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Jacksonville's Terra Firma

has solid ideas for giving rooms imagination and personality

JACKSONVILLE — When you don't know how you really want to furnish and decorate your home, go to Terra Firma, say Marc and Krissy Millner. You just might be on the verge of spontaneity.

They want you to resist the urge to be ordinary and take the big leap into the impulsive, the imaginative, even the slightly loopy.

— — — BUSINESS CARD

Business name:

Terra Firma.

Product:

retail home — furnishings, accessories, garden adornments.

Location:

135 W. California St., — Jacksonville (across from Bella Union).

Phone:

899-1097.

In business:

since 1993; home — furnishings started June 2000.

Owners:

Marc and Krissy Millner — (plus two silent partners).

Hours:

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday — through Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 — p.m. Sunday.

Web site

(takes orders): —

Take things like coffee tables cobbled together from rough, old window sashes and modern bronze legs.

Then add a splash of pottery barn and framed Italian prints accented by faux-antique pendulum wall clocks and cabinets built of stressed, old antique wood so they don't have that uniform showroom sheen.

Personality, not pedigree — that's what our clients want, said Krissy.

These furnishings have flaws. They're like us — not perfect, said customer Heather McGregor, Medford. I haven't seen this style — I'd call it British Colonial or Plantation Southern — anywhere in the Rogue Valley. Only in big cities. My whole house is furnished in Terra Firma.

The Millners have placed the furnishings upstairs above their gadget and gift shop. They closed the sandwich bar, sold their old marble soda fountain to Jacksonville Drug and created a jumble of decorative furnishings in the 700-square-foot loft. Krissy painted the fir floor in harlequin diamonds and the wall in taupe and cream.

We've set up a variety of styles in this space so you can visualize what things might look like in your home, said Marc, but if people need to take it home and try it, we put things out on approval and deliver it free.

The Millners are committed to making their furnishings not only eye-grabbing conversation pieces, but practical and durable as well, said Marc. Heading up the furniture line is an assortment of slip-covered sofas and chairs because people have kids and pets and it just makes it a lot easier to pop it off and take it to the dry cleaners, he said.

At Terra Firma, you can pick up foot-high Javanese puppets, faux-pressed flowers framed with a botanical description, hand-painted Moroccan goatskin lamps and sconces, decorative wooden Chinese lunch boxes, framed and painted antique ceiling tiles and antique-looking, 7-foot-high teak cabinets.

We're the sleeper in the valley, said Krissy. We haven't done a lot of advertising yet. The store has an intimate, romantic feel that takes you beyond everyday life. We've got a group of clients who love what we do. And we have a range of prices and like to cater to all income levels and tastes.

The Millners go to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and New York on their buying trips, ferreting out unusual makers of treasure such as the scrollwork mirrors with shelves made by a couple in Big Bear, Calif., or the Venus de Milo bust from J. Joseph in Portland.

It inspires me, said customer Laurie Dunlap of Medford. It's not the normal furniture store. It's very updated like a big-city store. You can envision your room looking like this. It's what everyone wants.

Jacksonville's Terra Firma