From the luxurious linen bedding, monogrammed hand towels and embroidered pillows to the white-washed brick walls, mirrored tables and crystal chandeliers, Heidi Kiffin's new Mis en Chic exudes comfort.
"Everybody says they want to live here," said Kiffin, who moved the showroom from Indian Rocks Beach to St. Petersburg in April. She had admired the building, which previously housed a luxury bridal boutique, for some time.
"I buy every single thing in here," she said. "Some are antique pieces, some are one of a kind."
Kiffin, who is the daughter of Monte and Robin Kiffin, came to the Tampa Bay area in 2004. (Her father was defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and now holds the same position with the Dallas Cowboys.)
Before that, she lived and studied in California, then spent seven years in France, near Paris.
"I always wanted my own store," she said. With her young son in school, the retail space evolved from her desire to furnish her own home with unique finds that blend elements of European style and coastal accents.
Her first shopping trip took her back to the French capital, where she filled a container ship with items she acquired in the city's famous flea markets. She searches furniture expos and antique markets throughout the United States. In some cases, beautiful things come to her, including the charming minuscule watercolors created by a German artist who vacations here.
"I have to express things visually," said Kiffin, who also provides design services and a bridal registry. "I try to find quality things no one else has."
That inventory may include tiny letterpress cards, a slip of a party dress or jewelry that features vintage medallions. There's a spacious table that holds stacks of tempting decor books.
Throughout the well-appointed boutique, there are eye-catching objects: Heirloom-quality intaglios. A substantial Italian armoire. A grand buffet. A circular cocktail table, lighted from within. A wreath of wrought-metal leaves. Clear glass Christmas tree ornaments that encase white feathers.
"Everything is beautiful in here," a visitor whispered to her friend as they browsed. "Even the candles are beautiful."
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Mis en Chic
1180 Central Ave.