"Feather Your Nest" - One of Mary Carol's Design Books

"feather your nest" - one of mary carol's design books

An hour and a half outside of Kansas City, where I grew up, is the most fantastic of all furniture and home accessory stores of all time: Nell Hill’s.  My mother and I, along with hoardes of other Johnson County housewives, made monthly trips to the store, run by the charming Mary Carol Garrity. The store is mesmorizing. Housed in an ordinary warehouse-type building in Atchison, KS, the store seems to overflow with decorating candy you want to fill your basket (and home!) with.

Every visit is different, the rooms rearranged and redecorated, brimming with vases, stone birds, cake stands, knick knacks, upholstered furniture, decorative plates – any indulgence you can think of to grace your mantle or cover a tabletop.  The accessories are very reasonably priced – it wouldn’t be an oddity to bring home a basket of white ceramic bud vases for $2.50 apiece.  The furniture is divine – usually plush Lee Industries furniture covered in the most delicious tweeds, houndstooths, and damask fabrics – every choice assisted by Mary Carol herself.

One of the Many Beautiful Arrangements at Nell Hill's

one of the many beautiful arrangements at nell hill's

My house is dotted with finds from Mary Carol – a few vases here, picture stands there, stone birds on the bookshelf, mint julep cups holding stray pens, and, my favorite, a brown houndstooth tufted armchair, piped in a chocolate brown velvet.  I have every one of her books on my coffee table.  I am counting down the days until my next visit to Nell Hill’s, but now that my parents and most friends have moved away, the excuses to make it back to Kansas City are harder to make!  But you can guarantee that my next trip might require a UHaul to carry my loot home!

My dream is to open a satellite Nell Hill’s in Charlottesville, Virginia – Mary Carol, any interest?!

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