A Brick and Mortar, and New Beginnings

Looking back, 2012 presented its share of highs and lows for us. We experienced some sorrowful times…the passing of a close family member, the loss of my husbands job (after 20 years of dedication he was laid-off), and dealing with Chloe’s diagnosis. But we also celebrated some bright moments…I successfully lost a huge amount of weight (to be shared in a future post), our home was featured in several magazines, I got the opportunity to talk shop, get styling tips, and hugged (twice) my interior design idol, and I did something I thought I would never do, because I feared it the most…I moved into a small corner space in a brick and mortar shop.


Ever convince yourself there’s something you just “can’t do”. For example, I know I can’t ski down a mountain. I’ve got both gravity and speed conspiring against me. And I know I won’t ever be on television. I get so nervous in front of a camera, my face turns red as a beet and I suddenly forget my own name. Another thing I’ve had on my can’t do list – pull together a shop space. That’s kind of silly, considering I’ve been selling at flea markets for nearly 15 years. We’re pretty much seasoned pro’s at setting up in pitch black and tearing it all down hours later. But the thought of a permanent physical space sort of terrified me, with that little voice of self-doubt inside me whispering “you don’t have what it takes”.

That’s where encouragement and good friends come in. 

I’ve had the fortune of surrounding myself with an amazing circle of strong, inspiring women who gently encouraged me, until one day I finally said “okay, I’ll take a chance”. And in December we loaded up a moving truck with all my best treasures, bought a gallon of my favorite Canvas Natural paint (RL), and drove up the coast to Ventura, where we were faced with this blank canvas…


And in just a few days time, my little corner space with the tiny window went from this…


To this…

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

The Old Painted Cottage at American Home and Garden in Ventura

I moved in the first week of December, which explains the Christmas-oriented theme. Now when I visit the shop each week and see my sales tickets, it feels incredibly reassuring that maybe I do have what it takes and people “get me”. I’ve learned to let go, and allow myself to take more risks and chances.

American Home and Garden in Ventura

The funny part is, I’ve been a regular customer of American Home & Garden for over 10 years and I always loved the quality merchandise the dealers bring to the store. On Saturday mornings, Adam and I would drive up to Ventura, grab breakfast at Pete’s, walk along the ocean and going antiquing. To now be a part of this incredible store is incredibly fulfilling. 

American Home and Garden in Ventura

One of the store’s vendors, well known blogger Kathee from Chateau et Jardin is a dear friend of mine. You can see lots of great photos of American Home & Garden on her blog. She along with all the other ladies in the store have been great mentors, for which I am so grateful. I look forward to sharing more about the store, the vendors, and the amazing merchandise that arrives each week.

If you would like to come visit and shop the store, here’s the info:

Directions to American Home and Garden in Ventura

American Home and Garden

64 S. Oak Street

Ventura, CA 93001


And here’s to making 2013 the year of “I can do’s”!


Till next time, click and keep up with us on our favorite sites…

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49 Responses to A Brick and Mortar, and New Beginnings

  1. Karen, your shop is beautiful and I just know it will be a great success. What a great way to start out a new year! Wishing you all the best.


  2. Patty Sumner says:

    Karen it all looks great! You rock girl! Good for you…take those steps of faith…Praying you are
    blessed with much success. I am excited to see your weight loss..this year is my year to loss… need some good advice and encouragement. Blessing!

  3. Thanks Lynn and Patty! (I’m Jennifer though, not Karen. Maybe you’re confusing me with Karen, the store manager?) Anyways, thanks for the kind words : )


  4. Meg says:

    your space is gorgeous and if ever i travel that way from canada i will head over right away.

  5. Cindy says:

    OH MY GOSH! Your booth is insanely wonderful! Way to go! That took lots of courage… which makes it all even more cool… I’m so proud for you, and not even a teeny bit surprised that your booth looks that awesome!


  6. kathee says:

    YAY!!!! So happy you are with us at American Home & Garden Jen…Have FAITH, SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE RIDE!!! You are already doing great…and you FIT in so perfectly!

    P S thanks for the mention of my blog…

  7. Congratulations! I know just how you feel…a local TV station has asked me to do a segment for their morning lifestyle show and I just can’t do it. I feel like such a wimp. Looking forward to your weight loss post! Happy 2013.

  8. Rachel says:

    Your shop looks like it’s brimming with fun stuff. I’ve added the shop name and address to my “Things to Do” list when we visit CA. Congratulations and best wishes on fulfilling a dream.

