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Hello the House, worth a visit

Chris Dillingham has opened Hello the House at 226 Locust Street, the former location of the Hudson Star-Observer. An interior decorator, she aims to bring customers together with reasonably priced items to enhance their homes.

For Chris Dillingham it was somewhat like completing a circle. She opened Hello the House on Nov.16, less than a month after the Hudson Star-Observer had vacated the space at 226 Locust St.

"I had heard that the paper was moving and then I saw the for lease sign," said Dillingham. "It was so sad for me."

Dillingham was no stranger to the HSO, having worked for the paper as an advertising sales representative for nearly three years shortly after moving to Hudson. She had maintained contact with several staff members over the years.

"I have always known I would do some kind of shop," said Dillingham. "My grandparents had several children's clothing stores in the 70's and 80's and we used to play shopkeeper in the back of the store."

Dillingham, a native of North Dakota, went to college in Texas studying psychology and interior design. She returned to the Midwest and the Twin Cities area because of family. After meeting her husband, a Wisconsin native, they decided to settle in Hudson because he was passionate about having a Wisconsin zip code.

"I have had my own interior decorating business for ten years," said Dillingham. "For whatever reason, my clients have been young families and all of my projects have been on tight budgets. The thing that was always hard was to show them how items would work together. I always thought it would be great if I had a venue to show them how you can mix items together."

Today Dillingham has a venue that does that and more. She went into high gear proposing to the building's owner a plan to transform the space and yet preserve the integrity.

Using bold colors, the entire space and each individual 'office' welcomes visitors with eye-popping appeal.

Hello the House opened Nov.16.

"I think what makes our place different is that it has more energy," said Dillingham. "We have a mix of period furniture with modern art and affordable accessories. There are things you are not going to find anywhere else. We have unique finds for all price ranges from greeting cards to exquisite antiques."

She is joined by several vendors. Each room (the former reporters' offices) is furnished by a different vendor including Costa-Daly Designs, Carol Palm Interiors and The Staging Depot.

In addition, 16 local artists have the work on display and for sale at including pottery, purses, cards, jewelry and oil paint on canvas works of art. Approximately 50 percent of the furniture pieces are consignment items.

"I want to keep things affordable. We are trying to move items out and refresh the look weekly," said Dillingham. "We are interested in bringing new vendors in because we have room to expand."

As to the name Hello the House,"I first heard it in the movie "Out of Africa," said Dillingham. "It was an old fashioned greeting used by visitors arriving at a rural home, to let people know someone was outside."

It was commonly used on the plains and in the Ozarks according to Dillingham, who said her grandparents remembered using it.

Hello the house is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit their website at or call 715-381-6702. You may contact Chris Dillingham by email at