Quirky home decor rules at the Penniman Gallery

By Sharon Gittleman

PLYMOUTH - Step into Scott Smith's store and you'll find yourself staring above your head.

You'll see glittering Venetian chandeliers, brightly-colored mobiles and sparkling crystals.

"In the center of the shop I have a lot of things that hang from the ceiling," said Smith.

Smith is the owner of Penniman Gallery, a Plymouth shop devoted to unique home decors, jewelry and giftware.

Smith's shop reflects his love of art on the edge.

"I use doors as displays. I have several parachutes I use as backdrops," he said. "I want people to come here and have a visual experience in the environment and never forget it."

A Saturday visit could be better than a trip to the Fisher Theatre.

"On weekends I play show tunes," he said. "My customers love to sing to them."

On week days, Broadway takes second place to soft jazz recordings, Smith said.

Children are welcome guests to the Gallery.

"I have wide aisles. Its user friendly for people with handicaps or strollers," he said. "I wanted it to be warm and inviting."

At the Gallery, you'll find handmade items created by artists from South American, Europe and Asia.

"The merchandise in my shop you won't find anywhere else," he said.

The current collection includes art glass vases, three-dimensional framed wall art, wine racks and lamps.

Women's jewelry handcrafted from non-precious metals and stones are also available, including drop earrings, bracelets and pins.

"My look here is an artsy traditional look," he said. "It's eclectic."

You will also see one-of-a-kind wine racks, outdoor sculptures, small fountains, hand-blown glass and other unique designs.

"What really gets my eye more than anything else is that I haven't seen it before," he said. "My customers tend to be more sophisticated than the mainstream."

One factor has remained the same at the shop since it opened its doors on Penniman Ave., 22 years ago.

"Quality is essential," he said.

Smith has built close relationships with his customers over those two decades.

"This is the type of place where you come in and I will know your name," he said. "I keep files for my customers. I'll have photographs of their rooms and dimensions, and specific merchandise they are looking for."

If you are searching for a cockatoo sculpture quarried from a mine in Umbria painted with blue and gold stars and Smith can find it - he'll pick it up for you on his next buying trip.

It's vital to have things in your home you love, said Smith.

"It's very important to incorporate your heirloom pieces and family history items in your decors," said Smith. "Many of my customers have children. I tell them to show their art in the home and frame it nicely. That elevates it to a status that shows them you appreciate their talent."

The number of items in a display isn't significant, said Smith. The vital aspect is how the volume of space is filled.

"Ninety percent of the homes in America have undersized accessories," he said. "Americans like quantity. Instead of having six items in a grouping, three larger sized items are more effective."

Bold colors, eclectic styles and textural elements will be home design staples over the next few years, said Smith.

"I think, too, the cocooning factor is continuing," he said. "We're spending more time in our homes than we have in our past."

If you are looking for home decors items and giftware with an exciting twist, give the Penniman Gallery a visit.

Penniman Gallery is located at 827 Penniman Ave. in downtown Plymouth. For more information call 734-455-5531.

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