retail

Six Stylish Home Decor Retailers

Written by Chelsea Rose Moore

We all know the magical feeling that comes with finding a special, one-of-a-kind item for our home. If you’re freshening up your decor this summer, start by shopping for vintage and antique wares to give your home a whole new look. Here, we’ve rounded up six unique spots worth an in-person or online visit.

Image Above: Shop Anderson Manor, photo by Lucy Anderson.

Shop Anderson Manor

           When Lucy Anderson decorated her own home, she realized the best interiors have stories woven into them—the kind of stories found only in secondhand items. Shop Anderson Manor is designed to make finding home goods with history easier, more accessible, and affordable. Her items are curated into small collections and launched via shopandersonmanor.com. Domestic shipping is a flat rate of $5, and local porch pick-up in Purcellville, Va. is free. 

           “I love a layered space with a mod podge of styles, so the items I’m drawn to are versatile enough to compliment the modern home and are made with classic, quality materials you can’t find in today’s big-box stores,” Anderson said. 

           Find Shop Anderson Manor on Instagram at @shopandersonmanor.

Home In The Plains

Image Above: Interior shot of Home in The Plains. Photo courtesy of Home in The Plains.

           When Home in The Plains opened its doors in April, it was a celebration of Lillian Waters’ 45 years of antique collecting. The items in her store represent a mixture of curated and eclectic antiques, with the addition of artwork by local artist Severine Debets, and crystals and minerals from Cube Minerals. As Waters puts it, her shop is “one of a kind.” Stop in to see items representing a variety of eras throughout history. 

           Home in The Plains is open Friday – Sunday and is located at 6482 Main St., The Plains, Va. Find Home in The Plains on Instagram at @homeintheplains.

The Sanders Abode

Image Above: The Sanders Abode, photo by Mariah Sanders.

           Located in Winchester, Va., The Sanders Abode is an Instagram thrift shop combining vintage and modern home decor. Each week since their opening in July of 2019, the shop’s owner, Mariah Sanders, finds unique pieces while thrifting and adds them to her shop. Once items are posted to her Instagram, her followers can claim and pay for individual items. Buyers can either pick up items from her home in Winchester or have them shipped to their own homes. 

           Prefer to shop in person? Find The Sanders Abode at the Wild for Wildflowers stand in Leesburg, where she is a new vendor. 

           Find The Sanders Abode on Instagram at @thesandersabode.

Hastening Designs

Image Above: Interior shot of Hastening Designs. Photo courtesy of Hastening Designs.

           Hastening Designs specializes in 18th-century European furniture, original works of art, and furniture custom-designed by owner Louis Shields, as well as offering full interior design services. Shields has been in business in Middleburg for almost 40 years and has been involved in the creative process of art and design all his life. The shop recently moved into a bright, airy space located at 103 W. Federal Street, Unit D, Middleburg, Va.

           Find Hastening Designs on Instagram at @hastening_designs.

Another Blue Moon

Image Above: Interior shot of Another Blue Moon. Photo by Joanne Maisano.

           Beginning as a pop-up shop in November of 2018, Another Blue Moon officially opened its doors as a high-end consignment boutique in 2019. Selling everything from fine antiques to lamps, they offer a wide selection of home decor items. 

           “We really want to be representative of every style,” Kerry Dale, one of the shop’s partners, said. “We have modern, traditional, boho, English antiques, and American antiques.”

           Another Blue Moon is open Thurs. – Sun. or by appointment. Find them at 7A West Washington Street, Middleburg, Va. Follow Another Blue Moon on Instagram at @anotherbluemoon.

The Paradise Antiques

Image Above: The Paradise Antiques. Photo by Joanne Maisano.

           For Ariane Carles, the owner of The Paradise Antiques, interior design runs in her blood. As an Argentinian, her style is a mixture of influences and cultures. The Paradise Antiques, which opened in May 2019, showcases her style beautifully. She sells a combination of vintage and antique items, with everything from equestrian to Swedish styles. 

           “It’s a very light, airy, fresh take on antiques,” Carles said. “It is a bit of everything from everywhere.”

           Find The Paradise Antiques at 1769 Zulla Rd, Middleburg, Va. 20117. The shop is open every day by appointment. Follow The Paradise Antiques on Instagram at @theparadiseantiques. ML

This article first appeared in the June 2021 issue.

MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS: Michelle McNaughton, Chris Bernard, and Maverick BRING THE PLAYROOM TO TOWN

Written by Kaitlin Hill

After the birth of their son, Maverick, Middleburg native Michelle McNaughton and Warrenton-born Chris Bernard asked themselves, “What’s the coolest thing you can do with a 2-year-old?” Their answer? Open a toy store in the town they love.

Though more than a retail operation — of which McNaughton and Bernard have plenty of experience — the young couple’s first storefront, PLAYroom, is a multi-dimensional experience focused on quality products, kid-friendly programming, and family fun in the heart of Middleburg.

