town which she enjoys because of its diversity, as she does Asheville.

London District Studios is at 8 London Rd. For more information, visit the website at www.londondistrictstudios.com.

By Sandra Barnes