There’s a new forth to be reckoned with in the popular retail district in Webster Groves: Forth and Home, a modern and vintage home goods boutique, opened in early November in the former Union Studio space (which recently moved three doors down) at 8137 Big Bend Blvd.
The walls of the brightly lit retail shop are lined with tall shelves bursting with a mix of modern pieces and vintage treasures, as well as larger furniture items and handmade, one-of-a-kind rugs and other new home accessories.
The vibe of the shop is sunny, inviting, magical and whimsical, as are the goods offered. There are textile things (linens, hand towels, napkins, table runners, throw pillows, blankets), hosting things (serving platters, dishware, candlesticks) and eye-catching things (mirrors, art prints and framed art, lighting, cards and gifts). Bigger furniture pieces like dining tables, tufted chairs, side tables, Moroccan poufs and coffee tables fill out the middle of the space.
“I want to be an accessible resource for the community to help create a space that they love, that’s a reflection of them, that they want to be in and bring other people into,” says founder Amy Kuntz.
Kuntz knows the story behind every item in her shop, from the array of rugs on the floor all the way up to the woven hanging baskets that adorn the walls. The latter, for example, are sourced from a company called Amsha that provides fair-wage jobs and resources to the East African craftsmen who weave the gorgeous and functional baskets. Thoughtful sourcing, including a focus on sustainability and the way products are made, as well as a company’s larger mission and values, is a driving force behind Kuntz’s curations for Forth and Home. Currently, she’s a one-woman show and spends any free time attending estate sales, networking and researching brands and companies to fill out her shop.
“I really do love both vintage and modern, and I think the store is a reflection of me at this moment – my style and the brands and the things I love,” Kuntz says. “I want to highlight the unique history behind the older, vintage furniture pieces that have been passed from home to home and then combine that with housewares that are new.”
This isn’t Kuntz’s first foray into retail or, more specifically, new and secondhand furniture and accessories. Kuntz was a former co-owner of Seta, a marketplace featuring goods from three local businesswomen, which opened in St. Louis’ Shaw neighborhood in October 2019 before being shuttered within six months due to COVID-19. Kuntz considered taking Oh Hey Aim – her third of Seta – online, but instead chose to spend more time with her 1-year-old foster son.
Serendipitously, almost a year later, in September 2021, within just a few days of saying goodbye to her then-almost-2-year-old, Kuntz was signing a lease on what would become Forth and Home. This was just a few weeks after driving by and reaching out about a “For Lease” sign on the storefront, which she’d visited many times in its Union Studio iteration. Her vision for Forth and Home was exactly what the owners had in mind, and before she knew it, the lease was signed, the space became available, shelves were stocked and doors were officially opened by November.
In its month-long existence, the modestly priced art prints, olive wood tapas trays and investment-worthy rugs have quickly become top sellers. The former range in price from $28 to $42, and Kuntz displays them with complementary textiles and pieces of furniture, so customers can easily envision them on their own walls. Kuntz is also excited about her collection of vintage, handmade, one-of-a-kind Persian and Turkish rugs, each a high-quality heirloom piece passed down for generations and ranging in price from $200 to $2,000. For rugs and other larger pieces, Kuntz is more than happy to work with customers’ requests, color preferences and space restraints to seek out specific items to round out their home.
For the current season, Forth and Home is offering a curated selection of gift items for quick options right before the holidays, and in 2022, the goal is to get an online shop up and running. More than anything, Kuntz aims to help you feel welcomed and inspired to welcome others, not just at home but carrying that sentiment throughout everyday life.
“Forth is the idea that we go forth out of our home into the world – into our jobs, to our purpose and our mission – and then home is the place we come back to that’s ours, where, hopefully, we feel safe and known and accepted and loved, and then we extend that sentiment to all the people who pass through our doors,” Kuntz concludes. “Helping people create that space is Forth and Home in a nutshell.”