Flower Power

FIELD TRIP-July 2011

by Veronique McAree | Photography Amanda Kowalski

Looking for a wedding gift? A seascape painting? A pair of pruning shears? Try a field trip to Kennebunkport’s new shop, Anniebells. You’ll find all these items—and a whole lot more.

Blooms spring to life at Anniebells in Kennebunkport. Delicate hellebores, anemones, and fragrant hyacinths pop out among the twisty branches that add texture to the designs. “I like to juxtapose flowers that may not grow together in gardens,” says floral designer and owner Annie Talmage.

Talmage’s organic-meets-sophisticated style has been in high demand for more than a decade, and her floral business serves a variety of clients from corporate to bride-to-be’s to anyone in the market for extraordinary arrangements. Talmage is not just a professional floral designer—she’s been cultivating her passion for flowers since she first apprenticed with a florist at the age of eight (seriously).

Today, Talmage is proud of an entirely different kind of arrangement: Anniebells recently blossomed to include a new business partner, Erica Knudsen, and a new retail store.
Talmage and Knudsen connected at a Christmas party, where they did more than celebrate the season: they hatched a plan to open a shop. “We wanted to create an extension of the design studio [located at Talmage’s Kennebunkport home] and to evoke the feeling of a classic floral shop with a great mix of gifts and home and garden accessories,” Talmage says.

They scored a charming space in the heart of Kennebunkport, shopped the New York International Gift Fair for products, and jumped headlong into the world of retail. Anniebells officially opened for business in April.

“We share a passion, vision, and goal,” says Knudsen. “It brings our interests and creativity together, and it gives us the ability to offer eco-friendly home and garden products to the community.”
The selection of products in the store mirrors Talmage’s beautiful arrangements. They know when the right splash of color or texture will do just the trick, or when to accent their collection with textiles from designers such as John Robshaw and Brahms Mount.

There’s a thoughtful strategy behind the selection of merchandise that graces the display cases, shelves, and tables at Anniebells. Some of the wares, such as the John Derian decoupage pieces, are ornamental, while others, like the hand-forged gardening tools, are strictly utilitarian. “We love showcasing a mix of classic and new, novelties and elementals, utility and whimsy,” says Knudsen.

When you visit, Talmage or Knudsen will happily provide the stories behind their products while offering creative suggestions for how you can incorporate them into your own space. It’s then that you realize that Anniebells isn’t just a place for flowers or things—it’s a source of inspiration for your home, garden, or lifestyle.

So make a field trip to Anniebells and make someone’s day with a packet of heirloom seeds, a collection of decoupage plates, a bar of Maine-made soap, or a single, exquisite dinner-plate peony.

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