Hidden Gems

Browser’s Delight

Three Triad shops offer one-of-a-kind finds

By Nancy Oakley


Elizabeth’s at Hanes Park, 851 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem; (336) 723-2009 or  www.facebook.com/elizabethsathanespark/

Setting foot into Elizabeth’s at Hanes Park is a bit like setting foot into someone’s loft. Contemporary furnishings mix with vintage pieces, while an appealing blend of colorful accessories, from pillows to tableware, rugs, lamps, baskets, vintage suitcases and framed prints fill the store — without overwhelming the eye — exactly as Tammie Rudisill intended. “I did not want stuff overload with tons of bric-a-brac,” she says. As the third owner of the shop in the Twin City’s West End neighborhood, which she originally bought with Denson Hauser, she kept the name, “Elizabeth’s,” but transformed its dark interior and Gothic signage into a more open, airier space. And whereas the former incarnation tended toward heavier traditional offerings, Rudisill curates “a good mix” of pieces and accents. “I have a Moravian corner cabinet from the 1800s, industrial, Mid-Century . . .” she explains. A kitchen and bath designer, Rudisill also paints and refinishes furniture. She’ll do custom pieces or consult with clients in their homes. She favors a clay-based paint from Debi’s Design Diary and DIY, which requires no prepping or priming. “I love the layers of color and drip texture,” Rudisill observes, adding that the multi-hued effect is best used sparingly, “for statement pieces.” And there’s a practical reason for offering them, as well: “I can’t sell brown furniture,” Rudisill says. She does, however, sell “as close to local as possible” —  farm tables crafted by two woodworkers at the Sawtooth School, or a custom line of soaps from an artisan in Stokes County, for example. Half the store is allotted to other vendors, including former owner Hauser, among others such as Brandywine Cottage, which produces finds like a vintage picnic basket, say, and then there’s the mother-daughter outfit, Home to Roost, selling pillows with pithy sayings (“Home is where your mom is.”). Sprigg Parker offers a touch of green with unusual potted plants, along with nostalgic items (note the old Premium Saltines tin), while Grey Door Market, a recent vendor, has introduced a bright, shabby chic vibe. There’s a waiting list for any booth that should become available, but Rudisill selects carefully, “according to the needs of the store.” She’s also considering opening up the capacious area in back to hold classes in furniture finishing, lettering or perhaps weaving, giving further credence to the store’s billing as “a collection of creativity.”

Sweet Tea Studio & Boutique at Irving Park, 1819 Pembroke Road, Greensboro; (336) 763-8280 or ilovesweetteastudio.com

Meg Norris and Dawn Quigley swore they would never open up a storefont — until they drove by the warren of brick offices and boutiques between Greensboro’s Battleground Avenue and Irving Park “and fell in love with it,” Quigley says of the space. In October of 2014 the two artists moved their concern with the delicious Southern-sounding name, Sweet Tea, from downtown to No. 1819 Pembroke Road, and almost immediately, their working lives changed. “All we used to do when we started [in 2013] was to rescue furniture; we made pillows, home décor, refinished furniture,” says Quigley, the spokesman for the duo. But once in Irving Park’s backyard, “when people discovered us, we could do their furniture.” They had also included a boutique with the studio, but closed it in 2017 to accommodate their clientele, who, as Quigley notes, don’t often have the know-how to take on such projects, or how to pull together a desired look. But with their artists’ collective eye and training, she and Norris can “do professional finishes,” in addition to making their own glazes and mixing their own stains. Typically in about two to three weeks, they can transform a run-of-the-mill office end table into a high-gloss piece with a laquer finish with gold trim that looks as though it were fashioned by Art Deco designer Erté. They do a brisk trade in lawn furniture, especially this time of year. Norris and Quigley can also rebuild, cane or make custom pieces such as the old radiator cover they converted to a cabinet. “Furniture is our canvas,” Quigley says.

By Christmas 2017, an Instagram post on Triad Local First, the nonprofit that champions local independent business owners, had caught the attention of the two artist-proprietors. The post contained a photo of their old boutique and brought back memories, so they invited vendors to join their beloved space on Pembroke Road. The response was overwhelming. Norris and Quigley judiciously choose local items that would speak to their devoted customers. Among the 15 vendors’ items are unusual objects, such as Beau Chateau Antiques’ framed vintage postcards of Greensboro Country Club — one circa 1916; coasters made from Scrabble letters; handcrafted jewelry by Quiet Life Handmades, floral paintings and pet portraits by Katie Anderson, wreaths made from German hymnals, painted frames, vintage dishes and more. “It’s fun,” Quigley allows. “There’s not a day I don’t wake up and want to come in here.”

State & Main, 1702 N. Main St., High Point, (336) 509-0873

Though it’s tucked in a small strip mall in High Point’s Uptowne, State & Main Vintage & Eclectic, at the corner of State and Main Streets, is instantly recognizable: Just look for the claw-foot tub brimming with potted plants and flowers outside the main entrance. Inside, you’ll see the shop’s owner, Katie Culler, likely chatting with customers, or her assistant and photographer Bill Guy. “The joke is, I’m either here or at home. You have to come by to see me,” she says. And sure enough, in walks a customer ready to retrieve two oversized, framed prints of leaves hanging on the wall behind the front desk. After Guy has removed them, Culler notes, “We’ll have to find something to fill that space.”

Shouldn’t be a problem, given the seemingly infinite supply of paintings, photographs, prints and mirrors — and those are just a handful of items adorning the consignment shop’s walls. Literally from the oriental rugs on the floor to wall sconces grazing the ceiling, you’ll find tables, chairs, curios, shelves in all manner of styles. A metal, contemporary screen partitions an area consisting of armchairs chairs, and a table of vintage jewelry from a display of a “Fun and Funky grab bag” of necklaces, bracelets and earrings, plus vintage Barbie dolls. Over here, a set of shell-shaped wicker baskets, over there, a ceramic set of wind chimes with a nautical motif. One cabinet contains ladies’ beaded and petit-point evening bags, another nearby holds several sets of cocktail and champagne glasses — while Jean Harlow, grinning from a black-and-white blowup surveys the scene. A lamp whose base is a figure of a cocker spaniel appears to guard a set of salt and pepper shakers shaped like chickens. A tea set doesn’t sit too far from a shelf of books on Impressionism, photography or flea market chic. In other words, there is a decided flow to the inventory in the store.

Perhaps because Culler, with a background in photography, curated artists’ exhibits when she lived in Georgia. “I’m used to putting it all together,” she says, explaining that she typically chooses pieces that she would want in her own home. She is also quick to credit a good group of friends, or as she calls them, “magical elves” who help her arrange State & Main’s contents — all of it consignment, all of it local. “High Point is a kind of word-of-mouth  place,” Culler notes. And a good thing, too. For when she first tried her hand at the trade a few years ago, she set up shop just off Business 85. “It was a bust!” Culler admits, largely because folks had trouble accessing the location. But now, a year after moving to State and Main? “It’s fantastic!” she enthuses.

And sure enough, another customer arrives, inquiring about a “parrot tray” he had seen in the store.

“I sold it,” Culler tells him.

He leaves and on his heels comes another patron who wanders about before sitting down on one of the overstuffed chairs for a chat. She bursts into giggles as Culler models a conical faux fur hat, circa 1970 or so, and then reaches to switch on a phonograph — an oversize music box, actually — from the 1890s. The strains of its simple tune bring a contented pause in the conversational hum, a good indication that State & Main will likely become a local mainstay.   h

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