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Stop by Chelsea Harding’s new shop on any given day and it’s likely you’ll be greeted by the fresh scent of candles, lavender herbs, and—if you’re lucky, fresh baked cookies, sweet tea, and a friendly hello from her black lab named Jackson. The warm welcome is no coincidence. Farmhouse & Co., one of Rosedale’s newest additions, is the culmination of Harding’s dedication to hospitality, homemaking, and community.
Harding, who was was married at 20 and had two kids by the age of 21, developed an early knack for making a space feel like home on a budget. As her family changed residences, her savviness for making an ordinary space feel cozy and classy gained attention from friends and family. While she was busy raising two kids, design and decor was just a hobby—until recently.
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She and her husband purchased a 1940s farmhouse in Cherry Hills Village in fall 2013, right before it was scheduled for demolition. “It was red and had no porch and a horrible chain link fence. I convinced my husband to move to this little house—it’s like 1,000 square feet— I’ve got two teenagers, and no one could see my vision,” says Harding. Now, fully decked out (literally— she and her husband built a rustic front porch stocked with antique furnishings), Harding says she gets daily visits and compliments from passersby on the home.
Then one day, while driving down Downing Street near the University of Denver, Harding saw that a retail space was available. Motivated by her recent successes at her own home and in pursuit of her dreams, Harding signed a lease. A month later, Farmhouse & Co. was open for business.
The eclectic store is decorated warmly in hues of turquoise and white to complement the shelving units packed full of goodies. You’ll find aprons, candles ,dog bowls, stationary, one-of-a-kind antiques—on a recent visit, we spotted a small writing desk, fan, and French bottles—and much more. But you’ll likely never see the same thing twice. Harding doesn’t restock items; she simply finds something else she loves to take its place. Everything—from the antique pieces to the keychains—is hand-selected by Harding. “I’m just so excited about the whole thing,” she says. “Every day I walk in and I think ‘I love this place, I can’t believe it’s mine!’”
Aside from decor and knick-knacks, the shop also offers a small apothecary. Harding is a registered esthetician and founder of the nonprofit Humble Skin, which provides skin care for cancer patients and is operated by Parker Adventist Hospital (the program is currently on hold). The apothecary features around 15 herbs at any given time from a farm in Eugene, Oregon, which can be mixed to create teas, oils, and home remedies for a number of ailments. While Harding has labeled each herb with useful information and is in the store herself to answer questions, those searching for deeper insight into herbal healing can attend her course, Apothecary 101. Offered on the first Friday of every month to the first seven people who sign up via email, Harding throws down a blanket, lights some candles, and shares her knowledge of the herbs she carries.
That’s the hospitality you can always expect from Farmhouse. “It’s been a whirlwind, but so far it has gone really well,” says Harding. “People consistently say ‘You’re just like Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper.’ Because that’s kind of my style for what I created here—the short version anyway.”
If you go: 2391 S. Downing St.; Open Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.