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We've blogged before about the wonderful shade designs from A' Homestead Shoppe. Located in the small, northern Indiana town of La Paz, the company has made a reputation with its homey, folk-art style shades and lighting. We talked with product development team member Cathy Clough to learn more about the company and its products.
Q: It's wonderful that A' Homestead Shoppe is located in a small farming town. Where does the name of the company come from?
A: The company was started in 1974 by President and owner, Bruce Albert. Bruce's passion for antiques and his innate ability to design product quickly formed a company that has become a leader in the lighting, lampshade and home accents industry. The "A" stands for Albert and the "Homestead" is the geographic setting of the unique corporate environment that AHSI offers its staff, sales representatives and customers. Located on the original Albert farm, corporate offices are uniquely housed in its renovated 1873 circa barn and thousands of different products are warehoused in auxiliary homestead buildings.
Q: My parents are from Tipton, Indiana, not all that far from La Paz. The motifs and visual look of your shades remind me of my childhood trips through the area. How have the traditions of the region inspired your designs?
A: We have a unique situation in that we are smack in the middle of farming country and the region known as the "Crossroads of America", but are also only 2 hours from Chicago with its very urban contemporary big city lifestyle. Although the company was started on the strength of our country look and influenced heavily by our Amish neighbors, more recently we have also created the more traditional and contemporary designs influenced by our proximity to the big city. We also have an awesome product development team who has a great passion for fabrics and the latest trends in the gift and home decorating industry.
Q: What is your favorite new design trend?
A: The trend toward what the industry is calling "countryopolitan" has been great for us. The product, whether a lamp or shade, still has the "homey' country feel but is so much more upscale and trendy and will fit in any décor. The trend in shades with new shapes (drums, rounded corner squares and elongated bells) has also been fun and finding just the right fabrics and in the hot new colors is always a challenge. Again, our design team does a great job of meeting the customer's expectations for what is "in" at the moment.
Q: What's the biggest design mistake people make when choosing a new lamp shade?
A: There is not one specific design mistake but usually people have a hard time getting the correct size or fitting for their particular lamp. Fitting a lampshade washer fitting on a harp with a finial can be tricky. The shade should not overwhelm the base but also must be long enough to cover all hardware at the top of the base. Correct measurements as to the width and height of the shade are very important in fitting the shade correctly.
Probably the other mistake that is made is that customers have a hard time deciding not only the size, but the shape and fabric that will best fit their décor. We have seen a huge demand for more neutral shades. We have tried to accommodate the customer with more neutral tones with some interest in the fabric (a nubby texture or a little embroidery) so that they feel more comfortable in matching with their personal décor.
Q: What's next for your company? Any new designs on the horizon?
A: We are always looking for the next "pet rock with a plug" as our owner is fond of saying. In this economic environment it can be perplexing to appear fresh and new and yet not fall into the craze of the latest fad that will not be around for long. We try to stay on top of the things we think will be more enduring. We love working with furniture stores and decorators for looks that will last but also love our line of novelty lamps that helped to build the company and that our gift store owners have come to depend on us to provide for them. We have had much success with horses, snowmen, roosters and all the fun shades that go with them!!
I just discovered Homestead's lamps and shades at a Primitive Craft Fair. I just love the patterns and shapes of the shades. I bought a small lamp and six shades for it since thay were all so adorable. Hope to see more of the products.
Carol, thanks for your comments and your interest in A' Homestead Shoppe. Look for additional shade designs from A' Homestead Shoppe on our website in mid-January of 2009. Thanks again!
I bought a darling A Homestead Shoppe lamp at Home Goods in Kirkwood, MO. However, I really need another one as I want them as my end table lamps next to my sofa. I have been trying to search the internet for one, but no success. The lamp stands about 24-30 inches tall, is barn red, has a columned base with a rooster about halway up the column. The shade is a medium beige with embroidered barn red roosters on it about every 4 inches. It is a spider shade with 3 legs-the base of the shade measures about 12 inches and the top is about 6 inches-the shade is about 10 inches deep. I would be so terribly happy to get this product, but I don't know where to start-Home Goods is usually a "one-time" opportunity. I have called stores in my area, but to no avail. Are you able to help me with this request? I would be so grateful to you.
Cindy - a customer service lighting associate will contact you about your question. It sounds like you may have purchased a lamp and not a lamp shade, but we should be able to help you track down the item. Thank you for your question and comment!
Hello! This may be an old post but I found you by putting in "AHSI" and A Homestead Shoppe.
We have 2 lamps we have inherited that I MAY have found out came from Homestead. They are the queen heart design and one is clear and one is the pink. I am having such a time figuring out the history on them and when they were made. When you go to their site you cannot get in to look at anything.
Can you help me in some way shape or form? I have pictures taken but don't know where to go with them. THANK YOU!
Hi Jason - Thanks for finding us. Unfortunately, we don't carry A' Homestead Shoppe table lamps, only lamps shades. What I can do is pass your comment on to our A' Homestead Shoppe company rep to see if they can help you. We'll post a comment here as well as send you an e-mail when they reply. Thanks again for the question!
Hi Jason - Cathy at A' Homestead Shoppe was kind enough to get back to us quickly on your question. Here's her response...
"Depending on what lamp he is asking about - we did it in two different variations. The LBK4 was a reproduction Sweetheart pattern with inverted bead design. It was 21" high and took a 12" chimney shade. It was glass.
The smaller version was the LAK7 and was the miniature version of the sweetheart design. I was 10 1/2" high and took a 6" chimney shade. It came in electric and non-electric versions.
They are both featured in a 1998 catalog but the #4 isn't even in our system anymore nor does our directory even have a picture of it in our archives."
Thanks for the interesting interview!
"countryopolitan" good word - allow me to second that! We have seen this trend in bedding as well. A number of people are starting to incorporate rustic, and country bedding and decor within their home. Good interview. Thank you.
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