Tori Davis never envisioned opening a store – it just kind of happened. It all started when she and her husband Mike moved into a new home in 2015. Neither of them wanted to buy new furniture, so Tori decided to start painting the furniture they had. She started with the dining room and claims that everything catapulted from there. Her husband noticed her knack for redoing furniture and encouraged her to start buying and selling pieces. Once she began doing that, they decided to open a booth in Millington. At that point, Tori was constantly going to estate sales and auctions to pick up unique pieces to paint and sell in the booth. And with so much inventory, they also opened an online store. The booth lasted almost a year before they decided they were ready for the next step, so they discussed the idea of opening a storefront. They decided to take the plunge, opening Southern Farmhouse in March of 2017.
Choosing the historic Collierville Town Square was a natural fit. Tori and her husband knew that they wanted to be in the area, so when the space became available, they jumped at the chance. “I just love the square. I love to bring my kids here. It’s just laid back, kind of chill,” says Tori, who wants her shop to add to the local charm. “We just want to be like a cool, local Collierville shop.”
In the beginning, Tori did most of the antique furniture hunting, but since opening the store, she has started working with a set of pickers who are constantly on the lookout for pieces that match her taste. She loves both new and old items and strives to carry pieces that have a story behind them. For instance, one of the unique finds in her store is a set of window frames hanging on the wall that came from an old church in North Carolina. She also has a gorgeous cabinet that one of her pickers found for her at a convent in Indiana.
Stepping into Southern Farmhouse, it’s easy to see that Tori has a talent for selecting and staging her products. Each item has been thoughtfully curated and arranged into pleasing vignettes. Tori keeps up with farmhouse decor trends via social media, along with her market visits, including the Atlanta market she attends twice a year. She also orders online throughout the year. Her goal is to have unique pieces that you can’t find in other stores. Tori describes her style as “farmhouse with a little bit of modern and a little bit of sleek. I love the rustic look with some clean, sleek elements to it.” She makes sure that Southern Farmhouse has something for everyone, “I kind of have a little bit of everything while striving to have farmhouse as the overall look,” she says. “I try to have something that can transition with anybody’s decor.”
Southern Farmhouse offers a variety of items from candles and furniture to gifts and paint. Some of their bestselling items are their candles. “The sweet tea candle is a favorite,” says Tori. “I carry three different types of paint. I carry milk paint, chalk paint, and I just started carrying mineral paint, and it’s been really popular.”
Tori doesn’t hesitate to share her furniture-painting wisdom. She explains that mineral paint has a built-in topcoat and it’s waterproof, taking out a few steps and streamlining the painting process. The look one wants will also help determine the type of paint to purchase. “Milk paint is going to chip off, and it’s going to crack itself. It’s going to make it look like an old piece,” says Tori. This type of paint is ideal for creating a vintage look without having to buy an actual vintage piece.
From elegant to adorable, the shop is chock full of fun finds like plant pots, faux flowers, t-shirts, totes and pillows. Southern Farmhouse also carries the popular Rae Dunn line of ceramics. Additionally, they sell a beautiful selection of paintings created by Tori’s mother-in-law, a talented artist in her own right. As for the prices, Tori says, “We try to keep fair prices of our stuff.” One company that she orders older items from is located in Europe. “It’s a little pricey,” she says, “but the pieces are incredibly unique. You can’t find them anywhere else.”
Southern Farmhouse also offers furniture-painting and custom lighting services. For furniture painting, clients are asked to bring the piece they want to be painted along with a photo of what they would like, and Tori will create it. For custom lighting, clients can select from a menu of different colors and styles of wall and ceiling mounts in gooseneck lighting. There are a variety of sizes and styles, and the lighting has a quick two-day shipping time making it extremely convenient. Tori said it is also possible to order a color that is not typically offered on the menu.
And, if you’re looking to glean some of Tori’s creative know-how, you’re in luck. The shop offers fun workshops and events. Recently, Tori hosted a milk paint workshop where she provided directions on how to mix and use the paint, along with tips and tricks. She also co-hosted a girls’ night out at her shop with a local realtor and two Limelight distributors. At the end of this month, she plans to have a mineral paint workshop.
When asked what she hopes Southern Farmhouse will bring to her customers, Tori shares that she hopes to create an environment that makes her customers feel comfortable enough to ask questions and get advice on painting and decor. She also hopes they’ll see her shop as a unique place with good prices, a place where they are always greeted when they walk in the door. Sounds like the perfect mix of Southern hospitality and gracious charm if you ask us!
Southern Farmhouse is located in historic Collierville Square at 147 N. Main St., Collierville, TN 38017. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. To learn more, visit southernfarmhouse.com. And to stay in the know about her upcoming events and classes, follow Southern Farmhouse on Facebook or subscribe to receive her emails.
All photos taken by Ali Boone.
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