I haven’t shopped for furniture in years. In fact, I’m at the point where downsizing is in my near future. However, I do have a throw pillow obsession and can’t pass up interesting picture frames, so I do get into a short list of stores and occasionally peruse online sites. Nevertheless, I set out to educate myself and poke around some of the new home décor stores that have opened, as well as some oldies but goodies.
I’m a baby boomer whose taste over the years has gone from contemporary to country to Southwest to traditional. I also have lots of “brown” furniture, much of which is hand-me-downs from my grandparents and parents. All those elements have contributed to an eclectic mix of furnishings. My walls are filled with art I’ve collected and have been gifted over the years. I’m also a color freak, so walls, window treatments and upholstery are colorful. It seems the older I get, the more I crave color.
My look isn’t for everyone – especially in an age of monochromatic modern farmhouse – but it’s mine. When I look around, I think of the late interior designer, John Hughes, who lived and designed by the mantra, “Why do when you can overdo?” However, I can’t help but wonder, what’s going to happen to all this stuff?
My son, Charlie, and his wife, Jenn, will be moving to North Carolina this spring. When they visited over Christmas, I asked if they needed any furniture for the house they are buying. I suggested they take my dining room table and chairs. “NO … thanks!” they said in unison. “But it’s from Pennsylvania House and it’s solid cherry,” I cajoled. They responded with deer-in-the-headlights looks.
“How about the stuff in your bedroom?” I asked, referring to my grandfather’s mahogany sleigh bed, a birdseye maple dresser my sister found at Porter’s and my father refinished, a rocking chair my parents bought at an auction and an end table that is the last vestige of their first living room furniture (circa mid-40s). Charlie and Jenn said they’d think about it. “You could paint everything. I wouldn’t care,” I said, knowing of their generation’s dislike of “brown” furniture.
With that said – and considering I made Charlie and Jenn’s Christmas present the promise of footing the bill for some new furniture – I thought it might be prudent to go window shopping and see what’s out there. So, I went out – secret shopper-style – and popped into stores, shops and co-op-style venues.
Be aware, my stops just scratch the surface. Lancaster has become a home decorator’s paradise! New stores and shops seem to be popping up every day. In addition, our auctions provide a goldmine of possibilities. And, as one who used to head for Adamstown every Sunday, it’s always fun to spend a day perusing the antiques shops there as well as in Columbia, Strasburg and other small towns. And, let’s not forget the arts and craft shows and maker events that showcase unique items.
I came away from my shopping trip with the resolve to do it more often. Like everyone else, I’ve spent a lot of time at home over the last year and have been working on home projects here and there. My shopping trip proved to me that even if you’re not making plans to redecorate an entire room, it’s inspiring to see what’s out there. I also discovered that even the smallest purchase – throw pillows, lampshades, artwork, etc. – can not only perk up a room but they can lift your spirits.
One warning: like other aspects of the home industry, ordering furniture can be challenging. Because of the pandemic, wait times are often six months and beyond.
As for being leery of Covid (which I am), I must say all the stores and shops I visited had mask and social-distancing policies posted on doors and many had reminders throughout. I did not see any maskless shoppers and with the exception of two places, employees were following suit. I felt relatively safe.
When Lillian Lehman set out to name her furniture store in 1969, the year 2000 seemed galaxies away. She ultimately chose Interiors 2000 to mirror the store’s selection of very modern furniture … at least by Lancaster standards. My once-treasured chrome-and-glass coffee and end tables were purchased at Interiors 2000, as was my chrome arc lamp. The rattan chairs I bought there are still with me and look right at home with my Chippendale sofa.
When 2000 came and went, Lillian’s sons and successors, Todd and Gregg Lehman, thought it was time to tweak the name and arrived at Interiors Home as a way to convey all that the store has to offer including furnishings, accessories, rugs, mattresses and the services of its interior design staff. (There’s also an outlet center.) Today, the store carries the products of nearly 60 companies including such respected names as Stickley, Century, Bernhardt, Kincaid and Tommy Bahama.
