A former customer of the charming a few doors down the street from his home, Mark Gaff jumped at the chance to become its owner. He’s turned this neighborhood fixture into a colorful décor-and-gift destination... and his dream workplace.
While he worked as a purchaser for a communications company and a manager at an advertising agency, Mark Gaff was never enthralled with the corporate world. “Interior design has always been a passion of mine for my whole life,” he says. “I used to rearrange my mother’s furniture when I was a kid.” A lifelong creative outlet has been refinishing and repurposing furniture. “That’s the part I really love,” he says. “Sometimes it’s just a slight modification—painting or refinishing it. And sometimes it’s taking it all apart and finding a new purpose. I love to take things and make something different out of them and make them great again.”
That’s exactly what he did with Crescent Hill Trading Company. “I had always loved the store and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be something to own a place like this?’ When the opportunity opened up, I wanted to take it in a little bit of a new direction and focus more on home interiors, the part that I love.” That love is evident in a store filled with carefully-curated, one-of-a-kind items that you won’t see anyplace else. Those include pieces from across the globe and down the block, new and vintage, repurposed and not.
“My home is eclectic and my store is too,” says Mark.
“I’m a firm believer that there are great things from every period, every part of the world."
"There are beautiful things from Africa, Asia, India. I like things that are made well and have good lines to them—pieces that people will see in your home and say, ‘Wow.’” His desire to deliver the unique was cemented by his first foray into personal home décor. “I was decorating my first home when I was around 30. And I had my first party and someone walked in and said, ‘I love that couch! I just bought it too.’ I was crushed.”
So, in the wonderfully diverse merchandise dotted around his cozy shop, there are no duplicates and very few safe basics. “This is not necessarily the place to go for a basic dresser—although I may occasionally have one.” It is the place to go for pieces—big and small-- that make a room. And for gifts and accessories that won’t be duplicates-- including soy candles, art napkins, pillows, ornaments and tableware. “If you really want to find something that nobody else is going to get, this is the place,” he says. “We have little treasures that would be great gifts.”
For the intrepid, there are more treasures to unearth in his basement space which he calls “the Rabbit Hole.” It’s filled with an assortment of diamonds in the rough and overflow finds often at a great price. Says Mark, “It’s the place to visit if you’re looking for a fun project.” Sticker shock isn’t a problem upstairs either. While some larger pieces fall around $1,000, many are priced under $100. For instance, an end table might run around $75. Crescent Hill Trading Company is a place where décor is approachable and unintimidating.
His helpful team can even transform the furniture in your home. “I have wonderful people working with me. Brenda Wessling, who used to own Making Ends Meet in Shelbyville, does the upholstery and Jerry Thomas does the refinishing and repurposing.” Either one can tweak pieces on the floor in the shop or work with customers to turn old pieces into their new favorites.
Custom services and delightful finds are what sets this gem of a store apart. “I want people to come to my store to find finishing touches for their décor or inspiration for their holiday decorating and gift giving,” says Mark. “I want them to find conversation pieces, the pieces that make their homes unique.”
IF YOU GO
Crescent Hill Trading Company is located at 2720 Frankfort Ave. Call (502) 896-6110 for more information.