Sweet Home Furnishings & clement on South Main Street, a veritable treasure trove of furniture, art, and accessories, is a collaboration between antique dealers John Bell and Chris Clement. The two joined forces more than 15 years ago to bring shoppers a unique experience, integrating their eclectic finds into cohesive vignettes rather than separating them out into individual booths.
Now, they’ve welcomed a third dealer to the store: Jen Bienvenu of J. Bienvenu Interiors. “She has such a great eye, and she started out as a good customer who gradually became a good friend,” Chris says. When he and John started to consider the possibility of a third dealer, the timing was just right for Jen to start selling finds of her own. “We’re so glad to have her; her taste is complementary to what we have in store, but she also has her own viewpoint,” Chris adds. “I’ve been shopping with Chris and John since we moved to Arkansas, and their style has definitely influenced my own aesthetic,” Jen says. “I’m very grateful to be part of their world.” Look for Jen’s contributions to the store—which range from classically designed furniture and upholstery to taxidermy and dried gourds—at 1324 S. Main St. in Little Rock.
In the meantime, we sat down with Jen to hear more about her favorite types of antiques, how she sources them, and what you can expect to find in this unique shop on South Main.
At Home in Arkansas: How long have you been sourcing antiques and other inspired objects?
Jen Bienvenu: Five years ago, when we were looking to furnish our first home in downtown Little Rock, I started sourcing larger pieces of furniture at auction. It’s always a thrill to see what I can pluck from the past to furnish a room.
AHIA: How would you describe some of the pieces you look for? Are there any specific styles or themes that drawn you in?
JB: I’m inspired by the natural world. I’m a big fan of bringing the outdoors in. This includes things like dried gourds, seasonal clippings, furniture made from horn or bamboo, taxidermy, and most recently a vacated hornets nest I found in someone’s garage. I’m always looking for classically designed furniture with clean lines and upholstery with tones we find most often in the natural world: greens, blues, browns, whites. I call this biophilic design and decorating. As humans, we have an innate need to be outside and connected to the natural world. And how fitting that I now reside in The Natural State.
AHIA: Tell us a little about how and where you source your finds.
JB: I source furniture and art at auction from all over the country, most recently from Connecticut, Maryland, and Los Angeles—but there are so many great finds here in Arkansas. You will always find me shopping at local estate sales. I’m also a road warrior and love traveling from Kentucky down through Texas to see what I can fit in my vehicle!
AHIA: What makes you most excited about having a physical shopping space, and housing it under this roof in particular?
JB: I’ve been shopping at Sweet Home and clement with Chris and John since we moved to Arkansas. The vignettes they create in the shop make me want to stay and hangout a while. And so, I do. Chris and John’s style has definitely influenced my own aesthetic. I’m very grateful to be a part of their world.
Follow along on Jen’s treasure hunts on Instagram (@j.bienvenu.interiors).
Photos courtesy of Jen Bienvenu. Headshot by Amy Campbell Photography. A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of At Home in Arkansas.