Greene House Shops Antique Mall offers antiques, crafts, gifts – and ambiance.

By Susan Gibbs

Country décor styling isn’t about paper cutter rooms furnished with early American reproductions purchased en suite from a chain store.

Greene House Shops Dealer Candy Goodyear shows off an offeratory basket from the early 1940s.

As the editors of such magazines as Country Living, Country Home, Better Homes and Gardens and so many more might tell you, it’s about ambiance.  It’s about walking into a house and retreating into a home filled with expressions of family, and friends.

It’s an embroidered dish towel or a gingham tablecloth set in the midst of a thoroughly modern stainless steel kitchen, an old quilt tossed across the back of a new sofa, an old china pitcher used as a vase for fresh-cut flowers, or cabinets, either old or new, that show off vintage china, collectibles and heirloom teacups.

In Greene County, ambiance – in the form of furniture, paintings, silver, china, quilts, ironworks, lace, primitives, toys, crocks and much, much more – can be found at Greene House Shops Antique Mall at 14843 Spotswood Trail in Ruckersville, on the northwest corner of the intersection of US 29 and US 33.

Inside the spacious two story mall, interconnecting walkways allow visitors to walk easily between the more than 50 shops, where they can scan thousands of antiques looking for that special something – whether it is to be placed in a traditional setting, or a modern one.

Professional decorators are quick to point out that a touch of the old here and there adds interest to a contemporary home.

An old mailbox can be used to hold supplies on a modern desk, and a child’s dollhouse can add whimsy as an in-and-out box. In a bedroom, vintage bedding can dress a modern bed, and vice-versa.

An old coat rack can be stood in the kitchen and used as a pot rack, and an old funnel, says Mall Manager Gertrude Cox, can be used as a vase.

“And a larger funnel can be turned upside down, wired, and used as a hanging lamp,” she says.

Greene House Shops Manager Gertrude Cox plans to use this funnel as a vase

An avid collector who has bought and sold for decades, Cox keeps three shops at the Mall – one that features primitive items, both genuine and reproduction, and two that feature vintage items.

“Many of the things that I sell now are from my own collections,” she says, breaking into a grin. “With the money I earn from the sale of my collectibles, I buy more.”

When she is not buying and selling, Cox can be found pouring over decorating magazines, looking for new ideas. “My favorites are Romantic Country, Romantic Home and Country Living,” she says.

Country Living, published by Hearst Corporation, first hit the newsstands in 1978. Its content focuses on cooking, gardening, collecting antiques and decorating. According to the corporation’s Web site, the magazine is the largest selling shelter magazine and the definitive guide to the country lifestyle.

In fact, the magazine proved so popular early on that the Country Living franchise expanded beyond the magazine to include, among other things, dozens of books.

One of those is Country Living Decorating with Baskets.

Write the editors: “From practical storage to gorgeous display, nothing beats a basket – or Country Living’s wonderfully imaginative ideas for using them throughout the home … a large woven basket serves as a planter … fill a deep rectangular basket with towels and keep it tub side … every look is lovely, classic, and truly beautiful.

“A big basket conveys a bold statement and makes a dramatic impact … a tall basket can make a dim corner spring to life or transform an empty landing into a splendid gallery … it’s both easy and fun to decorate favorite baskets around the home, dressing them up to match your mood, the season, a holiday or the theme of a party.”

Greene House Shops is filled with furniture from a variety of periods

While baskets have typically used for storage and transport, specialized baskets have been used for other purposes. An example is a woven offertory basket that hails from the early 1940s.

“Isn’t this great?” asks Candy Goodyear, holding it by its long handle, as if to pass it down the length of a pew.

Goodyear has a shop at the Mall that she says features both country and primitive items, “and hard-to-find good items, including dolls, china, silver, jewelry, art, and some Asian pieces.”

Like Cox, Goodyear is a collector. “My passion is shaving brushes,” Goodyear says. “I have more than a hundred of them.”

 But the Mall is not just about antiques and vintage items. It’s also a convenient place to find specialty items often sold via catalogues, which don’t allow for touch, and unique gifts.

A shop featuring the well-known Heritage Lace curtains and textiles welcomes visitors as they enter the front door of the Mall, and in a shop further back, Cheri Kennedy Early sells hand-blown glass figural ornaments by (The Merck Family’s) Old World Christmas.

She sells the ornaments because she loves them.

“My shop is all about the things that I love,” says Early, who scours estate sales, auctions and craft shows to find the merchandise she sells. “I love gardens, I love hats, I love wood and I love iron. These are the things that make me smile.”

The things that make Early smile are crafted by “people who make things in the old fashioned way, working by hand, not with big machinery” she says.

Greene House Shops Antique Mall, on the northwest corner of the US29 and US33 intersection in Ruckersville

Like the felted hats, and the tin ware, the fabric veggies, vivid umbrellas and so much more that she carries in her shop at the Mall.

“I want people to come in, and take things home that will make them smile,” Early concludes.

Smiles, along with ambiance, are what the Mall is about.

Billed as “the friendliest place to go antiquing on its Web site, located at www.greenehouseshops.com,  Greene House Shops Antique Mall is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday from 10:30 am until 5:30 pm, and on Sundays from noon until 5 pm.

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