The smell of sawdust in the air and the whirr of a sander greeted visitors to Nettie White Interiors at The Porch recently. While a worker was busy sanding doors, another employee helped a customer decide on that just-right finish for a kitchen makeover.
This unique business has been in for 13 years, and has a new location at 16957 Manchester Rd. They use reclaimed and repurposed materials to create one-of-a-kind furniture, accessories and artwork. A visit to Nettie’s quickly demonstrates these people really think outside the box when it comes to creative design.
What looks like a centuries-old sideboard might have started out as a Goodwill or garage sale castoff cabinet. With doors removed and new moldings added, the magic of new paint and faux finishes turn the cabinet into a stunning new piece of furniture, complete with the charming patina of age.
The shop’s room vignettes have the flavor of country French, with rich colors, timeless themes of nature, unusual accents and a variety of textures. An eclectic mix of furniture, floor coverings and accessories gives customers a lot to choose from, accents that would fit in any decorating scheme.
“There are too many flavors here to categorize the style,” said Pam Liston, office manager of the shop. “Everything is custom designed. A customer will come in with a photo, and they’ll say ‘I like this, but I want it in this color or finish. I can’t find it anywhere,’ That’s what Nettie is good at doing. She has an eye for detail that brings it all together,” she said.
Apparently a lot of St. Louisans agree. Nettie’s has been featured on local television, and in several St. Louis Homes magazine articles.
“There are five different designers who work here,” Liston said. In addition to the inventory that is White’s, there are a number of tenants who showcase their designs there.
“It’s many gifts under one umbrella,” said Liston. “We work well together, most of us working women.”
Fenton resident Carol Holden, one of the tenants, combines beautiful art glass plates with a variety of materials. These fascinating pieces would be wonderful accessories for any home, and they make wonderful gifts. Each one is unique. “Carol and I have been working together for 13 years. She is also our muralist,” said White.
Other artists working with the business are Kelly Moran from Winghaven, MO, Jessi Nicole from Fenton, MO, and Sondra Turner from Arnold, MO. “We also have our base painter extraordinaire Nathan Fashnacht and our in-house designer Heidi Hartwig. We have our custom furniture maker, Charles Battenburg, and the list goes on and on,” said White.
Wildwood resident Lisa Krumrey visited the shop recently to check out her options for a kitchen remodel. She liked the unique finishes and styles she saw at The Porch. An array of cabinet doors on one wall showed just a few of the colors and finishes available. “This looks like a good way to update a kitchen without a complete renovation,” she said. “I have white cabinets now that came with our Lake Chesterfield home, but I’d like to have a different look.”
Krumrey compared the original wood door from the display kitchen and noted all of the design elements that were added to give the cabinets a whole new look. New moldings and decorative reliefs add character and interesting textures to the once-bland surfaces. Yet inside the timeless appearance of the cabinets were convenient storage sections, giving the customer the best of both the old and new.