Michelle McNaughton, Maverick and Chris Bernard

            McNaughton and Bernard met working for Ben and Tara Wegdam, the dynamic duo behind Middleburg mainstays Crème de la Crème, Lou Lou, and Zest.

            “We’ve lived in town since 2016,” Bernard says, who serves on the town council. “We love Middleburg more than anywhere else.”

            From time spent in the Wegdams’ successful stores, Bernard and McNaughton developed a well-rounded retail skill set.

            “[Michelle] has so much experience in sales, human resources, and in-store operations,” Bernard says. “I was a financial analyst. I ran their e-commerce. I have a lot of experience on the IT side, building the website, doing all the budgeting and all the accounting. So, it’s really a perfect fit.”

            Their complementary skills made opening a store in Middleburg a natural next step, and their son Maverick proved to be the determining factor in narrowing their vision.

            “He was definitely the catalyst for it being toys,” McNaughton says. “I’ve always wanted to have a store, and I’ve been in retail for a really long time. But now, having Maverick, we play together so much, and we wanted to take that to another level.”

            “And he is going to grow up in the store,” Bernard says. “It’ll be a family thing. It’s our family project.”

            With Maverick in mind, ideas for something more than the average toy store started to take shape, and PLAYroom on Washington Street was born.

            “I know how much energy goes into deciding what dressing rooms should look like to make women feel comfortable,” McNaughton says. “What’s the lighting? How should it smell? All the things about engaging someone to make them comfortable. But I don’t feel like anyone does that for a kid. Toy stores aren’t really set up that way. So, our main focus in setting this up was both: the toys and making the environment something that was 100% focused on engaging the child.”

            In terms of toys, McNaughton and Bernard have strict criteria. “The toys are focused on three main values,” McNaughton explains. “Open-ended play, which means they are meant to spark creativity. They should be played with in many different ways. Sustainability is also really important to us. [These] are products that promote natural materials, recycling, taking care of the environment, and teaching our children the importance of that. Finally, the other biggest thing for us is that, if a toy is very visually appealing and beautifully designed, a parent is 10 times more likely to play with their child.”

            “You should see the amount of time Michelle spends researching and shopping for really high-quality and pro-development STEM toys,” Bernard says with a laugh.

            McNaughton’s due diligence resulted in some unique finds for the store, both American-made and from abroad. They source handmade, 100% natural cotton and canvas costumes with environmentally friendly ink from Loveland Designs in Savannah, Georgia, and gorgeous, eco-friendly Paola Reina dolls from French-based Minikane. For aspiring rock stars, PLAYroom carries Loog Guitars, an NYU college project that launched with the help of Kickstarter in 2011. The guitars are three-string and come with cord flashcards, a training app, and video lessons. And Waytoplay Toys’ flexible road segments from the Netherlands pair perfectly with New York-based Candy Lab Toy cars that offer as much fun as they do shelf appeal.

            “We say our wheelhouse is ages 2 to 10,” McNaughton says.

            But Bernard adds, “We have things for kids of all ages because everyone likes to have fun.”

            Though so much more than the products, the PLAYroom is about the experience, for kids and their parents.

            “It’s not necessarily about the toy, the physical piece,” McNaughton says. “We’ve chosen some great ones, but it’s about what can that toy bring to your life, your family, your child? It’s about the ‘play’ for us, and that’s how we honed-in on PLAYroom.”

            “We’ve seen a shift in the retail experience,” Bernard says. “People care less about the price and more about what happens when they enter the store. You know, what’s the vibe? What’s the energy? What’s the experience?”

Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting. Courtesy Photo.

            “We are building the store for kids to actively engage while in the store,” McNaughton says. “We have an arts and crafts table, and we’re going to have a big wall of their masterpieces. We have a child-size fire truck for them to play inside and a whole doll house set for them to play with.”

            For the parents, Bernard shares, “We’re talking about an events-and-programs aspect of the PLAYroom. We’re going to try to do after school or evening programs where the kids can come for activities. Maybe [the parents] can go out to dinner or have a date while their kid is here. It’s a safe place where the kids are learning and doing something interesting.”

            The so-much-more-than-a-toy-store concept comes back to Maverick and Middleburg too. “We want to be in the store,” McNaughton says. “This isn’t about owning a store and then going on vacation. We want to be there and be about it.”

            “We like to be together as a family, and all our family lives around here,” Bernard says. “We could go get a job in a city, but why do that when we can stay right here, and we can all hang out? And a big part of this is we love Middleburg, and this is a fun project that we have tailored to this town and this market.”

            Quality products, creative ideas, focus on family, and love of community are all central to their philosophy for PLAYroom. The shop promises to be as fun as its proprietors, making it well worth a visit. ML

            For more information, find PLAYroom Middleburg on Instagram at @playroomva.

This article first appeared in the June 2021 Issue.

Timeless by Design with Joanne Swift at The Shaggy Ram

Story and Photos by Kaitlin Hill

“A good design will last forever.” Joanne Swift, owner of The Shaggy Ram, explains, “There are no ins and outs of design. There is only good design which is timeless.”

