As soon as you walk through the door, you understand why this shop borrowed its name from the Italian word for “furniture.” Mobilia brings a fun and funky European edge to all of its pieces — like the Mythos Coffee Table, a slice of solid teak sitting on three brass legs.
You know those old, falling-apart barns and outbuildings that you see when you’re driving on back roads? Hill Top doesn’t let these old structures go to waste. Instead, employees carefully dismantle and reclaim the wood. With a focus on sustainability and preservation, this woodshop makes custom pieces that give old barnwood a new look — and a new life.
Founded by two men with a shared vision for making the world a more comfortable place for all, this company’s mission is apparent not only in its full range of home furnishings — including eco-friendly upholstery — but also in its philanthropic work for equal rights.
Silver Fox is part art gallery, and part furniture store, which means that even if you visit for only one of those offerings, you might just leave with both. photograph by Tim Robison
Silver Fox Gallery
“This isn’t like a normal furniture store,” says General Manager Jennifer Ojeda. Here, you’ll find beautiful American-made furniture surrounded by art of all kinds, from paintings to pottery. The gallery setting accentuates the custom furnishings that are just as much masterpieces as the art around them.
At Woody’s Chair Shop, Jim Woody makes chairs with the same equipment that’s been used since the 1940s. photograph by Tim Robison
Woody’s Chair Shop
The Woody family began handcrafting chairs from start to finish — including cutting down the trees and milling the lumber — in 1800. Today, in the 1946 shop built a stone’s throw from the original location, owner Jim Woody continues the family chair-making tradition.
How do you turn your house into a mountain home? For 25 years, customers have shopped for mountain-made and -themed decor — and sought design advice — at the original location of High Country Furniture.
Wander through 10,000 square feet of furnishings and decor at Cotswold Marketplace, and find design inspiration to suit any style. photograph by Laura Sumrak
Mother-daughter team Melissa Vandiver and Kate Vandiver Leary turned their mutual love of shopping, plus an empty building, into a market with more than 70 vendors. Now, Cotswold’s enormous selection of furniture, art, decor, wallpaper, and more — coupled with its staff’s exceptional taste and interior design experience — means there’s no going wrong on your next shopping trip.
While living in Copenhagen, owners Ivy and John Simon fell in love with Danish design. When they returned home to the Old North State, they decided to merge the beauty, craftsmanship, and heritage of Scandinavia with North Carolina’s Southern sensibility.
With more than 60 local and regional merchants and artists, one-of-a-kind finds — like an acid green hexagonal ottoman — are guaranteed. But be prepared to purchase that perfect piece as soon as you find it: The assortment of items at Slate is ever-changing.
“We don’t sell furniture — we just show it to people,” says COCOCO owner Steve Sechrest. “If a person wants [a specific] item, we’ll help them figure out what they’d like it to be made of.” Driven by customers’ desire for personalization, this shop exudes creativity in all of its designs. Handcrafting and upholstering furniture with leather, velvet, suede, and other fabrics, employees work with each item from the first moment an orders is placed until it’s handed off to an excited customer.
At Anne Rainey Rokahr’s shop, Trouvaille Home, don’t forget to say hello to the store mascot, Henry the English bulldog. photograph by Stacey Van Berkel
The word trouvaille, which means “lucky find” in French, defines what Anne Rainey Rokahr has curated in her shop. She stocks a colorful mix of new, antique, and vintage furnishings, lighting, and home accessories from across North Carolina and around the world. On Saturdays, sip a glass of champagne while you shop.
This mid-century modern home showroom sells trendy, covetable furnishings, including sofas, rugs, light fixtures, original pieces crafted by local woodworkers, and even pillows designed by store owner Bob Drake.
With a staff composed entirely of degreed interior designers and offerings that come in an array of sizes, shapes, and coverings, Furnish is perfectly poised to help you create a style that suits you. “You come into our store, and you really see what the possibilities are with custom furniture,” says owner Michelle Hardy. Almost all of the store’s custom furniture is American-made, and much of it is Amish, which means heirloom-quality pieces that can be passed down for generations.
At The Gathering Place, shop for farmhouse tables made from scratch, plus coastal decor to complete any beach house. photograph by Matt Ray Photography
The Gathering Place Farm Tables & Furniture
Childhood sweethearts Gerry and Steve Moore got into the furniture business by selling antiques — which Steve often had to repair. As quality antiques became harder and harder to find, he transitioned to making tables, first using pine, then reclaimed wood from old houses and barns. When Steve passed away in 2015, his nephew Matt Moore took over the woodshop. Farmhouse tables are the specialty at The Gathering Place, so named because “the table is where you share your meal, your day, your memories, your good times, and your bad times,” Gerry says. “We’re really about family and friendships — and furniture.”
