BRITTNEY LOHMILLER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Amber Rayborn, co-owner of A Gallerie, talks with Sara Delaney about the ballerina painting Delaney purchased from the store. Rayborn and Ashley Smith opened A Gallerie three months ago.
BRITTNEY LOHMILLER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Amber Rayborn, co-owner of A Gallerie, talks with Sara Delaney about the ballerina painting Delaney purchased from the store. Rayborn and Ashley Smith opened A Gallerie three months ago.

Archived Story

Local stores offer contemporary alternatives

Published 12:05am Sunday, December 15, 2013

NATCHEZ — In a city known for its historic style and many antiques shops, a few local stores offer contemporary design pieces that shop owners say seamlessly blend into traditional style.

Amber Rayborn and Ashley Smith opened A Gallerie on Main Street three months ago, looking to offer contemporary design options in Natchez.

The store sells accent furniture, art, home décor as well as jewelry.

Smith said she feels more young people are moving back to Natchez, creating a need for more contemporary and “shabby chic” design options. But she said many of the store’s customers are locals looking to freshen the look of a traditionally decorated house with a contemporary piece.

“You don’t have to take a whole room and decorate it (in contemporary décor),” she said. “You can use a lamp or a piece of art to brighten up a room and add that element of contemporary.”

In a town known for its antiques stores and classic houses, contemporary furnishings have started showing up in local stores.
In a town known for its antiques stores and classic houses, contemporary furnishings have started showing up in local stores.

Rayborn said people who have traditional style may not think A Gallerie or other contemporary design stores have much to offer them.

“But a lot of times people will come in and get inspired and find something,” she said. “It’s all about the setting and how you put it together.”

Darby’s Furniture offers a mix of antique and contemporary pieces, and owner Darby Short said the two styles complement each other

“It’s always very, very interesting to do a little pop and putting antique pieces back in with contemporary,” Short said. “It’s a very interesting juxtaposition.”

Something as simple as putting a contemporary lamp on an antique chest of drawers adds interest to a room, Short said.

“I always like to mix a little surprise in whatever room we’re doing, whether it’s a traditional room with a little pop of contemporary or putting an antique piece in a contemporary room,” Short said.

“I always tell people, ‘Be not afraid, and step out,’” Short said. “It’s about having fun with your house, and it’s not in concrete. You can always change it down the road.”

Dianne’s Frame Shop Assistant Manager Callie Godfrey said Dianne’s offers contemporary pieces, such as mercury glass, traditional fine furniture and also shabby chic rustic pieces.

“Our shop is very blended, and it definitely blends together in your home, if that’s your style,” she said.

Rayborn said for those looking to freshen up a traditional home or transition into a contemporary style, the best advice she has is to keep an open mind.

“Don’t be afraid of it,” she said. “Some people who are used to the traditional don’t think contemporary pieces will work in their homes, but it can.”