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Apple & Oak

From paint to poolside accessories, Apple & Oak makes buying home goods a hoot.

Written By:  Karen Parr-Moody

Photographers:  Lindsey Grace Whiddon

Apple & Oak, a charming slip of a store, injects playfulness into home décor. Opened in November 2015, the store joins a hodgepodge of independently owned businesses at The Shops at Porter East in East Nashville. The store’s owner, Allison Holley, stocksehr shop with what she likes: fun.

“I’m a fun person,” she says. “So, it just naturally comes into the shop.”

Included in the mix are pool must-haves from Australian company Sunnylife, which boasts it provides “all the tools required to create and embrace a sunny life.” Who doesn’t want a pool float shaped like a watermelon slice, ice cream cone, or pineapple? Love and Lion, a Nashville vendor, amps things up with stylish temporary tattoos. Germantown card company wink wink provides such gems as a fill-in-the-blank apology card that says, “I’m sorry I was a complete and total ______.” To boot, Holley has created barware festooned with naughtily clever sayings (that can’t be printed here).

Holley also gives vintage furniture new life via awesome shades of Fusion, an easy-to-use paint the store carries. Vintage chairs in Fusion’s Easter-egg shades hang on a wall, while larger painted pieces are sprinkled throughout the store. More classic ware includes an array of vintage Turkish rugs sold at reasonable prices, ranging from $300 to $1,200, which Holley gets from a contact in Turkey.  

“They’re among our most popular items,” Holley says. “They’re affordable, they’re vintage, and they’re authentic.”

The shop also features artworks from Nashville’s 1767 Designs, which uses wood sourced from historic Nashville homes that have been bulldozed. Artisans paint Southwestern and Art Deco style patterns on the wood for a look that’s both rustic and chic. Apple & Oak’s eclectic interior is sufficiently cozy while retaining an artistic vibe. This mood can be traced to Holley’s background as an elementary school teacher, fascinated by classroom design.

“Every time I would get a new classroom, I would remove all of the school furniture and bring in my own,” she says. “I would set it up more like a home or a coffee shop, instead of a school, with low coffee tables and pillows to sit around or high-top tables with bar stools. There were lots of different work areas for a more relaxed and engaging environment.”

When Holley got her graduate degree from Vanderbilt University, she knew her future was in classroom design. It’s something to which she will return, in addition to operating Apple & Oak. “I don’t really have this store set up like a traditional retail store,” Holley says. “And I like to change it around often and make it so that customers can see the items in use.”

Apple & Oak, 717 Porter Rd; appleandoaknash.com

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