Lavender Hill Designs, an artisan store selling French and European-inspired furniture, housewares, gifts and more, has recently opened in the Belle Hall Shopping Center.
The store is the passion project of owner Tracey Wonnacott, a Massachusetts transplant who has been an avid traveler all her life. “My mother is from England, so we spent a lot of time there growing up,” Wonnacott says. “And my husband and I love to travel, especially to France, which is our absolute favorite place.”
Wonnacott developed the idea for Lavender Hill Designs by combining her love of travel with her background in the retail and gift industries. While living in Massachusetts, she owned a gift store called Berkshire Gifts, which specialized in corporate gift baskets.
After that, she was a stay-at-home mom for many years, but she never lost her interest in retail. “I’ve wanted to open another shop for years, and I just waited for my children to graduate,” she says.
Now that they have, Wonnacott has eagerly thrown herself into developing her new boutique. To do that, she’s working with her longtime friend Beth Hoehne, who comes to Lavender Hill after a long career in retail and design at Ethan Allen.
Lavender Hill Designs’ focus is European imports and European-inspired items, with a decidedly French flair. The style, especially when it comes to the furniture, leans toward modern European and French farmhouse.
The store also carries lighting, jewelry, bath products from both England and France, and a selection of imported European foods. There is a cozy café area where guests can enjoy coffee and macarons as they browse.
Something that customers are most excited about, however, is Lavender Hill Designs’ bridal registry. Brides have a carefully curated selection of items to choose from, including china and everyday tableware, home accents, entertaining items and more.
Wonnacott has stocked a rich collection of vintage linens and handkerchiefs, all ready to be monogrammed. One line of kitchen and cookware items is made of reclaimed wood from across Europe repurposed into products like pizza boards and trivets. “Some of the wood is 600 years old,” Wonnacott says.
With Lavender Hill Designs, Wonnacott is hoping to add something special to Charleston’s home and design offerings. “We’re trying to complement the Southern style,” she says. “There’s a certain chicness about items from Europe, and we want to blend that chicness with the Lowcountry style, as they complement each other so beautifully.”
Elizabeth Pandolfi is a writer living in Charleston.