Where Pretty Meets Practical

Your home should be filled with the things you love,” declares Pat Marshall.

As the owner of Homestead in Hendersonville, Marshall offers sage decorating advice. “I guide my customers away from strict design rules, and strongly encourage them to focus on what I call high livability products — things that are pretty, but practical,” she says.

Standing in the shadow of Henderson County’s historic courthouse, Homestead (opened in 2001 as Homestead Linens) beckons passersby with its smart window displays. The shop is a calming escape from a bustling Main Street, featuring luxurious wares for gracious living displayed in beautiful themed vignettes.

Homestead carries bed, table and bath linens, soaps and fragrances, women’s accessories and clothing, jewelry, travel accessories and rugs. “We started out with an inventory that was 75 percent linens and 25 percent gifts; today our stock reflects a reversal in those figures, and the influences of both my customers’ needs and the effects of the major economic transition we’ve all experienced over the last five years,” Marshall explains.

Marshall shares her design counsel with Carolina Home + Garden readers.

How do you describe Homestead’s aesthetic?
I’d say sophisticated rustic — beautiful, but taking comfort and lifestyle into account.

You’re a most creative visual merchandiser. What are your tricks?
It’s pretty fun, actually — I handpick every item here. I get my merchandise from a wide range of vendors — some well known, such as Pine Cone Hill bedding, to one of a kind handcrafted treasures. I also incorporate local products, like Hendersonville’s own Oriole Mills products. My space is a blank canvas, and I place my products so they complement each other visually and practically via unified concepts like bath, dining, or bed. Then I come up with the most visually interesting and relatable mixes of colors, textures, and objects I can. My big front window presents another opportunity to create seasonal displays that promote a mood of comfort.

What’s valuable advice you have for the intrepid home decorator?
Don’t get hung up on preconceived notions, like choosing paint color first. Your starting point should be something you really love, whether it’s fabric or art. If you have kids or pets, you need easy care things. I have virtually no merchandise you can’t touch or smell as well as see in my store, because the sensory experience is that important. The more customers can tell me about their flooring, wall covering, and furniture styles, the better. To get a feel for someone’s space, I must interrogate them a bit.

What’s a misconception people commonly have about your work?
They have limited ideas about what I can search out and obtain for them. Though I don’t have endless vendors, I still have access to lots of things that may not necessarily be in the store. I also let people take items on approval so they can see if they really work, or don’t work, in their home. My work is about more than buying and selling pretty things. I market my business proactively and attend to all the bottom line stuff that’s definitely not aesthetic.

How do you keep on top of trends, and decide whether something’s right for Homestead?
I go to the Atlanta market twice a year, in January and July. I’m like a kid in a candy store, and I get lots of information on what’s hot. The other main source, again, is my customers. I focus on their needs and my offerings reflect that.

Does your own home reflect the store’s style?

Gosh yes! My house is filled with antiques my husband brought with him, but I own bedding, rugs, and lamps from the store. Because I’m a “clutter buster,” not a collector, I carefully curate my possessions.

What’s the most important element in a well-put together room, in your opinion?

Authenticity. Design shouldn’t be formulaic. Pick colors and objects you truly love for their sheer beauty or meaning to you. Who cares if the next person doesn’t like the painting that’s your living room’s centerpiece? You should do what makes you happy in your space. My mantra is that your home should look great but also function well and be easy to care for.

What’s the easiest way to up the excitement in a room?

An element of surprise, like painting your walls an unexpected color, or accessorizing with something dramatic, like one of our awesome, huge, 15” x 35” decorative pillows. They’re easy on the wallet but add a fun pop of color.

Homestead is locaed at 110 North Main Street, Hendersonville. Call 828-697-8787 or visit www.homesteadlinens.com.