Swift would certainly know, as a 50-year veteran of the home decoration business. The last 30 of those years spent on Middleburg’s main street, where she sells pieces she has personally selected from at home and abroad and offers design services to clientele near and far.

“I import most of my furniture from England and France. Not all, but most.” Swift says gesturing around her shop. “I have gone to England and France probably over 80 times. So, I am very familiar with what I’m seeing and I am always looking for the unique, the unusual.”

Many of her treasures are made a little closer to home with artisans from across the nation on display. “There are various artists that I represent in here, some Virginia, some Pennsylvania, some Ohio.” Near the front window, a gorgeous decanter and set of glasses delicately engraved with a mare and foal come from an artist in Kentucky. And around each corner, striking faux flower arrangements assembled by two local girls.

Swift says, “I try to mix old and new and feature artists that I feel are really good…I love anything that is quality, unique, honest and in good taste.” Her collection has something for everyone and every budget. “I do everything from $6.50 up to $10,000. It’s a whole variety,“ she notes. The home décor and furniture store even has a children’s shop, adorably dubbed “Little Lambkins,” so youngsters can be draped in English imports, too.

Beyond retail, Swift is well known by clients all over the world and right here in Middleburg for her design services reflecting her decades of experience. “I have been here for 30 years, this is my design room,” she explains as she opens the doors to a room overflowing with fabric swatches, sewing machines and measuring tapes. “I have drapery people; I have carpet people; I have wallpaper people; upholstery people. We do it all out of here.”

Her skill set is as limitless as the scale of projects she is willing to take on. From refurbishing a set of chairs to re-hauling the decorative vision of the Ambassador’s residence in Morocco and completely remaking a chateau in Switzerland – Swift can do it all.

With her wealth of experiences and a keen eye for style, Swift has curated a collection and a design philosophy that are consistent and simultaneously eclectic. She pairs elements of new and old, homegrown and international, modest and grand resulting in timeless installments that are reflective of her simple yet purposeful principles.

“A good design will last forever. It can be contemporary, traditional; it can be whatever you want as long as it is done properly.” Swift adds, “I only buy what I absolutely love…That’s the best advice I can give. Don’t buy anything you don’t love. Don’t buy anything you think you are going to replace.”

Love and timelessness could easily describe Swift, too. Love for her job and her clients are immediately apparent upon entering The Shaggy Ram, which she has re-leased for at least seven more years. She remembers a client telling her, “’You’re not working here, Joanne, this is your passion.’”

“So many clients come in year after year and they have become my friends. That’s what I love about being here.”

This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.

Adding Zest to Leesburg

Hoping to hit the trifecta, clothing retailer Zest will soon open its third location – the newest one in Leesburg later this fall.

The Leesburg Zest will open at 32 South King Street (formerly occupied by the Leesburg Antiques Emporium) in late November. Zest is a sister concept to long-time Leesburg retailer lou lou, which also has a Middleburg presence.

West Federal Retail announced earlier this year that it planned to rebrand the Middleburg loulou ladies clothing location to Zest clothing & co. making it the second location after the Richmond flag ship store. “We wanted to continue to build upon the lou lou foundation, yet give our clothing stores their own separate brand and personality,” said Ben Wegdam, owner of the company when he announced the rebranding. Zest’s Middleburg location is at 9 East Washington St. The new name Zest and its concept was first unveiled in Richmond, Virginia in October 2017.

Zest features the latest trends in women’s clothing by offering recognizable brands such as Free People and Tribal, as well as value brands and private label. “We try to offer fashion for ages 20 to 65 since we want the daughter to be able to shop with the mother,” says Tara Wegdam, co-owner of Zest. The Wegdams own West Federal Retail, a company that operates 34 boutique locations across the East Coast and is headquartered in Middleburg. Company holdings include Zest Clothing and Co., lou lou boutiques, and Crème de la Crème.

When looking at expanding, the company found Leesburg to be a great fit. “The increased foot traffic resulting from new restaurant concepts got us excited to come to Leesburg,” he said. “We have been successful with our ladies accessory concept lou lou for over twelve years at 9 Loudoun Street SW in Leesburg and hope to bring additional shopping opportunities for customers visiting downtown by opening this new concept.”

Zest’s Public Relations Director Michelle McNaughton is confident that a combination of local and tourist visitors will be a winning combination. “Having been a part of this community for over 12 years we have a great base of loyal and local customers,” said McNaughton. “A lot of our customers come to visit week after week to see what’s new or simply to tell us how their last purchase wowed at their recent event.”

“We also have a lot of Salamander guests and tourists, so we see people from all over,” added McNaughton. “Our goal is to make sure whether you are from around the corner or across the country you feel like friends, and everyone enjoys shopping more when you’re with friends.”

 

Story and photos by Wendy C. Kedziersk

This article first appeared in the September 2018 Issue. 

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