When we decided that Charleston would be the next stop on our pop-up shop tour, we immediately started talking with friends about who in town we should be partnering with to help fill our 5,000 sq. ft. pop-up location. Celadon Home, a furniture store located just outside of Charleston proper in Mount Pleasant, SC, came incredibly well-recommended, and we couldn’t wait to meet the folks behind such a great shop. Celadon at Home so graciously partnered with us to help kit out our pop-up shop in Charleston. Steve Lesniak, owner of Celadon at Home, has an interesting background including travel and time-spent overseas that is apparent in Celadon’s aesthetic. We had a chance to catch up with Steve about how he came to open Celadon, his love of Charleston and travel, and the influence behind the pieces chosen for the shop.
How did you come to open Celadon Home?
I came to Charleston in 1992 from England where I had been in the apparel industry. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of diversity in the way of furniture in the area. Everything was still very traditional and antiques driven. I saw an opening for a niche that was not being filled. I have always liked travel and adventure of sorts and was ready to take on something new. I had a very basic plan and headed to Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Europe making contacts with manufacturers, learning about the industry and it all started to come to life. In 1994 I opened the store and we have been growing ever since.
What inspired you to open a store in Charleston?
I wanted to bring something completely new to the Charleston Market. The general mission was to create an eclectic brand finding furniture that is fresh in its design but completely functional in its form, and solid-wood (a quality standard that is still imperative for me). Clean, European lines would be the bones, mixed with unique, one-of-a-kind pieces with a global point of view. I wanted to offer furniture that maintained an approachability but would also be a conversation piece. I knew the customer was here in Charleston as the city was experiencing a boom in population and a Renaissance in culture in everything from food to art. The lifestyle of the people and the coastal surroundings naturally lend themselves to the look I thought was missing.
How long has the store been in business?
We were established in 1994 so it is crazy that we are coming up on 20 years. The time has gone so quickly!
What makes Celadon furniture unique?
We are always in search of something new. Always. We seek to find the next cool thing and want to offer people in Charleston something they haven’t seen anywhere else. Our buyers travel all over the world (they just got back from Southeast Asia this week) connecting with artisans to see what is new and how they are making things. We’ve been able to establish some incredible lasting relationships over the years both domestically and abroad, so we have a good network of artists, manufacturers, and industry peeps constantly connecting us with new people on the horizon, allowing us to be at the forefront of a lot of creativity and product development as it comes to fruition.
What’s interesting is you can come in the store and a purchase a rug that has been hand-knotted in India or a dining table made of reclaimed wood in Indonesia but just as easily some modern lounge chairs made right here on Folly Beach. We love to showcase the talent of local makers here in Charleston as well as offer beautiful things we have unearthed in far off places. I think the fact that there is always something new to see that tells a story is what makes us unique.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your furniture?
Solid-wood, quality furniture with good sturdy bones and airy natural fabrics are the premise, but our signature look is riding this line of masculine-feminine, casual-dressed-up, beautiful-functional, current but timeless…it’s this push and pull that makes everything cohesive.
What is your favorite place to travel when sourcing pieces?
It’s hard to have a favorite because each place is just so different and we are always finding out about new places worth checking out. But on the whole we really love working with India. It’s one of the first places we started doing business. Our buyers consistently find great things each time they go. It’s such a colorful place with incredible spirit and creativity.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Charleston?
Sailing was really one of the things that brought me to Charleston. I enjoy sailing competitively and for fun, and I actually spent 5 years living on my boat. My wife Kathleen and I are animal lovers and love to be out on the water and with our dogs.