A Trip to Nell Hill’s

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Last week I treated myself to a trip to my favorite home interiors shop in Kansas City, Nell Hill’s.  It never fails to get the creative juices flowing especially when I’m getting ready to decorate for the holidays.  For those not familiar with the name, owner Mary Carol Garrity opened her first store in Atchison, KS in 1981.  Since then, she has opened a sister store in Atchison called Garrity’s Encore as well as Nell Hill’s at Briarcliff Village in Kansas City.  Mary Carol named her stores after her maternal grandmother; a charming nod to her ancestry.

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It never fails with each visit; I’m like a kid in a candy shop marveling at the creative ideas and products the store has to offer (not to mention affordable). I’m constantly amazed by Mary Carol and her staff of designers’ ability to create unique designscapes, like the holiday mantle above.  Natural elements mixed with a vintage style portrait and a pop of plaid combine for high drama.  Love it!

table setting

One of the reasons I’m obsessed with this store is because I walk out thinking I can recreate some of the vignettes and tablescapes that I see.  The photo above is a perfect example.  This tablescape is made up of simple elements: small faux evergreens, bright red ornaments, layered dishes and red and white chargers but the result is stunning.

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If there are two design elements that Mary Carol is most known for incorporating, it’s got to be garden urns and lanterns.  You would think that there are only so many things one could do with these two items, but she never ceases to amaze me by creating original showstoppers time and time again.  In the picture above, this lantern is sitting on a wreath that’s been embellished with picks and platinum garland and the whole vignette sets on top of a garden urn. Wouldn’t this look gorgeous by your front door?

Nell Hills 007 - CopyMe with Mary Carol Garrity (right) at her holiday open house.

Despite the fact that she runs three successful stores, has written her own series of books, and has been featured on CBS’s The Early Show, NBC’s Today show, and in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Midwest Living, Country Living, Victoria (among others), she greets each customer as if they’re an old friend.  In addition to her obvious design talent, I think this is truly her secret to success.  You can always find her in one of her three stores working on the floor and helping customers solve their design dilemmas.  She’s one of a kind!

If you haven’t been to Nell Hill’s, click here for directions to her three stores.

Mary Carol also writes a weekly blog that you can find here.