There’s No Place Like Home Alternatives
Lauren Fabian | March 15, 2019
Our homes say something about us - about our personalities, style, and way of life. It’s the reason we clean the house and rearrange furniture when company comes over, or why we buy a welcome mat to put at the front door. The home is a blank canvas for self expression that’s not always available in other parts of our daily lives.
Home Alternatives, a home decor and accents store on West Street, offers furniture, lighting, textiles, and accents to fill any room of your home. They feature modern and unique styles to help you design the dream home that fits your personality.
Steve and Allison Willoughby first opened the business around the corner on Merchants Row under the moniker Kindred Spirits. They dreamed of owning their own business for 12 years, frequently discussing the idea on long walks before deciding to go for it.
The couple chose to focus on on providing locally-made, sustainable furniture while bringing in a modern style recognized in other parts of New England, but never before offered in Rutland County.
“It seemed like the fun-funky business model is in all the major cities and areas, except for Rutland. Rutland needed something a little different. There was no place around here to find this kind of stuff,” said Willoughby
As owner-operators, Steve’s background in management and web development along with Allison’s degree in accounting, created the perfect opportunity to work together to run the business.
“Luckily, we are kinda the dream team. We balance each other out, I’m more of creative-strategy thinking and shes more numbers-practical. Allison reels me in because I’m wanting to take over the world, and it’s a good combination. I always joke around, but without her the store would fall apart,” said Willoughby.
Soon after opening Kindred Spirit, Steve and Allison found there was a growing interest in their unique style. Demand brought a need for expansion, and with expansion came a rebrand to “Home Alternatives” when the couple moved the store to West Street in 2017.
The Willoughby’s partner primarily with independent craftspeople to support the local economy and benefit the environment. They strive to find a balance between affordability and quality in the the furniture they offer and sustainability is also an important deciding factor in what brands they choose to carry.
“There’s a whole behind-the-scenes of the furniture industry that the consumers don’t see. The amount of styrofoam and packaging that goes into it... there’s a huge amount of waste. By building it locally, you can drop the price in half by not having to haul it across the country,” said Willoughby.
If you’re looking for comfort, one of their most popular furniture items is “The Chill” - a 46-inch deep sofa with a seat cushion the equivalent to the size of a twin bed. “The Chill” is made by Younger + Co, an independently-owned company in North Carolina built by one person from the ground up, keeping that quality Home Alternatives aims to have.
Looking for that homey feel? All their wood furniture is made from real, natural wood, with an effort to use to use an organic plant based finish, rather than petroleum base, on many of their furniture options.
For the DIYers, Steve and Allison encourage you to come to the store for inspiration as well. Although some furniture companies find this to be counter-productive, Home Alternatives disagrees. The store sells Milk Paint, a good way for people on a budget to take something they have and bring it back to life.
They’ll also take any artwork or designs you have and customize it into whatever fits your needs. Their goals are to work with their customers requests to really make something totally unique and different. They provide measures for your home and can do in home consultations to give you ideas on how to style your home within any given space.
Love candles, but hate when they don’t last? Steve and Allison also make their own, and they offer fragrances for every preference. Once they find the right recipe through trial and error, they use pure soy wax and natural fragrance oils, finding that perfect combination and temperature to pour them correctly with no bubbles or caves.
In the future, Home Alternatives hopes to make custom upholstery in-house as they continue to build custom furniture in a shared workspace. The Willoughbys also hope to offer a custom candle-making service, and have a do-it-yourself area for those with very particular preferences to make their favorite scents in store.
One thing Steve and Allison want to convey to those visiting the store is that there is no pressure when shopping there. They’ve created an experience - go in, relax and look at what’s offered for some ideas and inspiration. Everything in store comes in so many different colors, sizes, fabrics that the options are endless.
No matter your style, Home Alternatives offers unique, quality options for home furnishing and decor that will help you to make sure there really is no place like home.
Home Alternatives is located on 116 West St, Rutland, VT 05701. For more information you can visit their website, https://www.homealternatives.net/, call them at 802-772-4341 during business hours, or visit their Facebook and Instagram to get a good look at what can be offered.