What caught my eye is a style Interiors Home is calling “refined country.” The styles and fabrics are so refreshing and welcoming that I’m ready to completely re-do my living room. I also loved the look of mirror-fronted cabinets and dressers. I did lose control and treated myself to a Flexsteel recliner as a birthday present.
I must say, Interiors was the most Covid-unfriendly (that’s a good thing) store I visited. Visitors must check in at the entrance to the reception area and have their temperatures taken and complete a contact form for tracing purposes. Once that’s accomplished, you’re free to roam the large store. I visited late on a rainy and cold Monday afternoon and was amazed to see how many people were shopping.
FYI: Interiors Home was named the 2020 Retailer of the Year (50+ employees) by the Home Furnishings Association.
3130 Columbia Ave., Lancaster
Ville + Rue by Domaci
A spin-off of the store Domaci in Bethlehem, owners Rebecca Addington and Derrick and Warren Clark debuted the Lancaster version at 101 NQ in 2019. Offering furniture and décor for the home, as well as unique gift items, the influences are traditional, industrial and mid-century styling. The global marketplace is represented as are local artisans. There’s even a Lancaster Collection whose elements – glassware, pillows, wall-hangings, tea towels and more – feature design details inspired by street maps. Oh, and there’s an adorable collection of breed-specific throw pillows that depict images of dogs, as well as one devoted to farm animals.
In addition to furniture for the living areas of the house – the online selection is huge – Ville + Rue recognizes the emergence of the home office trend and offers a selection that ranges from traditional to the clean lines of modern styling. Outdoor furniture is also available. Another hallmark is very modern chandeliers and lighting. A design service is available. After months of searching (mostly online), I found the perfect throw for my living room sofa here.
101 N. Queen St., Suite 99, Lancaster
Many baby boomers remember Ethan Allen furniture as being their grandparents’ and parents’ pride and joy. The sturdy-looking furniture, with its “historical” story-telling fabrics, spawned a craze for all-things colonial and put the company on the map back in 1932. Ethan Allen went on to become a trend setter in the industry, as it introduced the open stock concept, gallery-style room displays, direct marketing to the consumer and making the design services of staff members available to customers.
As for the modern-day Ethan Allen look, colonial is no more – it has long been replaced by traditional and transitional and even modern styles that take their inspiration from what the company pinpoints as Classic, Country & Coastal and Modern lifestyles, with a great deal of global influence evident, as well.
Lancaster’s Ethan Allen store relocated to a bright and airy building at the Crossings at Conestoga Creek in late 2019.
1500 Gilbert Way, Crossings at Conestoga Creek
Prussian Street Arcade
If you haven’t visited yet, put the Prussian Street Arcade on your agenda! It makes for a relaxing and inspiring way to spend an hour (or two or three). I guarantee you’ll find something you weren’t aware you needed or even wanted but now must have! Located in the REO Manheim Marketplace complex, which is being developed by Suzanne and Barney Reiley, and once was the home of a car dealership and Bickel’s Potato Chips, the 10,000 square-foot venue is filled with all sorts of things for the home including repurposed furniture, collectibles, accessories, lighting, wall art, candles and much more.
Open since fall 2019, Prussian Street’s owners, Susan and Michael Ferrari, envisioned creating a unique space in which artists, makers, collectors and traders could share their work under one roof and in doing so, help one another succeed. If you leave hungry, Mill 72 Bake Shop & Café is just steps away from the entrance. ARTifice Ales & Mead is also slated to join the lineup.
49 N. Main St., Manheim
Floral Designs of Mount Joy
This provides a lesson in thinking outside the box. Yes, you’ll obviously find fresh flowers and houseplants, but you’ll also find the unexpected, including stunning throw pillows, unusual pottery and vases, accessories and even all the makings for a DIY terrarium.
