When Steven Ferrara and his wife moved to the Charleston area in 2014, the couple planned to spend the remainder of their retirement years playing golf and relaxing in the sun. When his older brother, Vincent, asked him if he would be interested in opening a home accessories store, Ferrara admits that operating an upscale décor business didn’t fit his definition of retirement. However, he was intrigued by the idea.
The brothers, who migrated south from New York City, worked together in their family’s construction business for most of their lives, so there was little doubt in the younger brother’s mind that the two could make a go of it. Ferrara quickly realized that his older brother had already thought the idea through and was ready to move forward as soon as he got the nod from him.
“When my brother, Vincent, retired about 20 years ago, he moved to Boca Raton, Florida,” explains Ferrara, who serves as Bella Décor’s buyer and manager of operations. “There he made a good friend who owns a home décor store on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Just by spending a couple of days a week with his friend through the years, Vincent learned the business. My brother decided it would be a perfect business for me, because he knew I was the one in the family who had a flair for interior design.”
After spending a few days in Florida with his brother and his friend, Ferrara jumped in with both feet. As he began the process of finding the perfect location, he also thoroughly reviewed the Charleston area’s flourishing home décor market and identified an underserviced niche he believed he was uniquely qualified to fill. “I decided to pull interior design styles from three distant corners of the United States—Los Angeles, New York City/Tribeca and Miami. There is very little of that type of styling here,” he says. “Plus, I knew the hottest trends coming out of those major metropolitan areas would appeal to the area’s young professionals, as well as to those moving here from other parts of the country.”
In late July, after months of planning and construction, Ferrara opened the doors of Bella Décor in Mount Pleasant’s Belle Hall Shopping Center to rave reviews. The layout of this boutique-style retail store delights the eye with colors, forms and textures that lift the spirit. “We designed the store to have the feel of an art gallery, because that’s really what it is,” remarks Ferrara, “exquisite home accessories with fine art appeal.”
Ferrara’s product line is vast—lamps, bowls, frames, fixtures, mirrors, sculptures, furniture—but each piece is surrounded by light and air to ensure the customer’s overall shopping experience doesn’t overwhelm the senses. “You’ll never find rugs and pillows here,” he remarks.
True to his vision, Bella Décor features top names in home décor not represented elsewhere in the area. “We carry Murano glass, which you don’t typically see in other local stores,” says Ferrara. “We carry an assortment of plates and bowls, large and small. Murano glass has been around for more than 100 years. These magnificent pieces are items that are handed down, generation to generation.”
Ferrara handpicked Viz Glass chandeliers to include in his upscale lighting line. This colorful glass art never fails to enhance the emotion of a room, bringing a multitude of palette alternatives to any home. Among his many offerings, Ferrara also stocks authentic crystal chandeliers.
“Much of our furniture is from Art Max,” he continues. “It has an art deco flavor. Art Max also makes many of the amazing metal sculptures we have in the store.”
A professional interior designer is on staff at Bella Décor to assist customers with one piece or an entire room makeover. Ferrara promises to sell only one of any of the pieces found in his store. “Whatever we sell will never be repeated,” he notes. “We might offer something similar, but it won’t ever be the exact same piece.”
At Bella Décor, customer satisfaction is Ferrara’s highest priority. “We want to know our customers by name,” he concludes. “We want to become everyone’s go-to store for midto high-end home accessories with a metropolitan flair.”
Patra Taylor is a full-time freelance writer in Mount Pleasant. Find out more at patrataylor.com.