We all love to wander Westminster Street downtown – it’s full of cute stores and cozy cafes, and its cobblestoned streets and beautiful architecture give it a charming and inviting ambiance. So, you can imagine my delight when I popped into a store on Westminster I hadn’t yet been to, Homestyle.
Owner Lisa Newman Paratore told me about the eclectic space, which, when I visited on a Saturday afternoon, was packed with browsing visitors. Homestyle has been open for nine years. Lisa’s background is in interior design, so the store originally featured mostly furniture and home décor, with some well-designed gift objects. Over the years, however, the shop “morphed into more of a design-oriented gift emporium,” explains Lisa. “I buy everything with a designer’s eye – has to have a good function, has to be well made, has to be a good value. I really do try to find things that are trend-setting and not following trends.”
Homestyle is definitely stacked with all kinds of goodies. The feel is extremely whimsical and tasteful. Vintage looking wallets and bags, goofy socks, gourmet soaps and candles, succulents and plants, coffee table books, serving trays, glassware, drinking accessories and clocks are just a few of the eye-catching gifts scattered about the room. You can also find hip jewelry, eyewear and a few racks of cool clothes hanging in the back. There’s a large kids’ section with toys, books, gifts, stuffed animals and backpacks, as well as a pet section with chic toys and treats for your pooch or cat. If you’re more interested in making your own gift or are gifting to someone creative, there are arts and crafts supplies, pens, pencils, stationery, sketchpads and coloring books as well. A gift card section is filled with fun and playful cards for any occasion. Rhode Island themed paraphernalia are all around – from birdhouses made from old Rhode Island license plates to Rhody themed word magnets to street signs you may recognize – as well as nautical-themed wares covered in blue anchors, but Lisa gets fair-trade pieces from all over the world. She also features works from various local artists. The origins, age and kinds of pieces featured throughout Homestyle truly vary.
“If you were to look at my design aesthetic, the way that I do interior design is very consistent with what you see here – contrast of texture, really saturated, delicious color, a combination of some very modern minimalist and some really authentically indigenous hand-wrought things,” says Lisa. “I think that’s probably one of the things that makes our store very unique.” Though the space itself is rather small, you could easily browse for hours, and the employees at Homestyle are very attentive and knowledgeable – Lisa really likes to hire other artists and creators.
There are so many beautiful pieces to explore in the store, with new items are coming in all the time. You can check the Facebook page to see what’s new and shop online as well.
229 Westminster Street