A move to the west side of Mount Joy in 2019 enabled owner Jill Hoffines-Erb to “branch out” and fill her new 8,000 square-foot shop with even more beautiful things for the home and soul than her previous location allowed. If you need a mental boost, the shop is now awash in spring blooms and colors.
1599 W. Main St., Mount Joy
Sometimes moving is a good thing. For Kathy Shenk, relocating from a small barn in Manheim to a spacious design center and retail shop in Lancaster was pivotal to taking her interior design firm to another level. That transpired three years ago, when Kathy, who launched Interior Fancies in 1995, took over Martin’s Interior Design, allowing her to further expand into window treatments and commercial projects. The retail space features furniture, lighting and accessories. There’s a large area devoted to window treatments including Hunter Douglas. The fabric selection is mind-boggling.
Kathy is a busy lady – she is currently involved in projects all over Central Pennsylvania and is very excited to be the designer for a residential project in Annapolis, Maryland, that will entail the creative talents of other Lancaster companies.
1520 Commerce Dr., Lancaster
Cocalico Creek Home
If achieving Joanna Gaines’ modern farmhouse look is your goal, then make a beeline for this home décor store, where the look of American primitives and rural industrial antiques entice visitors from near and far to buy furnishings, lighting, braided rugs, utilitarian metal chairs and stools, woven textiles, white dinnerware, hand-poured candles and even birch branches for their suburban “farmhouses” and urban lofts. One Massachusetts Facebook poster shared she couldn’t wait to make another trip to Lancaster, as she was experiencing “Cocalico Creek withdrawal.”
Owned by Jody and Randy Martin, the shop expanded from its original location on Reading Road to one along Lincoln Highway East several years ago. It proved to be so successful that they began searching for a larger building. They found the perfect candidate just down the road and completely remodeled it inside and out ahead of its opening in summer 2019.
2335 Lincoln Hwy. East, Lancaster
Gish’s Furniture & Amish Heirlooms
This stop served as a lesson in not making assumptions of what you’ll find inside. Indeed, one reviewer on the company’s website said she was expecting to find “stodgy-looking” furniture but was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite to be true. Turns out the Amish are “hip” to what’s trending, whether they are making quilts, kitchen cabinets or furniture. The arts and crafts and farmhouse-style furnishings I saw at Gish’s verified that. And, there was a kitchen island that was to die for!
Made from solid hardwood (oak, cherry, maple and walnut) and reclaimed barn wood, the furniture covers the gamut (including office) and if you don’t see what you are looking for, customization is doable. The plush upholstered sofas and sectionals perfectly lend themselves to that transitional/modern farmhouse look.
The store, which opened in East Earl in 2003, and also includes a location along Lincoln Highway East (as well as three out of the area), is owned by Teresa and Michael Gish, who learned about Amish-made furniture through working at a store in Ohio and later launching a finishing company. The relationships he forged with Amish furniture makers in Holmes and Wayne counties in Ohio, prompted Mr. Gish to start his own home-furnishings business.
1352 Main St., East Earl
2191 Lincoln Hwy. East, Lancaster
Next to New
Treasure hunters will enjoy moseying around Next to New, which is a 14,000 square-foot consignment shop brimming with furniture, accessories, lighting and garden décor. There’s also the unexpected, like containers filled with seashells and boxes of vintage Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments in the dreamiest color of pink. Co-owner Gary, who is an authority on antiques, moves through the rooms answering questions and breaking the news that an item that had piqued someone’s interest “sold last week.” You’ll find antiques, retro and vintage items that would be perfect for the new decorating trend: Grandmillennial. The garden shop is stocked with some amazing items. I’ll definitely go back.
