The thrill of the hunt is back for home decor lovers now that social distancing protocols are lifting. R•Home sent Brooke Chappell, Elizabeth Cogar and Jessica Ronky Haddad to Old Towne Petersburg, the Libbie/Grove/Patterson corridor and Charlottesville, respectively, to scout out the types of treasures you’ll discover there as locally owned home design and home furnishings shops and art galleries reopen.
A Design Mecca on the Avenues
By Elizabeth Cogar
In the Near West End, Libbie Avenue intersects with parallel avenues Grove and Patterson, and there’s a cluster of shops and eateries at each of the crossroads. This has been my neighborhood for the past 20 years, and I never tire of checking out what’s new. Between the two areas, you can find plenty to peruse for your home. Stroll the sidewalks and stop in shops to have a look.
In the block west of Libbie, you’ll find two shops worth a visit: Fraîche, at 5805 Grove Ave., has fresh and bright items for living and dining, gifts and a bridal registry, while Palette Home, at 5813 Grove Ave., is where you’ll find original art by local talents, the European paint lines Farrow & Ball and Fine Paints of Europe, and a showroom for Selamat Designs furniture.
Across the street is Kambourian Rugs, at 5712 Grove Ave., where four generations of the Kambourian family have shared their expertise in the craftsmanship and history of Oriental rugs with Richmonders.
Hampton House, at 308 Libbie Ave., is a go-to source for fine china and crystal and wedding gifts, and its bridal registry has been a favorite for 40-plus years.
The Shops at 5807, at 5807 Patterson Ave., is home to more than 25 vendors of home decor, accessories and more.
Just east of Libbie on Patterson Avenue, there are three shops almost in a row (with a bakery in between!): Gild & Ash, at 5730 Patterson Ave., stocks scented soaps and candles, cocktail and entertaining accessories, original art and tabletop decor. Beckon Home, at 5726-B Patterson Ave., is a bright, welcoming shop with gifts for the home and an in-house interior design service. Their neighbor at 5726-A Patterson Ave., Relics to Rhinestones, offers decor for home and garden and more.
Along the avenues there are a number of places to satisfy your sweet tooth or enjoy a leisurely lunch: Dine indoors or out at The Continental, 5704 Grove Ave.; pick up beautiful artisan chocolates from Gearhart’s Fine Chocolates, 306-B Libbie Ave.; or go old-school at the Westwood Pharmacy Fountain 5832 Patterson Ave.
An Insta-inspired Day of Design
By Jessica Ronky Haddad
Though I have visited Charlottesville often to enjoy outdoor adventures, wineries and historic attractions, I haven’t spent much time shopping there, so on a recent afternoon, I was eager to check out a number of stores I discovered via Instagram.
My first stop was the Ivy Square Shopping Center, at 2121-2125 Ivy Road, which is home to a number of decor and antiques shops:
The Shade Shop was a revelation.. Home to lamps, pillows, accessories and hundreds of patterned bespoke lampshades covered in fabric, designer wallpaper and marbled papers, it made me want to bring home a bright new shade to replace every boring white lampshade in my house.
Kenny Ball Antiques, an Ivy Square mainstay since 1998, specializes in 18th- and 19th-century English, French and Italian furniture, art, mirrors and accessories. It’s a favorite with designers across the country, with more than 16,000 followers on Instagram.
Hunt for affordable treasures at The Eternal Attic Thrift & Consignment. Established in 1978, it sells furniture, silver, china, jewelry, lamps and more.
Helen Storey Antiques features a beautifully curated selection of French, Swedish, Italian and Anglo-Indian wares.
Comer & Co. Antiques and Interiors offers an eclectic mix of high-quality pieces, along with candles, books and other gifts, as well as interior design services.
My next stop was Folly Home Furnishings, at 2134 Barracks Road. Started by two friends in 2013, it features a mix of vintage and new bedding, gifts and upholstered furniture, plus an in-house design studio. I picked up a pretty block-printed tablecloth and a woven basket bag here.
I took a short break for lunch at the Dairy Market, 946 Grady Ave., C-ville’s new 18-vendor food hall, where I sampled a noodle bowl from Thai eatery Chimm Street.
After lunch, I headed to Circa, 1700 Allied St., a 10,000-square-foot labyrinth of vintage furniture, collectibles and gifts, where I was taken by a groovy 1960s floral-print sofa.
Then it was on to Charlottesville’s downtown mall area to pop in at the Artful Lodger, 218 W. Market St., which has sold contemporary furniture from Lee Industries and American Leather for the past 18 years. The affable owner, Caroline Minsky, says rugs and art are big sellers and that the inventory is constantly changing as they sell a lot of furniture straight off the floor.
My final stop was Be Just, located in the historic Belmont neighborhood at 407 Monticello Road. This delightful new store sells sustainably made home goods, tableware, linens and gifts curated by floral and event designer Shawn Cosette.
Designer Finds in the Old Towne Historic District
By Brooke Chappell
Down the hill of Sycamore Street, just below the banks of the Appomattox River, lies a hidden gem: Old Towne Petersburg. A festive area of historic buildings housing some of the Tri-Cities’ finest antique shops, galleries and restaurants, this district has also provided the setting for movies like “Lincoln” and “Harriett.” I’m always intrigued and inspired by a visit to Old Towne, it’s a special place where I love to find amazing pieces in such historic surroundings. Here’s a look at some of my favorite spots:
Shop for treasures at Penniston’s Alley Antiques, at 102 W. Old St., two historic townhouses chock-full of antique furniture and accessories. This is a great place to find one-of-a-kind porcelains, tea services and table linens.
The Oak Antique Mall, at 400 N. Sycamore St., features two stories of vendors selling furniture, jewelry, objets d’art, vintage clothing and other rare finds, plus chocolates from Spain.
An interior design showroom and gifts boutique, Modvintique Interiors, at 28 W. Old St., has chic home accessories, window treatments and more. Guests are by appointment only.
Old Towne Studio 7, 20 W. Old St., is a laid-back maker space that’s a great place to shop for works by local artisans or take an art class.
Appomattox Tile Art Co., at 113 W. Bank St., makes some of the most exquisite mosaics I’ve ever seen. The premier tile haven also produces mosaics for luxury brands such as Ann Sacks. It’s by appointment only.
The breathtaking house built for Robert Bolling IV circa 1820, Centre Hill Mansion, at 1 Centre Hill Ave., is now a museum furnished with 18th- and 19th-century antique furniture and decorative arts, making it an interior design lover’s dream.
If you need to recharge your batteries with a little sustenance, there are excellent options in Old Towne.
Croaker’s Spot, at 9 E. Old St. in the old farmer’s market, is the place to get your soul food fix on, with amazing seafood, scrumptious cornbread and top-notch sides. Blue Willow Tea Room, at 104 W. Old St., adjacent to Penniston’s Alley, is the place for a proper English tea — complete with dainty sandwiches and house-made desserts.
Finally, Beaunuts, at 404 N. Sycamore St., is the hip place for sweets. Enjoy its signature buttermilk biscuit dough wrapped around their savory hot dogs or have one of their extraordinary doughnuts piled high with your favorite toppings.