When the 2008 housing crisis hit, fifth-generation builder Andy Birmingham decided to change direction and start building furniture instead of homes. Now, he handcrafts beds, tables, and chairs — often using reclaimed wood. He even uses wooden barrels to create furniture and light fixtures. Birmingham’s handiwork, along with other American-made furniture, can be found in his downtown Beaufort store, and his Mayberry mentality toward customer service encourages customers to stick around, socialize, and come back time and again.
With more than 16 years of design experience in eastern North Carolina, owner and interior designer Jess-Lee Ceravone works with manufacturers and artisans to create looks that turn her clients’ dreams into reality. There’s even an on-site general contractor — plus tons of decor and accessories to complete a room, like fragrance diffusers, coasters, Sweet Grace candles, cake stands, and more.
At their Jacksonville shop, brother-and-sister team Rick Smith and Dora Smith Compton carry high-quality Amish furniture, and they regularly work with the builders to create custom pieces from any wood, with any stain, and in a variety of sizes. The siblings even design their own pieces — like a bedroom set that incorporates architectural elements from the historic Chicamacomico Life Saving Station in Rodanthe.
Luke Cole started woodworking in his garage as a hobby and eventually left his teaching job to build furniture full-time. His design studio features samples of his work — tables, benches, shelves, and cabinetry — but each piece can be totally customized. “My favorite thing about building furniture,” Cole says, “is being able to see a pile of rough-cut lumber turn into a beautiful piece of art and know that I created it.”
Stepping into this showroom feels like entering a picture-perfect Southern beach house. With its light and airy fabrics, elegant designs, and pretty coastal colors and patterns, McQueen’s has helped influence the look and feel of homes in eastern North Carolina for more than 40 years.
When Chris Gray retired from teaching and DeDe Bennett became an empty-nester, the nurturing moms both felt that something was missing from their lives. Thus, a yearslong friendship blossomed into a business relationship, and niche. was born. At this boutique decor and gift shop, customers discover beautiful home furnishings — pick up driftwood-inspired decor or a decorative ladder perfect for holding all of those cozy throw blankets — and a super relaxed atmosphere. Think calming lavender scents, cups of coffee, lavender-chocolate chip cookies, employees who are always laughing, and customers who become friends. Gray and Bennett also give back to the community: They carry products from vendors who donate a portion of their proceeds to charities and causes, including cancer research.
At Nowell & Co., shop for North Carolina-made furniture, plus original art and antiques from around the world. photograph by Charles Harris
Nowell & Co.
Al Nowell Jr. started out making custom furniture in a woodshop. Before transitioning to retail. For almost 40 years, Nowell & Co. — owned by Al and his wife, Margaret — has been offering luxury furniture in traditional, contemporary, and transitional styles, as well as antiques, light fixtures, and original art from around the world. The Nowells also provide interior design services and make draperies, floor coverings, and bed linens. The store covers 15,000 square feet and is “jam-packed full,” Al says. “It’s like a treasure hunt — it takes two or three walk-throughs to even begin to see everything.”
This 108-year-old Johnston County institution still sits at its original location on North Peedin Avenue in Pine Level, where Terry Arthur’s great-grandfather, great-uncle, and their partner started the business in 1913. Today, Arthur and her mother, owner Merleon Rose Creech, play roles both large and small in the lives of their customers, whether helping out with an everyday need, like hanging a picture frame, or consulting on a more momentous occasion, such as furnishing a new home. “It’s important to me if they buy a pound of nails or if they buy a living room suite,” Arthur says. “Everybody’s important. Everybody.”
Walking into this shop is like stepping into a watercolor painting, and for good reason: Furniture stores at the beach can get away with colors that inland stores can’t. “This island is full of second homes, so people want them to be fun,” says Jimmy Cerza, who owns the store with his parents, Ann and James Cerza. “We like bringing coastal-bright colors to people’s homes and helping create a place that makes you happy when you walk in.” The store also sells outdoor furniture made in Currituck County, as well as accent pieces and art — which, of course, is often ocean-themed.
Maybe it’s been years since you last solved an algebra equation or wrote an essay, but learning never stops, no matter your age. Expand your knowledge on a “field trip” to these eight destinations across the state. And don’t worry — you won’t be graded!
From UNC Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library — housing what’s believed to be the largest library collection in the country devoted to a single state — to personal troves of duck decoys, pottery pieces, trains, tractors, and more: Meet the passionate collectors who curate the past and present, the serious and curious, the tangible items that tell the story of life in North Carolina.