573 Willow Rd., Lancaster
The story of this small business begins in Cleveland, Ohio, where two friends, Julie and Darriel, shared an interest in art, design and antiquing. Their friendship (and families) subsequently made the move to Lancaster, where they launched Spruced. Working out of a studio in Rohrerstown, the two repurpose and upcycle furniture. Their creations are sold at Building Character (rear warehouse) in downtown Lancaster, where in addition to other items, they sell chalk-mineral products from Dixie Belle Paint Company and “college pennant” pillows that have a retro vibe.
Speaking of Building Character, this is definitely a must-see destination for anyone interested in anything from old hardware for doors to retro, vintage and upcycled items.
If mid-century modern (the real deal and not reproductions) is your look, then head for Space in downtown Lancaster. As I told the person manning the register, “I’m seeing way too many things from my childhood here.” He responded with, “We hear that a lot!” Owner Jesse Speicher has immersed himself in antiques and collectibles for the last 15 years (he maintains booths at three antiques venues plus eBay and Etsy). Jesse’s discerning eye provides Space with the best examples of retro and mid-century modern furniture, lighting, glassware, pottery, kitchen items, barware and home accessories.
24 W. Walnut St., Lancaster
Always Never Done
I set out for Always Never Done just before 10 on a Saturday morning and arrived to find it was already very busy. You would have thought Martha Stewart or Joanna Gaines was making a special appearance! No, that wasn’t the case – visitors were there to ooh and aah over the ever-changing selection of furnishings and accessories and seek owner Amy Geib’s advice or opinion.
Amy is one of those creative people who can look at a piece of outdated or trashed furniture and immediately envision a new look and purpose for it. Her love for thrifting began as a child, when she spent Saturdays going to yard sales with her grandmother. That led to her developing an eye for transforming trash into treasure. The success of a blog relating to home-improvement projects prompted her to open a small shop in Landisville.
Two years ago, she took yet another step and transformed a former ceramics studio into an all-things-home store that features her work as well as that of other makers and artisans. If you’re leery of painting your own furniture or kitchen cabinetry, you could sign up for a class or have Amy and her assistant, Jess, do it. They also offer design services.
3090 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster
Heritage Design Interiors
Founded by interior designer Anita Yoder, HDI makes its home in a former inn that dates to the 1800s. The cozy rooms of the one-time inn provide the perfect backdrop for the displays of accessories, pottery, lamps, artwork, seasonal florals and window treatments (they’ve been a Hunter Douglas dealer since 1990) that make a room complete. (HDI is a must-see at Christmas time.) A fabric-filled design center is equally as cozy and inspiring.
Anita and her staff of three other designers will help you bring your vision of a beautiful and comfortable home to life. HDI, which has the distinction of being part of Parade of Homes’ entries deemed “Best of Show” and “Best Interior Design” for 19 years running, will be a stop on next month’s Best Kept Secrets Tour. I can’t believe I left there with Christmas ornaments in hand – but they were pink and shimmery and at 50% off, I couldn’t resist.
1064 E. Main St., New Holland
In business since 2014, Hometown Refurnishing initially operated out of co-owners Chris and Christy Anderson’s home. Success prompted a move to a location on State Street in Ephrata and eventually to a prime spot along Main Street – the historic Sprecher’s Hardware building. Now, the space is filled with new and used furniture whose styles cover the spectrum.
Treasures can be found here! A few years ago, a friend was in the process of furnishing his den and happened to stop by the store. He couldn’t believe his eyes! There sat the down-filled Williams-Sonoma sofa he had been coveting for the past year but couldn’t bring himself to pay the retail price. Let’s just say Hometown Refurnishing’s price was right and the sofa went home with him.
24 E. Main St., Ephrata
This design firm/studio/shop, which is owned by Lindsey Barnes, grew out of the success it experienced at Prussian Street Arcade. When space opened at the Champion Center in Lancaster, Lindsey saw it as an opportunity to expand her horizons – pandemic or no pandemic. She opened the Lancaster location in spring 2020 (plus continues to maintain her space at Prussian Street and is a vendor at Artisan Mill Co. in Rothsville). Lindsey’s design goal is to bring beauty, function and a touch of nature to her customers’ homes, which she achieves through products and objects that deliver an organic look and feel.
