Eclectic collection of vintage, turn-of-the-century furniture, decor, and gifts
By Rick Marts, Staff Writer, The Times
KENNETT SQUARE — “Furniture and home decor have always been a love of mine,” replied Terri Oxenford, owner of Home Décor by Terri at 404 W. State Street, when asked what attracted her to the retail home furnishings and gifts trade.
Oxenford was first and still is in the swimming pool service business. But once she became comfortable making backyards more livable, she took the short step from the patio to the living room.
The timing of this step was impeccable. No sooner had she opened her doors this summer than a woman visiting Kennett for the Mushroom Festival entered Home Décor by Terri and “bought out the store,” said Oxenford. With her inventory decimated, and happily so, Oxenford contacted a friend with a truck who happened to be in Tennessee. He brought back enough stock to warrant keeping the doors open.
With only a quick survey of her merchandise, one can easily discern her preference for finished but unpainted, carved and often massive pieces of furniture.
“I’m not crazy about primitive pieces or new reproductions. And I’m selective about which furniture period I prefer.” Making a guess, her favorites might be 19th Century revivals of classical styles, including Gothic and Rococo.
This became increasingly evident during a tour of Oxenford’s showroom, which abounded with carved oak pieces, a few rare and many typical Grand Rapids Oak pieces, and several pieces of dark English oak and walnut with rich patinas. (One could almost see a grey bowler dangling casually from an oak sideboard above an idly-placed ivory-handled walking stick.)
Oxenford, a very personable mother of a recent college graduate, was happy to point out her showroom favorites that included several unique items with intriguing names:
- Two-tiered griffin table in the Rococo style (a griffin is a lion with an eagle’s wings or, in some renditions, an eagle with a lion’s body)
- Lion’s head fainting couch (a day-bed that is gently elevated at one end having space enough for one unconscious person but no back or armrests)
- Spanish Pope chair, from the early 1800s (given that the last and only pope from Spain, Alexander VI, began his papacy in 1492, this chair was probably made in Spain for any pope rather than especially for a Spanish pope)
While furniture is her inventory’s foundation, Oxenford carries a broad array of other decor elements, including clocks, mirrors of all shapes, unusual lamps of porcelain and metal, Mary Frances hand bags, hand-made candles (by Oxenford), and other accent pieces. Add to that wire-wrapped jewelry and Panama Jack patio furniture and the diversity of Oxenford’s merchandise becomes clear.
To become better acquainted with Home Decor by Terri, visit the store’s website at www.homedecorbyterri.com where nearly 100 photos of Oxenford’s stock can be viewed. Her store hours are Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 11am to 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am to 6 pm; and closed Sunday.