Babbie Styslinger’s eclectic, almost flea market style has catapulted her 18th Street shops into customer favorites when it comes to finding the latest home décor options. For more than 20 years, she has influenced the interior design of homes across Birmingham and beyond—even if that means traveling to the other side of the world to find just the right item.
Babbie also strives to create just the right experience for customers. That means showcasing a diverse range of offerings that you can’t find anywhere else. It also means designing a space that isn’t just about shopping—it’s about exploring, finding a little happiness and, hopefully, something you just can’t live without.
Here, Babbie shares the secrets behind her success and her sought-after style.
Q: What led to the establishment of At Home Furnishings?
A: After growing up in Birmingham, I did a lot of traveling and saw so many cool furniture stores. I realized there were really no privately owned furniture stores here. That was the beginning of At Home Furnishings. Three Sheets started out of a need to dress the beds we were selling. There were no bedding stores in Birmingham that encompassed baby to adult, mid-range to high end.
Q: Can you describe the style of At Home?
A: There really isn’t a word for it. Eclectic. Modern. Traditional. We refer to it as flea market style a lot. Because we have such a diverse customer range, we try to have a mix of products to appeal to all of those customers. We want to create an experience. To me, that comes with different textures of products, the music, and smiling faces greeting and helping you.
Q: What’s your design philosophy?
A: Buy what you love. That’s how I feel about what’s in my own home. Buy the piece you love and find a spot for it. You should buy what tugs at your heart and makes you smile. And that’s what we try to do in our shops—help customers find things that make them happy. That’s what makes it so fun.
Q: What is your approach to selecting products for your shops?
A: I have no fear when it comes to bringing new stuff into the stores. I honestly buy what I love. I’m a very high-energy person so I’m always on the lookout for new things. On a trip to Vietnam, we found ponchos and some jewelry for the store. Carrying clothes and jewelry was entirely new for us, but it was so well received that we decided to expand the section, and now we have scarves, purses, and faux fur as well. That all started as an experiment with just a few items.
Q: Any design tips?
A: I like things to change and look sparkly and fresh. You can change the look of a bookshelf with simply a rock, a book, or a small piece of art.
Q: Any new developments going on with the stores?
A: We are working on a website that will include the best of At Home and Three Sheets. Hopefully, this will bring the essence of the stores together so customers anywhere can shop easily for items make them happy. We have so many customers who live out of town. I want everyone, regardless of where they live, to be able to bring happy changes into their homes.
At Home Furnishings • 2961 18th Street South, Homewood. 205-879-3510
Three Sheets • 2904 18th Stree South, Homewood. 205-871-2337
Interview by Paige Townley • Photos by Art Meripol