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In our Ask a Shopkeeper series, we tap the coolest store owners we know for a tour of their space and to ask them what items are trending right now—and beyond. For this installment, Stephanie Sabbe—interior designer and owner of the newly opened Heirloom Artifacts in Nashville—takes us inside the housewares shop you’d never expect to be in a strip mall.

Tell us about the evolution of your career from interior designer to shop owner.
I like to make big decisions during times of trauma. My husband and I purchased two residential fixer-uppers during the pandemic with the intent to sell our current home and simplify our life. We now manage both as rental properties, pretty much the opposite of simple. The shop was created under similar manic motivation. The office was probably a mess that day, and I wanted to walk into something pretty every morning. I wanted everyone else to be able to come by and see something pretty. My house will never be a show house because I have four children and two animals, but I love to host and share—this was my grand opportunity to share our work, our vibe, and this space that we have been quietly hunkered down in for the past two years. This is a shop, so I do need to sell things, but for me, it’s an extension of my home. One where I can invite anyone in at the drop of a hat and don’t have to worry if there are kids’ underwear laying somewhere on the floor. 

Describe the design of the store.
I wanted it to feel dark and moody and, hopefully, like it’s been here forever. I went to London last year and studied dozens of retail stores. We do not have the street charm of a city like that, so this space can be an escape from the strip malls of Nashville, even though that’s exactly where it resides. I love that as an interior designer. I’m not a city planner or an architect, so I make no apologies for the lack of historic appeal in our corner of the world, but I do hope once you step inside our door you are transported to another slightly more charming world. 

What kind of home goods do you carry, and how do you find what you stock?
We carry decorative pillows, antique art, rugs, lighting fixtures, found accessories, candles, furniture, and more. Currently, you come in or call the shop to inquire about stock, but we’re planning to go live with our website in mid-March. 

What pieces have shoppers been most drawn to?
Candle chasers (a metal piece that sits atop a candlestick where a shade can be attached) have been our hottest seller, hands down. I think a lot of people didn’t even know they were a thing. I also designed a cordless lamp that has been on display and will launch with our website. Honestly, I’m super-nervous about that because I’ve never designed and sold an original product, but doing so has become a huge part of the vision for the shop long term.

You also host classes at the shop regularly. What kind? 
We’ve hosted calligraphy, needlepoint, cookie decorating, and painting classes so far, and knitting and flower design are on for next month. We hope to eventually offer something every Thursday night. Plus many of the instructors are some of my very dearest friends, so this has been an absolute dream for me to get to see them in their element.

What’s your favorite area of the shop? 
I love the island in the front window. I look at that vignette sometimes at night from my car in the parking lot, and it makes me so happy. Sometimes I design things and think: Hmm, that doesn’t look like what I thought it would. I thought and overthought the shop so much, but when I finally saw it all together, I stood back and said, “This is exactly what I thought it would feel like.” 

Shop Talk

Music that’s always playing in the store: I’m currently obsessed with Maren Morris’s “The Bones,” which feels like it could be a theme song for our work. 

Dream shopper to walk into Heirloom Artifacts: We live in a town with so many well-known people, and we were taught as children in Nashville to play it cool, so I would, of course, pretend I knew no one. But if Taylor Swift ever came in, my two little girls (5 and 7) would think their mom was doing work actually worth doing. Honestly, I probably get just as excited when my neighbors come in. In this world of online everything, I just feel so loved by anyone who would get into a car, especially with kids, and come in here even just to stay hi. 

Must-visit local stores that aren’t my own: Oak Nashville, Magpies, Patina and Co. And my friend April of Tomlin House hosts amazing pop-up shops every couple of months. 

Where I grab dinner after a day at the shop: Roze Pony; it’s in the same shopping center as us, so it’s basically our office cafeteria.
Favorite piece in stock right now: We have quilted scalloped pillows from Taylor Linens that are my go-to for beds. The thinner scalloped fabrics just flop over, but these are thick and hold their shape. My girls have them on their beds, and I love them.