Carrie Magruder and The Brick House

My mom is one of those thoughtful gift givers that always gives us great gifts and last fall her birthday present to Elaine was a massage at the BrickHouse, which we found interesting given the fact that she did not know that the owner was a good friend of ours and that Elaine loved it there. Just last week out at Greenacres while she was working, Elaine overheard two young ladies going on and on how much they loved the BrickHouse.

The BrickHouse Massage and Coffee Bar is a Valley original that people are excited about, sharing amongst themselves and indulging in the pleasures of what Carrie Magruder has created for them. I sat down with her this week to try and capture the essence of this warm place that has captured the hearts of locals of all ages.

Carrie is a young 40-ish mother of two whose whole face joins her mouth when it smiles, her nose crinkles, her eyes twinkle and her cheeks look like they want to jump off their bones with enthusiasm. Her look reminds me of our settings. She dresses with style and comfort, wearing brown slacks and a colorful top accented with some modest jewelry and make-up. She is put together but not overdone.

For thirteen years she climbed the corporate ladder at Sprint to the level of regional marketing manager before falling victim to downsizing . Even with two young children, Carrie quickly began searching for a new job that would take her career to the next level. But slowly her dreams shifted. ” I was flying back from Salt Lake from a second interview, when I realized I didn’t want the position,” she said, ” and when I listened to my messages, the company said they had dissolved the job, and I felt relieved.”

Carrie took it as “a sign” and began searching for a creative and fulfilling direction to turn her career and decided upon massage therapy school after reading the want ads one day. ” I thought, ooh, I love massage,” she said, “my vision was that I could have this quiet little place and set my own hours and be my own boss.”

Four years and thirty employees later, Carrie’s quaint vision has blossomed into the BrickHouse, a full service day spa bursting with Carrie’s personality, vision and charm. “I just had that itch to lead a team and be involved with the business community. So I moved in here because I just knew this place had spa written all over it.”

With the support of her husband, Mike, and landlord, Brian Nelson, Carrie transformed the 1950’s rancher at 14422 East Sprague into a gift shop/ coffee house/ day spa that features cozy second hand furnishings and decor with rich warm brick- red and Dijon colored interior paint complete with rounded corners and coved ceilings. Picture a place from your Grandmother’s time with your Grandmother’s sense of hospitality and nurturing, combined with Carrie’s natural flair for urban, homey design.

Carrie has done with the day spa what the Rocket Bakery has done with the coffee house. While Starbucks markets to the world, The Rocket Bakery has given Spokane comfortable, homey places to drink coffee, eat muffins and read the morning paper. Like the Rocket, Carrie and her BrickHouse will eventually spread to other neighborhoods throughout our city because she has created an environment that simply feels as good as the massages and manicures and pedicures her therapists offer. And after she perfects the art of re-creation, I see BrickHouses franchised across America.

I believe this because last year my mother, bless her heart, gave Elaine and I a deluxe couple massage at the Zi Spa in Coeur d’Alene and while it felt good, I felt a little funny in this ultra-chic spa designed for millionaires. While the Zi is designed to make everyone feel as though they were Donald Trump, for folks like me that is a bit too surreal. The BrickHouse, in contrast, is designed to relax and put the customer at ease while the staff attends to the business of professional pampering.

Carrie and her BrickHouse have earned and deserve the Valley’s support. She has create an oasis in a busy world that generous people like my Mom can give to their family and know their gift will be enjoyed. As Elaine said,” I looked so forward to using that gift. It is one place that an hour goes too quickly.”

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