Dreaming of Timeless Treasures

Posted on 04 October 2017

An antique store is a magical and romantic land where you can feel history and actually be a part of it. Sharon House Antiques is such a place for several reasons.

This store is located in one of Bainbridge’s oldest historical sites for it is in a building that was built in 1869 and once was a very popular stage coach stop, the Sharon House. Once inside the shop, you will feel like you have really stepped back in time for the brick walls have been restored to be just as they were when they defined the rooms of the hostel. You will also be surrounded by one of the best collections of antiques in southwest Georgia with Sharon Jeter as the proprietress. However, there is a story that will give you “goose bumps” and it involves fate and faith. The man who originally built the Sharon House was a Frenchman named John Sharon. Sharon Jeter is also French. Ironic, isn’t it.

However, Sharon did not grow up surrounded by antiques nor did she inherit her love for them from her mother for they were polar opposites when it came to style. Mom liked new, ultra-modern décor and furniture. Sharon’s tastes went towards the carved and more decorative aspects of the heirloom style. When asked how she came to own her on shop, Sharon eagerly shared the journey that took her from an inspired little girl, to where she is today.

Sharon believes that her love of antiques started when she was very young. While growing up in Miami, she went to an estate sale at a home with her Mom. From the time she entered the residence, she felt a strong stirring inside. Instantly, she was drawn to the furniture, the pictures and statuary as well as the exquisite chandeliers. Sharon could feel the stories and secrets just waiting to be discovered about each piece. This realization captured her young heart and the love affair began. “I believe that the love of antiques was inside of me,” tells Sharon, “and being in that wonderful house, just brought it out.”

Through the years, Sharon would talk of her dream of owning an antique shop. However, Miami began to change and not for the better. So, thirty years ago, Sharon and her husband, Jim,   came here to live and be by Jim’s family, which lives in Faceville. The years passed and Sharon raised five children and now is the proud grandmother of fifteen little ones. In the meantime, Sharon studied books, acquiring the knowledge that is needed to properly evaluate these older collectibles. However, the passion that she discovered at an early age continued to burn in her heart. At one time, she sold antiques from her house.

It was her daughter, April, who urged her to look into achieving her dream of having a shop where she could sell her antiques. The thought was a little daunting at first. However, Sharon reasoned that this was one of her dreams, and people always do their best when they follow their heart.

At first, she did trade shows in Tallahassee, but it was hard to keep loading and unloading the truck every time she went. Sharon knew that she had to go to that next step, getting her own shop. This was a sizeable undertaking. Sharon called upon her deep faith for guidance. “God helped me raise my five children and still find time to sell my antiques, paint, write poetry, do flowers and indulge in other hobbies. I prayed, and trusted in Him to lead me to the right decision.”

Her family was happy when she decided to give it a try. Excited, Sharon set out to find a shop in Bainbridge, and she did. Sharon rented a couple of rooms at J. Victoria, an antiques shop I’m sure many of you will remember.

However, Sharon still yearned to have her own house in which she could decorate it how she wanted and display her antiques. She wanted each to have a place where it would be a vignette of a fully decorated room with cozy displays of vintage paintings and lots of lights. A five thousand square foot, Victorian house went up for sale on the corner of Shotwell and Broad Streets. This was the perfect place for Sharon. She mentioned this house to a friend who also loved antiques. They could be partners in this venture. After much thought and prayer, they decided to take the plunge and buy the home. This became the antique shop, Veranda. There was much renovating to be done, inside and outside. It proved to be too much for the ladies to handle. Eventually, they had to sell. This was a heart wrenching decision and moving day was very emotional. Broken hearted, Sharon left in tears. However, she remembered that when God closes one door, He opens another.

Sharon went back to selling her antiques from her house. Then, one day, the owner of the building came to see her. He told her that he was renovating the Sharon House and heard that she was looking for a place to set up a shop. He wondered if she would be interested in his building. They talked and came to terms. Now, the store that she has in the Sharon House building includes everything that she ever wanted. Here, she has created a place where history lovers can come to browse, buy and enjoy these one of a kind pieces.

Sharon acquires most of her antiques at Florida estate sales. “There are many of these kinds of sales in Florida because there are many retired people there. When they pass on, their children put their belongings up for sale.”

When asked about how she chooses the items for her shop, she answered, “Usually, I know what I want when I go to a sale. However, if I see something I like, I get it. Also, if a customer is looking for something specific and I find it, I’ll get it for them.”

Some of her favorites are pieces made of burl walnut and anything French. Sharon smiles and admits to us, “Because I am part French, this style is a bit of an obsession for me.”

The knowledge of decorating and of antiques is not the only artistic talent that Sharon possesses. She creates all of the floral arrangements which are on display.

Then, there are her paintings, most of which are done in her favorite medium, watercolors. However, she has done a few paintings with oils.

Sharon also has quite a few wall size murals on her resume. Taking up this style of painting started when she found how much she enjoyed this by doing walls in private homes in Tallahassee. Locally, she has also painted murals in quite a few homes. There are a couple in her shop, too.

No wall is too big and Sharon has created art in public buildings. She has done a mural in a hotel in Moultrie and one in the chapel at the Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany. Also, amongst them, is the mural that she painted in the hallway of the Bon Air Hotel. Another, is at Faceville Baptist Church where she has been a member for around forty-five years. “This one was inspired by God,” Sharon tells us.

It came about when she was painting the wall in the church. She didn’t realize the subliminal message that she had included in this large work of art. Nothing was said until the picture was completed. Then a friend asked her about the faces which she had painted in the clouds. Not knowing what her friend meant, Sharon stepped back and took a look at her work. Her heart began to race as she saw the faces of seven men, each with his own cloud, who worked very hard for the church. Sharon tells us, “I did not plan or draw the piece out first. I just started painting.”

Sharon also writes poetry. An example of these word creations can be found on the back wall in her shop. It is the one that separates the back room from where, in the olden days was the kitchen for the stage coach stop. She has written close to four hundred other poems which she is assembling into a book that will also feature watercolor pictures that she has painted. These will be on pages in between the poems. “All of these talents are my gifts from God.”

What does Sharon see in her future? She is hoping to reopen that part of the building adjacent to her shop. It once was the stable for the stage coach horses. However, if all goes well, it will be full of antiques.

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