Onward and home (8137 Large Elbow) may only be 900 square feet, but the Webster Groves boutique is full of interesting finds: vintage furniture, woven basketry, glassware from Morocco, vintage rugs from Iran and Turkey.
Owner Amy Kuntz wants to help people discover and foster individual style and make their home reflect what they love. “The store kind of grew out of the idea of going back and forth,” she says. “We go out into the world, and home is where we come back, so it’s this idea of creating a store that allows people to create that sense of belonging in their own space…and then to extend that warmth to the people they invite in.
The boutique, which opened on November 5, offers a mix of vintage furniture and new homewares. This is Kuntz’s second foray into retail. She previously co-owned Seta, which was a collaboration between Route, LoKey Designs, and her own company, Oh Hey Aim. Seta opened in the Shaw neighborhood just months before the pandemic hit the United States, and closed in mid-2020. After taking time off to focus on her role as an adoptive mother, Kuntz was considering getting back to sourcing vintage furniture when she noticed Union Studio’s former space on Big Bend was available at the rental.
“I was driving down the street and saw the ‘For Rent’ sign in the window,” she recalls. “I had considered putting my share of Seta online and doing my own e-commerce, but when I saw the sign I thought I should just email and see. I thought that there were at least 20 people already lined up to be in that area.She was pleasantly surprised to learn that the owners were interested in adding a furniture store like hers to the block.
Kuntz still stocks vintage rugs and furniture, which welcomes customer orders, but having a store all to herself has allowed her to add a variety of new homewares and textiles to the mix. She seeks out products she loves, but it’s also important to her that the lines are ethically sourced and that the companies in question offer fair wages and working conditions to employees. Some of the most popular items in the store so far have been candles from Mo&Co Home, products from the Fellow coffee range, pillows and other textiles.
This year, Kuntz hopes to add new furniture to the store. She also plans to offer courses on how to run a meeting and other hospitality topics. “I am excited about the new year and expanding the range and learning more about the customers and the region so that I can continue to do [housewares] accessible to people,” she says. “It’s really hard to flip a mat – I know, I’ve done it – so I want to give people options that they can watch in person.”