Home Remedies Inspires Living Areas That Are Lasting and Loved

Shop owner Rachel Ambrose advises clients to buck trends in favor of personal style.

Rachel Ambrose with her staff — and resident pups — at Home Remedies in Portland, Maine
The staff — and resident pups — at Home Remedies are friendly and approachable. Owner Rachel Ambrose (third from right) wants to eliminate any sense of angst from the design process.
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When Rachel Ambrose was a young adult, her father, a lifelong basement woodworker, left his corporate job to start a furniture company with her mother. “It made me realize I liked the making of things,” she says. “The creativity, the smell of wood, all of that. I liked that much more than I liked the idea of a day job in, for example, financial services.” Ambrose also shared her parents’ affinity for tried-and-true designs, like their Shaker-style dining tables and Windsor chairs. “Their work is still in many restaurants and libraries,” she says.

The store showcases a curated selection of fabric, furniture, and home-décor items.

Ambrose’s appreciation for enduring style — along with some contemporary twists — is reflected in Home Remedies, her 14-year-old full-service furniture and design studio in Portland. She’s committed to demystifying design so her customers can furnish their homes joyfully and without anxiety. “A lot of our customers feel overwhelmed,” Ambrose says. “Should they follow Pinterest or Instagram? Or the latest trends they see in magazines? It’s hard for them to know where to begin.”

Most Home Remedies clients are decorating without a designer, and they may have a vision beyond their vocabulary. The seasoned team is adept at helping each customer find their focus and welcomes the opportunity to get to know their personalities and how that might translate to their aesthetics. That guidance and often-candid advice helps avoid the indecision that results when a customer feels uninformed. Ambrose describes her entire team as “approachable, savvy, and fun.”

Customers can also visit the on-site custom sewing studio and design center.

Ambrose continues to believe in time-honored classics, which are easily personalized with accessories or singular, custom pieces. “I like to suggest finding a fabric that makes your heart sing and then base a room around it,” she says. “Make that your jumping-off point for the rest of the room or the rest of the house. You’ll be thrilled.” It’s similar to the advice she gives to clients on a limited budget: Start with furniture pieces in an interesting neutral, then embellish. “You can change it up with pillows and throw blankets or maybe an ottoman,” she says. “It’s all fashion, right?” Skilled stitchers assemble custom pillows, upholstery, and window treatments in the Home Remedies workroom, which is open to the retail area. “It’s like a restaurant with an open kitchen, where you can see things happening,” Ambrose says. “I think there’s tremendous inspiration in seeing people make things.” Having the stitchers on-site helps make the often-complicated process of custom fabrication go smoothly. “There are a lot of decisions that people need to be guided through because they don’t do this all the time,” Ambrose says.

Driven by the belief that home is a sacred space, Ambrose and her team strive to help their customers find style inspiration within themselves so they can create living areas that are lasting and loved. Says Ambrose, “You’re bound only by the laws of physics.”

For more information, visit homeremediesmaine.com. 83 West Commercial St., Portland. 207-899-0135.