398 Harrisburg Ave., Lancaster
Martin Furniture & Mattress
Martin Furniture & Mattress, which is part of the Martin Appliance & Water Conditioning family, grew out of a small refinishing shop that was established in Ephrata in 1996. Success prompted the shop to expand into a full-scale furniture store. In 2003, Martin Furniture & Mattress made its debut in its current location that has grown to include 20,000 square feet of showroom space. The company further expanded in 2006 by opening a showroom in New Providence, which was further enlarged last year. At Martin’s you’ll find such companies as La-Z-Boy Flexsteel, Catnapper, Hooker, Klaussner International, Serta, Simmons and other well-known names.
1717 W. Main St., Ephrata
2318 Beaver Valley Pike, New Providence
Harry’s Furniture Center
Owned by Rich and Gini Harry, Harry’s has been a fixture in Leola for the past 25+ years. Inventory includes both new and used furniture and accessories. Rich brings an eye for what customers are looking for through his other career as an auctioneer. An avid toy collector, he partners with Randy Stoltzfus to host toy auctions on a regular basis.
16 Graybill Rd., Leola. Hfci.us
Finial & Fern
This is one of those places I’ve passed by for years and always made a mental note to check it out the next time I was in the area. I finally stopped! What a jewel box of a place this is! Located in what appears to be a former florist shop, it opened in 2014. Owners Bonnie and Ron Strasko keep it interesting by filling it with antiques, curiosities, home and garden décor, plants, work by local artisans, vintage items and recycled salvage/industrial pieces.
15 W. Main St., Leola
Every time someone on nextdoor.com asks for suggestions regarding businesses that specialize in reupholstery, glowing reviews for Alchemy fill the comments section. Owned by a husband-and-wife team, Alexis and Sandra Granthon-Roman, the shop also specializes in custom pillows and furniture repairs, painting and refinishing. They also represent several fabric companies and create unique, one-of-a-kind textiles they call “Art Cloth.” I have a chair that is calling their name!
For one-stop inspiration and shopping, head downtown to Gallery Row, where art lives and breathes. Yes, original artwork is the emphasis, but many galleries make affordable prints available, so don’t be intimidated. Also, be sure to frequent First Friday events, which allow you to mix and mingle with artists and art lovers alike. Some suggestions:
Red Raven Art Company features the work of established local and regional artists. In addition, the work of an emerging artist is highlighted each month. 138 N. Prince St., redravenartcompany.com.
CityFolk Gallery is a mainstay on Gallery Row. Owned by Karen Anderer, it features the work of member artists, as well as guest artists. Eric Fausnacht is a member artist whose whimsical furniture – he calls his chairs and pillows soft sculpture – is definitely a conversation piece. 146 N. Prince St., cityfolkgallery.com.
Liz Hess Gallery is another anchor along Gallery Row. The Lancaster County native’s paintings feature subject matter from near and far and often include her signature red umbrella. 140 N. Prince St., lizhess.com.
Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery is home to Stoltzfus’ distinctive paintings that draw their inspiration from his native Lancaster County, as well as his far-flung travels, not to mention music, nature and flowers. 142 N. Prince St., friemanstoltzfus.com.
Christiane David Gallery is the perfect destination for those who live life in color. The artist’s contemporary impressionistic work exudes drama, color, texture and dimension. Cat lovers will also appreciate her feline studies. 112 N. Prince St., christianedavid.com.
Gallery Grow Plant Bar is an urban outpost of Ken’s Gardens and is the perfect place to “go green” whether you’re a plant novice or possess a green thumb. The shop is stocked with houseplants, succulents and air-plants, as well as a dizzying array of containers. Pull up a chair at a workstation, get your hands dirty and in no time you’ll have a new addition for your home or a “living gift” for a friend or family member. 150 N. Prince St., gallerygrow.com.