120 EAST CALIFORNIA STREET
Jacksonville represents the fulfillment of a dream to those lucky enough to have found a cozy nesting space within the city limits—including business owners who long to set up shop in this historic community’s downtown.
Case in point: Adrienne and Pat Powers, proprietors of Quintessence Décor. They’d owned high-end shops of “elegant gifts and fine home décor” in California, and hoped to open a similar store in Jacksonville, but… “Nothing was available,” says Adrienne. “A location just didn’t open up.” Resigned, they opened a shop in Grants Pass. Then, one fateful night, a friend informed them that the 157-year-old brick building at 120 East California Street was available. “We looked at it,” she notes with a grin, “and two days later, it was ours!”
The couple opened Quintessence in Jacksonville the day after Thanksgiving 2016, with plans to remodel the building’s interior when that holiday season ended. This season, the work is completed, with stunning results that make a chic backdrop for the merchandise Adrienne loves to carry.
“We have a table from about 1820. And eighteenth century prints that I bought in London,” she says. “But we also have divans that are new. We carry new and old things because I want the store to have the look of a home. I don’t bring in any item thinking that someone might like it. If it doesn’t appeal to me, I won’t have it in my store.”
Adrienne began acquiring elegant furniture and furnishings while she accompanied Pat, then an international attorney, on business trips around the world. “Adrienne filled our house until there was no more room—but she couldn’t stop buying,” Pat says with a huge laugh. “She had to find a way to pass along the beautiful things she bought. So she established the store. I’m just the warehouse boy.”
“I love furniture, especially armoires,” Adrienne says. “When someone buys a good piece of furniture, they’ll have it for a lifetime, so it has to speak to them.”
Visitors will note the collection of animals, metal and ceramic, large and small, carefully positioned throughout (Adrienne has a particular fondness for replicas of chickens and other farm animals), along with lamps, decanters, and teapots. And mirrors. Lots of mirrors.
For Christmas, Quintessence carries spinning German glockenspiels, grand candelabras, and delicate angels. Freshwater pearl jewelry from the couple’s recent trip to Asia make exceptional gifts, as do the lovely “santos”—beautiful, classic French dolls. Adrienne has decorated several Christmas trees: a snowman tree, a gingerbread tree, and a silver/crystal tree, with ornaments for sale. And if the illuminated topiary bear in the window doesn’t win hearts, his shaggy buddy waiting inside—a life-sized, Christmas tree-toting bear—will.