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Brick & Mortar: Curated Home Decor
Where old meets new

BY JEN KENT
PHOTOS BY DAVID SZYMANSKI

May 2019

Melanie Devorkin shows off a unique find in her decor store

Tucked into a Germantown shopping mall on Mequon Road is Curated Home Decor, a locally-owned home furnishings store that first opened its doors last September.

Inside, a series of impeccably styled vignettes, which wouldn’t be out of place in the pages of Architectural Digest or Elle Decor magazines, line the perimeter of the space. A fresh-for-spring display, complete with a hanging rattan chair and freshly potted greenery, greets shoppers at the entrance. Vintage Gucci and Christian Dior tableware fills an antique cabinet, and a colorful gallery wall featuring work by Milwaukee-based artist Rachel Christopoulos frames a modern-yet-plush velvet sofa.

It is a place where old meets new — and quite seamlessly too.

“I don’t have an interior design background or anything like that. It really is a love for home decor and home furnishings,” says owner Melanie Devorkin, a Bay View native who now lives in Mequon with her husband and three children. “... I’ve always loved all different looks, and I really love vintage and antiques. … After my kids have grown and are [now] getting older, I thought about working in a shop, and then I thought, ‘Maybe I should just open one. I should just try it.’”

It’s clear Devorkin wears many hats, as many small business owners do, but her chief role is undoubtedly that of buyer — a job that requires her to continuously scour the world for new merchandise. A recent trip to Las Vegas Market, for example, led her to a vendor based in Louisville that sells vintage olive jars from Italy, so she drove south to personally select each piece from the vendor’s collection. Devorkin also focuses on growing the store’s third-party inventory, and regularly approaches local artisans and small business owners in hopes of selling their merchandise in her store.

Currently, Curated Home Decor stocks Canela-Canela fashion jewelry, paper goods by J. Sperling Paperie, Lit MKE candles and vintage rugs from Stone House Stage and Design.

Curated’s higher-end, designer-driven inventory — much of which Devorkin finds at local estate sales — is sold on Chairish, an online vintage, art and home accessories sales service. Devorkin says she thoroughly enjoys this arm of the business, adding that Curated was one of the first stores in the Milwaukee area to sell on the website.

“You’d be so surprised about how many pieces are in these homes. A lot of it is vintage, but that’s really sought-after. Most of our buyers are from the East and West Coasts,” she continues. “… [Chairish] is not for the deals, unfortunately. That’s what is kind of hard about having the pieces in the store and being in the Midwest. It’s really a balance, trying to figure it out.”

This month, Curated will kick off a series of events to celebrate other small, local businesses and draw shoppers to the store. On Friday, May 3, Christopoulos will host an in-store painting workshop. Other future happenings include a summer bazaar, a one-year anniversary celebration and a holiday market. And while Devorkin is keen on implementing new programming for the store, the thrill of the hunt — of uncovering the very best merchandise for her shoppers —  is undeniably her passion.

“I love searching for the rare (and) looking for unique finds,” she says with a smile. “Moving forward, I want to do that more — to search even harder.”












This story ran in the May 2019  issue of: