“I’ve been a collector all my life,” comments Nancy Ruben, explaining why she enjoys finding new and unintended uses for items that may have been put to the wayside. “Everything that I own has meaning,” she says.
This belief, which reflects Ruben’s Midwestern upbringing, is evident in her shop, The Embellished House. The mother-turned-businesswoman notes that her goal was to marry her passion for vintage and antique wares with her interest in helping clients create statement pieces for their homes.
Ruben believes that people should think creatively when considering how furnishings can be reinvented or salvaged. “We want you to be comfortable repurposing, and what your imagination can’t come up with, our imaginations can,” she says.
The shop is filled with one-of-a-kind finds, from a 19th-century church pew that was resized into a settee, to a modern-day dresser that was painted and accented with Swarovski crystals and hand-cut crystal knobs. Other standouts include restored cast-iron architectural salvage pieces, carved wood partner desks from the 19th century, and handmade pillows, often crafted using vintage fabrics, brooches and pins. Classic accessories and barware from such designers as Sascha Brastoff, Georges Briard and Marc Bellaire also are showcased. Exclusive relationships with several antiques dealers throughout the Midwest enable the boutique owner to search for client-requested pieces.