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An Eclectic Treasure Hunter Lends a Vintage Touch to Modern Homes A California transplant helps the past come alive for patrons of her small-town Tennessee antiques store.

By Margaret Littman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Two of the most significant artifacts in Alexandra Cirimelli's 3,000-square-foot antiques store are not for sale. Yet they may be the best reflection of both the Leiper's Fork, Tenn.-based Serenite Maison's aesthetic and Cirimelli's respect for things that have gone before.

On the front-door frame are horizontal lines with names and dates marking the heights of the neighborhood kids who have wandered in. To the right is a corner with antique guitars, banjos and mandolins. Over the years this 1914 building has served as everything from a general store to a gas station to a hair salon, and there has always been a place for locals to strum. Most shops with costly instruments on display wouldn't allow just anyone to pick them up and play, but for Cirimelli, the functionality of an antique is part of what contributes to its value as an objet d'art.

Cirimelli, an interior designer, and her husband, a music producer, relocated to this bucolic town from California in 2003. She opened Serenite Maison as a way to continue to offer clients her chic, history-inspired designs.

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