Veranda to showcase modern living accessories

Black walls and fluorescent lighting has given way to a bright and airy setting at the Johnson-Childers Building on the corner of East Main Street and Riverside Avenue.

The 110-year-old brick building, named for its two builders J.O. Johnson and Guy Childers, is morphing into a home decor shop called Veranda slated to open this month.

Hazel Allen Barry, who has operated home decor and gift stores in Brookings since 1999, will run the 3,000-square-foot shop with her husband, Jim.

The casual living store is modeled after her At the Sea, carrying accent furniture, lamps, rugs, framed art, mirrors, dinnerware, glassware, table linens, throw rugs, baskets, candles, body care items, books, cards, baby gifts and garden accents. The shop will also carry antiques and vintage items.

Barry's south coast enterprise expanded rapidly, adding Beach Babies for infants and Sea Weeds, a dress shop. She says at least a third of her customer base was from the Rogue Valley and Klamath Basin.
She toyed with At Home concepts before ultimately settling on the Veranda name.

It represents a style, she said, between inside and outside where casual living takes place.

Hazel Barry earned an interior design degree from the University of California-Santa Barbara and is a certified kitchen designer. She owned a design business in Ventura, Calif., prior to moving to Oregon. Jim Barry has a business degree from Brigham Young University, was a stockbroker and later worked for Lithia Toyota.

The Barrys wanted a building with a history, preferably downtown in the urban renewal district. When they saw previous tenant Beyond Comics' liquidation sale signs, the Barrys pursued a lease from present owners Caroline and Skip Bessonette.

In the past two years, the Bessonettes have spent &

36;250,000 refurbishing the building whose past is varied in use and name.

In 1901 the Knights of Pythias bought it. Charles C. Furnas occupied part of the building ' first as a tenant ' from 1919 into the 1950s. He then purchased the building from Eleanor B. Hall and Olive Alberta Hall in 1946. Furnas, Medford's mayor from 1937 to 1940, ran a tire business out of part of the building.

A cafe known as The Shack shared the building from the 1930s into the 1950s beneath upstairs apartments. In 1954, the building was remodeled to house the Wainscott Drug store. In the intervening decades, Grandma's Christmas Corner, Luby's Sports, Arty Shirts and Music Head all called the site home.

Harold Wainscott and Harold Hulse formed H&H Properties and acquired the building in the 1950s. Hulse bought the building from his partner in the 1960s. Caroline Bessonette inherited the property after her parents' death.

Modern Living at Home"
Business CardName: VerandaBusiness: Home decorLocation: 322 E. Main St., MedfordHours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon-Sat.Scheduled opening: Late MarchPhone number: 282-9710Owners: Hazel and Jim Barry