In the market for a lavender-filled sachet made with vintage plaid fabric? Mae Downs & Co. has got you covered. The new home decor shop, which opened last week on the 1100 block of Pine Street, along Antique Row, is owned by two local decorators who specialize in antiques and handmade home accessories like pillows, napkins and sachets.
"I wanted it to look like a shop in London in the 1960s that had been there since the 1920s and had evolved," says owner Kevin Mc Laughlin, who makes many of the items on display. The store is named after a stylish great aunt who influenced him to go into design, he says. A framed photo of her from the 1920s, wearing Chanel, resides on his desk.
At the desk, Mc Laughlin and co-owner Brian Campbell sit down with customers and offer them decorating consultations, ranging from designing their pillows to a whole room.
Campbell, who also works for the city's Mural Arts Program, specializes in quirky antique and vintage china he describes as "English country on acid."
Shop for these
1. Sachet, $12 to $90
The lavender fragrance inside will last for 10 years, Mc Laughlin says. Just scrunch to release the scent. “You can put them in a little bowl, over a hanger, or in a drawer. One person even told me she kept one in her purse, because sometimes SEPTA doesn’t smell very good — you just pull it out and take a whiff.”
2. Pillows, $75 to $300
Mc Laughlin sews every pillow by hand. This striped set is made of ribbons.
3. Dishware from Portugal, prices vary
“This green china looks like cabbage leaves. It’s really fun, and it lends itself to mixing with other styles.”
4. Matchbox, $15
“The artist copies 18th century prints, wraps the box and then hand-colors it and puts long wooden matches inside — perfect for lighting candles on the table. They’re the perfect hostess gift.”
5. Box of 10 note cards, $20
Mc Laughlin carried these note cards, by local artist Liddy Lindsay, at a pop-up shop at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. “They’re fabulous, and they’re blank inside so you can use them for everything,” he says. “They flew out the door.”