Tammy Gurdin at the newly renamed Vignettes by Design (Photo by Ash Daniel)
Two years ago, Tammy Gurdin — owner of Yesterdays and Today in Ashland, a shop featuring upcycled finds and her own hand-painted furniture — opened RVA Antiques on Lakeside Avenue. That store, bustling with dozens of vendors sharing 10,000 square feet, soon developed a reputation for its varied selection and price points.
How could Gurdin top that? By opening, just 18 months later, a new store in the Westhampton shopping district at Patterson and Libbie avenues, that married the antique mall concept with the styling and selection usually found in a boutique. Originally named RVA Antiques on the Avenue, the Patterson Avenue store was rebranded this spring as Vignettes by Design, to better reflect its approach.
“Everybody has their own vignette, their own storefront,” says Jo Ray, the store’s manager. “The Lakeside location is more the thrill of the hunt; this is more refined.”
A casual visitor might never realize that “40ish” vendors are represented in the light and open space, which combined two storefronts between Westhampton Pastry Shop and The Grill. “There are no walls, no booths,” Ray says. “It feels cohesive.”
Gurdin thought a home-décor store that incorporated one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture would be a good addition to the area. While the Shops at 5807 down the street also offers gift items, Ray notes the two venues are complementary, not competitors: “It’s apples and oranges,” she says. “It’s all fruit; it’s all good.”
Ninety-five percent of the store’s merchandise comes from within Virginia. “We want to offer more than wholesale shopping,” Ray says.
The goal is to offer something for everyone, Gurdin adds. “We have estate jewelry, but if you can’t manage that, we also have costume jewelry,” she says. “It’s a little bit of this and that.”