Shoppers looking for a place to browse through a large variety of styles and price ranges for home decorating items from sofas to knickknacks will find exactly what they're looking for at Interiors Market (2240 Magazine St., 525-3330).
The large building houses the merchandise of more than 30 merchants from across the South, offering wares from all over the world. There also are at least 18 artists represented, with six of them from the New Orleans area, as well as the designs of jewelry artist Lizzie Tish and others.
"There's something for everyone here," says Emily Garrett, who has managed the shop for a year and a half. "You can find a unique blend of pieces from all over the world here, whatever your taste. We have things for the serious antique collector, period pieces from the early 18th and 19th centuries, to imported new pieces." And the store has a range of items in all price ranges, from pieces of jewelry and affordable European candles sculpted into flower shapes under $20 to whatever your budget can accommodate.
"There are accessories in here from $10, going up to high-end antiques that go for $18,000 to $20,000," Garrett says.
Plus, the merchandise never remains stagnant. "We have new dealers moving in constantly," the manager says, "and dealers who are already here are constantly updating and replacing their stock."
In the front of the shop, customers can look through turquoise and beaded jewelry, silver adornments and other fashion accessories and soaps and bath products before getting past the front counter. The rest of the large showroom is separated into smaller spaces to accommodate vendors who want to set up room designs or spread out their offerings. One room offers Indonesian designs, while another boasts the bold designs that artist Tony Moses of Esom Art paints on doors and large canvases, and still another holds French antiques and new tableware and linens from The French House. Another vendor, Vie Paysanne of Covington, offers lacey and fun children's clothes and accessories as well as linens.
Just last week, one vendor brought in furniture from the estate of movie actor Humphrey Bogart, complete with authentication papers from his former mistress, at whose home the items were kept for many years. The pieces are in good condition and include a table priced at about $300.
"We like to get in a little bit of everything that's interesting," Garrett says.
The same goes for art, where the paintings range from colorful and contemporary to Lynette Walker's dreamy paintings of subtle hues and peaceful shapes. Although most of the artists who display their works at Interiors Market are professionals, the shop also carries some wood-block engraving prints by students at Mt. Carmel High School and there also is a display of antique prints and documents along with exquisite furniture cases in which to display them. An added emphasis on art has led the home decorating gallery to hold art openings and shows for its artists and provide a space for them to hold art classes.
Shoppers can browse among oversized antique armoires and miniature bedside lamps, children's furniture, architectural accents, glassware, silver, linens and more. On Aug. 1, Interiors Market plans to open a special "sale room" where customers can easily find discounted items from the shop's dozens of vendors all in one place.
The store, which opened in New Orleans in December 1999, serves as a resource to both interior designers and the general buying public. A large number of its sales are made to tourists who shop Magazine Street looking for unusual furniture and decorating accessories they can't find at home.
"We do get a lot of people from the Northeast and California who come and buy things for their homes then have us ship them," Garrett says. "We've shipped stuff all over the country."
New on Interiors Market's list of offerings is an in-home decorating consultation service in which Garrett will help determine what you need to update the look of your environment. "I'll come to your home and suggest some accessories you can add, help rearrange a room, give advice on paint colors or moving furniture around and just freshening up," she says. "I'll show you how to use what you have and add a few pieces in to a fresh look."
The first Interiors Market, a concept that is gaining popularity, opened in Atlanta in 1992 and has since spread to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Alabama and Mississippi. The New Orleans and Baton Rouge stores are owned by Louisianian Libby Corby, who works to keep a local flavor alive in the shops.
The atmosphere of the store is like walking through an air-conditioned market in which each room holds a new surprise and each new area shows the shopper something different than the last. "The variety is one of the great things about shopping here," Garrett says. "You can find anything you want -- in a couple of different styles."
- Manager Emily Garrett shows off a few of Interiors Markets' offerings of art, carved candles and other home decorating accessories.