The Herb Chateau

By on 20 January, 2014 in Kate and Stephen, Shopping with 3 Comments

The commercial district around Cloverdale’s Five Points was my first entry to Montgomery. Seeing the Capri, eating Tomatino’s, I thought – yes, I could live here. Later, when we did move here, we made being within walking distance to this part of town one of the major criteria for buying a house. Over time, we’ve come to know and love our neighborhood businesses, but we’ve always wanted to see a little more retail. Sure, you can get your shoes repaired or get a haircut or a house, but where are the places to wander through and stimulate conversation about colors, textures, patterns and taste?

Most people forget about the Woodley side of Five Points, but this is where the action is right now in Cloverdale. We’ve already looked at Fairview Homebrew (though they’ve moved two doors over since then). Over the next few weeks’ we’ll be looking at the businesses back there – some old (Richardson’s pharmacy, for example), some new (Ex Voto Vintage, The Dandy Lion, The Herb Chateau, the personal training studio). Spending some time on the Woodley side recently has made us realize just how much our neighborhood has to offer.

I wasn’t sure what to expect the first time I walked into the Herb Chateau. Was it a health food store? A furnishings place? Turns out, that’s a yes on both counts. Owner and Montgomery native Debbie Hanson has experience working with naturopathic treatments for several decades. At the same time, she’s been interested in vintage and contemporary furnishings, with an eye toward estate sales. This shop, which is basically across the parking lot from Jubilee, is an attempt to bring those two interests together.

The first thing you notice is that Debbie has great taste. Here, there’s a magnificent mid-century console; over there is a beautiful white chandelier – all impeccably accessorized with exactly the kinds of things you might have in your house if you also had good taste. The combination of rich woods and bright colors draw you inside, when even a cursory look around confirms your intuition.The space is filled with brightly colored paintings, lovely furniture, beautiful pots and bowls, all arranged to guide you around in wonder, and priced affordably to move.

The second thing you notice is that the shop is surprisingly large. The building looks a lot smaller from the outside, a trick of the eye that allows for more elaborate displays of more eye candy. Here, an amazing hand-made dining room table. There, claw-and-ball detailing on chair and table feet. A wide assortment of vintage and newly crafted mirrors add to the spacious feeling. It’s hard to take it all in at first – the old church pews, the artwork, the pottery, the lamp made out of an old fire extinguisher.

Up front, the store contains a variety of soaps and candles made by local artists. These sit side by side with the health products Debbie recommends from her substantial experience in the field. She offers diagnostics, including one where you put your hand on a device called a Zyto, and another where someone looks inside your iris. These are meant to help her recommend treatments to promote wellness and prevent ailments.

When I visited, I was mostly distracted by the non-herbal goods for sale. This shop really fills a lack in Midtown – it’s a place to buy affordable and well-curated furniture and decorations as well as a place to sell yours. Most of the things for sale are on consignment, according to Debbie. She’s also very eager and interested in displaying the work of local artists – good news for folks who choose not to show their art in the existing venues. Judging by what I saw on my recent visits, I very much hope the Herb Chateau is here to stay. We need a place to buy a locally made candle and maybe the dining room table of our dreams, all within walking distance from home.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with two cats, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. anonymous says:

    “…the Woodley side of Five Points… this is where the action is right now in Cloverdale.”

    ***

    When is something going to be done at the dead space at 1038 East Fairview?

    When will Graham Woods/Mike Watson go to court and get the ABC License that Arch Lee has held up for “presonal reasons?”

    When will the Lowder folks start building the apartments adjacent to the old Cloverdale school?

    Is Louis’a Bakery closing for good this Friday?

  2. OC says:

    Today I noticed a big FOR RENT sign at The Dandy Lion location in Cloverdale.

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