The Fabric of Portland
FIELD TRIP-October 2010
by Veronique McAree | Photography Amanda Kowalski
Whether you need a complete home makeover or just a quick fix, Portland’s Home Remedies offers the perfect design Rx
Fabric is a part of our everyday lives, from the curtains we hang to the chairs we sit on to the clothes we wear. It not only surrounds us, it covers us. Yet in Maine, textile resources have not been so easy to come by—that is, until a new business in the historic Star Match Co. Building on West Commercial Street in Portland opened it doors. The brainchild of Rachel Ambrose, this new home decor store features furniture, rugs, lighting, wallpaper, fixtures, local artwork, and of course, loads of fabric. Ambrose was the previous owner of a shop by the same name in San Francisco where she sold—guess what? Maine-made products such as Maine Cottage Furniture. But like so many who have spent time here, Ambrose felt a pull back to the state she had summered in since childhood. So 3,000 miles, a couple of retail jobs, and a business plan later, she took the leap and opened Home Remedies.
When you visit the 4,000-square-foot space, expect to walk away with not only yards of beautiful fabric but also an armful of new ideas for your home. “We’re always willing to brainstorm your latest decorating dilemmas,” says Ambrose. “And what sets Home Remedies apart is our on-site sewing studio. We will not only guide you through the fabric-selection process—we will help you realize your vision by sewing your projects.”
Inspired by the open kitchens in many restaurants, Ambrose designed the store to mirror the concept. “People love to watch things being made,” says Ambrose. So while customers peruse the carefully curated selection of Maine-made products, test-drive sofas, and pore over fabrics in the “front of house,” the industrial sewing machines hum busily in the back.
Home Remedies offers many services and will create anything from drapes, slipcovers, and table skirts to outdoor furnishings. “One minute we’ll have customers looking for French country-inspired fabrics, and the next we’re helping a customer with boat pads in need of some repair. We like a challenge. It’s really satisfying for customers—and for us,” says Ambrose.
While the inventory is not huge—Ambrose wanted to keep shoppers from being overwhelmed—customers will find fabric styles and designers to fit every taste. There’s a wide array of P. Kaufman, Laura & Kiran, Waverly, and Braemore along with lighter, 75-inch weights including Alexander Henry, Kaffe Fassett, Denyse Schmidt, and a personal favorite, Amy Butler. “We offer a great selection for everyone,” says Ambrose. “And if you don’t find what you are looking for in the shop, we’ll research and order it.”
“Home Remedies is for the person who loves textiles and who wants to transform their home,” says Ambrose, “without leaving the state.”
Who? What? Where?
Business entrepreneur Rachel Ambrose has created a new, off-the-beaten-path space showcasing an array of products ranging from home decor fabrics and wallpaper to furniture and local artwork.
Not to miss?
The Amy Butler fabrics, the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture, and the free advice that comes with every visit.
Located on West Commercial Street, parking is no problem. No meters or parking garages required—there’s plenty of space right out front. Take a trip to the store or visit them online at www.mainefabric.com.
Suffering from designer’s block? Ambrose says: “Start with a piece of fabric that makes your heart sing. Then go from there.”
HOME REMEDIES: mainefabrics.com, 207-899-0135