574 Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, Mich.
The neighborhood where Diane Harris opened My House of Style in 2005 once housed Birmingham’s upscale art-gallery district. The large picture window filling the space with sunlight attracted Harris to her future storefront. “I wanted it to feel like you were coming into somebody’s home,” Harris says. “Customers come in and they stay. They become part of my family.” It’s easy to see why: You’ll notice a comfy chair, bright white cabinets, quietly elegant wainscoting, weathered wood floors, organic touches such as a tall bamboo plant, and a refined vintage buffet to serve as the checkout counter. The 1,200-square-foot jewelry store is something like Harris’ pied-à-terre in the city, and that’s exactly how she wants it.
Harris started her career at an American craft gallery, which offered a curated selection of handmade jewelry, pottery, and glass. She joined a fine jewelry store for her second decade of work, learning about high-end pieces, vintage collections, and custom-made work. An overnight realization that she wanted a store of her own turned into My House of Style. “You have to have a dream, incredible determination, and not a care that you’re going to lose a lot of sleep,” says Harris. Since then, she has helped suburban Detroiters pick out graduation gifts, then wedding presents, then baby gifts. Her clients range from young women looking for their first signature piece to mothers building up their collection of stacking rings to men seeking unusual watches and wallets. “I’m not your typical jewelry store, and I don’t want to be,” says Harris, who has a stable of about 100 rotating designers with works ranging in price from $50 to $5,000. “I’m for the woman who says she wants a distinctive piece—something you won’t see on anyone else at the party.”
Her eye leans toward organic shapes and untreated gems—designers such as Zoë Chicco, Hari Gems, and Meira T. She appreciates her artists’ natural approach, and the fact that many of them often design and manufacture each piece in home studios. “There are few to no alterations to what nature created. There’s integrity there. It feels as if it just came out of the earth,” Harris says, admiring one of Chicco’s pendants made of agate and champagne and black diamonds hung from a woven leather cord.
Accessories and More
Harris also procures items that go with a jewelry collection: vanity trays, ring holders, and jewelry boxes (“I sell hundreds of these,” she says of the slick lacquered boxes stacked on a wooden bookshelf). She adds home goods that also inspire her, including throws made of 100 percent recycled cotton from T-shirts. Jewel-colored mercury glass candleholders, key chains displaying cultural symbols of luck (clovers, horseshoes, and trowels) hanging from branch-like displays, cheeky monkey figurines, beaded trinket boxes—they all contribute to the store’s cozy, relaxing environment. Don’t forget to grab a Ring Pop, Hershey’s Kiss, or York Peppermint Pattie from the glass jars. “People tell me I’ve created a store where they feel comfortable buying for themselves or for others,” says Harris. “It is the most fun I’ve had in my life.”
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