“Color is a wonderful thing,” says Todd Martz, co-owner of Alexandria’s newest home decor store. And color is exactly what you get from the moment you walk into Home on Cameron. With a bright blue door and green plaid carpeting, this store, which used to be a tobacco warehouse, has an eclectic mix of finds such as upholstered furniture, custom dining tables, consoles, coffee tables, ceramics, artwork, textiles and vintage pieces.
The store is set up in vignettes, and Martz and co-owner Susan Nelson, both interior designers with more than 35 years of combined experience, use their eye for design to demonstrate how different pieces can be displayed in any home. “Entering your home should make you happy,” Nelson says. “It really should feel like home when you get there, and that is different for everyone. We’ll always have some off-the-wall sort of things,” adds Martz.
Discussions during Friday pizza nights at the Nelsons’ led to the retail partnership, Nelson and Martz’s first foray into the retail industry together—Martz had been co-owner of American Eye at the Washington Design Center. “A brick-and-mortar is always the dream,” says Nelson.
When conceptualizing the vision of the store, the duo wanted something fun, colorful, comfortable and approachable—“collected,” says Martz. And they pull it off with the vignettes showcasing pieces from both local and international artisans. “We don’t want the room to look like [an] instant room; we want to bring in older pieces and make it look layered, make it look like things came from different travels and different places,” explains Nelson. “We don’t want to compete with internet, so we work with smaller companies and local manufacturers and vendors. We take inspiration from everywhere,” adds Martz.
To gather this unique style, Nelson and Martz work with smaller artisans—Avanti Woodworks in the District on custom tables; Salvations Architectural Furnishings, a woman-owned company in Silver Spring that works with local blacksmiths to make tables; and Boston ceramicist Jill Rosenwald for custom pieces you can only find in the store. They also have a relationship with Greg Peoples, an art dealer in Old Town who represents local, emerging, established and international artists, to bring in exquisite art to complement the home furnishings.
Though the store is still in its infancy, Nelson and Martz say their vision is for customers to use the store as design inspiration, and with that they hope to have a rotating selection of pieces so each time someone comes in, they will see something new. They also want to become known as the place for unique finds. “As we go along, [we’re] hoping to get a reputation for working with these craftsmen and smaller companies so eventually we’ll have a whole collection of small manufacturers, unique things, craftspeople,” says Martz.
The two will also continue their design services, either giving advice in the store or working with clients on projects in their homes. // 315 Cameron St., Alexandria