  9. Dear Jennifer, first of all, congratulations on your space at one of America’s best Shops. I too have been shopping at American Home and Garden since the day they opened. Although it’s only on my visits home. My Husband and I were just there on our anniversary in December, and unbeknownst to us, shopped your space. It’s simply gorgeous! I would expect nothing less from you either 😉 I’m sorry to hear about your Hubby’s job. I’ve not put this out there in “blogland” but we went through that as well. After 26 years my husband lost his job. We got through it, and he’s now working again in a new career. It was a journey that I hope to not take again. The stress can get to you, and it’s not easy in this economy with the “online” application process for a man over 45 to convince employers without a human handshake that he’s fit for work. But we made it through, and you both will as well. I wish you and Adam all the best, and thank you for giving me even one more good reason to shop my favorite store in Ventura. tami

  10. Jennifer,
    Congrats on the weight loss!!! By looking at your booth…you will do great in this business. I am also in this business and it is always so much fun. Hoping 2013 is a better year for you and your hubs.


  11. Rebecca says:

    Jennifer, that space looks simply stunning, what a fabulous achievement and I wish you every success in 2013. I would certainly love to visit but its a long way from Bedfordshire, England..lol but your wares look very much my tastes.

    I can not wait to read how this new and exciting chapter unfolds xx

    Winter Blessings, Rebecca

  12. Unknown says:

    Hi Jennifer, So So Proud of you! I knew that you would be a HUGE Success at American Home & Garden. Perfect Place for you. The people and the atmosphere is wonderful! Can’t wait to get over there and check it out! Your new journey has begun….enjoy the ride. xoxo Victoria

  13. Your shop looks fantastic Jennifer!! I have been wanting to visit American Home & Garden for a while, now I’ll definitely have to get over to see your spot.
    Hope you have a great day.

  14. stefanie says:

    wow!!! it is gorgeous!!!!!!

  15. Congratulations on your shop space! It looks wonderful, filled with great, fun items! I kow what you mean. We always seem to be our own worst critics and self-doubters. I’m really glad that you went for it and realized that you could do it! Really? You can do just about anything you put your mind to, we all can! OK, maybe not skiing LOL! Hugs, Leena

  16. Yowza! Look at all that loot! I used to live in Santa Barbara and I never had the pleasure of visiting this little Ventura shop. Perhaps on my next visit.

  17. Jennifer, how exciting! You space looks wonderful and I only wish I was not on the other side of the country so I could stop by. I must admit, as I started reading the post, I thought you had opened your own store! Guess that’s because I’ve followed you for a couple of years and have the highest respect and admiration for all that you do. I have no doubt you would be a success in a place of your own. Look at Amy Chalmers (Maison Decor) and all that she’s accomplished, now having two stores! I know you could be right up there with her. Maybe 2014 will be your year of “I can double-do!” Best wishes for wonderful success on your new adventure.

  18. Your booth…your blog…everything is beautiful! I hear you about 2012 (I’m a completely lapsed blogger now, hoping for a 2013 comeback!) and am looking forward to a year of “can do” — your post and progress is such an inspiration.

    Best of luck with your new venture! I’m only sorry I don’t live closer (or at least not clear on the other coast). But that Flower Ave sign sure looks like it could be easily shipped…Hmmm….


  19. Jennifer…Congratulations!!!! Your area is adorable!!! Every time i visit my mom, American Home is one of our stops!!! I love that shop, yay for you!!!!! I can’t wait until i visit next time, to see your space in person!!! Its beautiful, your such a talented lady :) gina p. xo

  20. I am in NC but trust me if I were within range I would be there shopping. You did a great job. I know how I felt with my first booth 24 years ago…..just like you. I asked for the space to be cut in half so that I only paid $20 the first month but then I expanded time after time. I loved how good other vendors were to me, teaching me the ropes. I have never had as much information shared with me in any other business. Keep the faith and enjoy the ride!

  21. Just fabulous! Just love what you created in such a small space. You’ll be needing a larger space in no time! This will be on my list for places to stop on my next road trip. I’ll have to arrange a meet up with you. :) We’ll have to swap vegan recipes…I started going V last August and lost 25 pds so far. Need to exercise now…ugh. lol

  22. Tricia says:

    Your space is lovely- just like Cottage 8 ; o ) I am so happy for you to be doing something that brings you so much joy!

  23. Finding Home says:

    How exciting and how beautiful! Congratulations!!!!!!!

  24. Rebecca Reid says:

    So sorry to hear that 2012 had so much heartbreak – but so happy that things are looking up for 2013! The new space is – of course – breathtaking! I wish I lived closer!!! Hugs to you my friend!

  25. Nicole says:

    It looks amazing! Everything is so enticing.

  26. Congratulations, Jennifer!! I have a space in a similar store here in Atlanta and I LOVE it. So fun to have a place to call “yours”… wishing you much success and inspiration!!
    Heidi :)

  27. Wow, your space looks adorable! Congratulations! I visit my daughter in CA quite often and you are 2 hrs away from her. One of these days….

  28. Funny how we limit ourselves when our potential is so much more than we’d ever give ourselves credit for having. All of us in blogland knew your potential and just assumed you did too. You’ll soar in this new endeavor, I’m sure. Dream big and go forward!

  29. Karen says:

    Congratulations Jennifer, it’s a beautiful space. I wish you all the best!

  30. I’m blown away by your new space. Would love to be able to come shop – you have so many fabulous pieces. Good luck with this new venture!

  31. Art and Sand says:

    I have followed you for several years and am excited that you are at AH&G. I live in Ventura and have lots of wonderful pieces from there. Kathee has become a friend through blogging and then the shop. I don’t find her there often when I shop, but it is fun to see her. I am on a self imposed January spending freeze (do it every year) but come February I will be in looking around your new space.

  32. Jennifer,
    This is so great. Congrats. I loved to see the pictures of your new space. OMG!!!! The treasures in there. It makes me want to hop on a plane for Chicago and come in there for visit. I am sure you are going to become a favorite booth to visit when the locals come in there. Hope this year brings you many new and exciting successful ventures like this one. You go girl!!!!

  33. Ok, I have to confess something here….I have had my own space for almost a year now. Often times, I have thought, how would The Old Painted Cottage stage this space? 😉 I just love your style, and I am not one bit surprised that you took that step forward towards a full time space! It looks exactly how I imagined you would do it. So sophisticated, full of unique goodies. I hope that when I am down south again, I can pop in and see it in person. Thanks for being so inspiring!! Congrats on your brave move.

  34. Hi Jennifer,
    How wonderful and exciting for you! I have always wanted to have a little shop too. I know you will do great!
    When I’m in LA I will come by and say Hi.
    Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

  35. Terri says:

    I confess, looking at the before pics I thought how awful. You’re obviously very talented, the space looks fabulous now. I’m sure you’re going to do very well. Best wishes

  36. Dear Jennifer,

    Congrats on your shop! It’s adorable and I know you will do great with it! So sorry to hear about your hubby’s job but hope it will be a transition to something new and wonderful for both him, and you. Love, Kathryn

  37. I love that shop! I discovered it a few years ago and then 2 years ago I met a vendor- Juanita doing an outdoor flea- The Vintage Marketplace. I have a space at Country Roads in Orange and just love it! Your space looks wonderful! karen…

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Mimi Sue says:

    I live in Utah but lived on the Central Coast of California my whole life until my husband retired a few years ago. Every January (to get out of the cold and gloom) we spend a few weeks in sunnier CA. We like to park our trailer on the Rincon Pkwy just north of Ventura for at least a few days and the first thing I do is head for American Home and Garden! I was there a couple of weeks ago! I adore that store! The ladies that work there are so friendly and helpful and the merchandise is fabulous! Your space looks even better in person. So glad to “know” someone that has a space there. We’ll be back next year for sure. Mimi

  40. Melanie says:

    What a beautiful transformation you did with the space in the shop! You should be very proud of yourself for having the courage to go forward with this. Only in my dreams do I wish that I were close enough to Ventura, CA! :-)

  41. Oh my GOSH!!! Congratulations, dear friend! 2013 is going to be a fabulous year for you; and your beautiful new space is only the beginning, I’m confident of that! xo, Kimberly

  42. Good luck to you! For any dream to come true, there must first BE a dream. We make it happen! Best wishes..

  43. Good luck ! For any dream to come true, there must first BE a dream. We make it happen! Best wishes..

  44. Jennifer, Congrats on the shop. we are actually doing the opposite. Closing our brick and mortar and starting the flea market circut. Your space looks amazing! It is exciting to switch things up isn’t it? Keep up the good work and if you have a chance check out Distraction.


  45. bj says:

    O, your shop with little windows couldn’t be more perfect. I wish you the very best of luck…you really have some amazing things in there.

  46. Congratulations Jennifer!! Your shop looks beautiful!!

  47. I am in AWE of how gorgeous your shop is….let alone your stunning things! I wish you were on Chicago!!!!!!!

  48. Congrats, that’s awesome! And it looks great!

    Sorry about the loss of yoru husband’s job. I was victim of a mass layoff a few years ago. I worked at the corporate office of a major U.S. retailer for almost 9 years. Myself, along with hundreds of other people, were just thrown away like trash. It’s very unsettling, especially when you are so loyal. But better things always seem to come around, even if they aren’t in “our” time, you know? :)

  49. Hi again. I was at the store a couple of weeks ago and was very sad to see so many vendors leaving and the store pretty devoid of true antiques. I hope things are OK. I have been a loyal customer for years and have many beautiful items from your booth and others. That day I did buy a few pieces of handmade jewelry but left feeling a little sad that the stores heartbeat seems to be on life support. Hugs and kisses.


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