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June 2012
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A "Little bit of Joy"

Story by K.G. Anderson Photography by K.G. Anderson and Morgan Walker

If you are a lover of antique furniture and unique decor, there is a trove of treasures to be found in Paducah courtesy of Joy Lamon Walden. For 65 years Lamon Furniture and Antiques has been providing a "little bit of Joy" for antique lovers throughout our region.

If the assorted chairs and small tables setting in the sunshine in front of the store don't catch your attention, the unique items in their windows surely will.

Your first visit inside can be overwhelming as you try to look from one magnificent piece to the next. Each shelf, every nook and cranny has something that you'll want to touch and know more about.

Lamon's offers a large selection of antiques as well as traditional fine furniture including mahogany, walnut, Chippendale style, bedroom suites, dining room suites, occasional tables, chairs and much more.

This is a family business with a history as intriguing as the items it sells. It all began in 1951 when Joy's mother, Zelphia, had the entrepreneurial spirit and insight to fill a growing need created by Paducah's "atomic boom" (USEC). With the arrival of hundreds of construction workers, the people of Paducah were renting out every spare room, shed and extra space to accommodate the workers. This created a market for beds, chests, hot plates and other basic items. Zelphia had the forethought to fill those needs and started her own business, which was not the social norm for women. Her business continued to grow along with her family - baby Joy, her older sisters and brother.

Since then the store has moved to its current location on Sixth St., which at that time was a main street through Paducah. This insightful move by Zelphia led to the store's further success and longevity. Lamon's still remains a family business. Joy's sister Iris is the "picker" and their children and grandchildren are often pressed into service during their annual open house in November. And if you have ever been there shopping, you probably at one time or another met longtime employee Jerry Lewis, who has earned his place in the family.

To Joy, many of her customers are third generation. Many of them had grandparents and parents who bought family treasures from Joy's mother. Dawne Robertson is one of those whose mother was a regular.

"I remember playing with Joy as a young girl while my mother and aunt shopped."

The Robertson home is filled with "little pieces of Joy." A guest room proudly displays two twin hand carved mahogany beds dating back to the early 1800s which came from an estate in St. Louis. Other small pieces from Lamon's completed the room, including a petite make-up table from the 1850s. Dawne is proud to have inherited a beautiful secretary from the mid 1800s from her mother which was purchased from Joy's mother. It is one of her favorite pieces. Collections of antique inkwells, paperweights, impressive tortoise shells and other interesting items represent Dawne and Rob Robertson's extensive world travels.

Sue Chappell is also a "Lamon's fan," as were her mother and sister.

"We all love antiques," she said. "It's a family thing."

At the Chappell home there are so many special antiques it is hard to see them all. One of her latest purchases is a lovely petite art nouveau metal and glass table from the early 1920s. It is the perfect complement to an impressive Little Women original theatrical poster from 1913. An early Victorian Canterbury music holder graces her dining room. A vintage blue leather love seat is an item that came with a story about how Sue almost missed losing it to another customer. Walking through the Chappell home is like visiting a museum of American history thanks to her Lamon finds.

The joy of Lamon's can also be seen throughout the home of Bill and Susan Evans. After their move to Paducah, Susan found out her furniture didn't fit her new home. A good friend took her to Lamon's and as her decorating began she discovered her style was English Country. "I like things that are pretty and comfortable. The pieces I have bought have both history and soul. It is like decorating with stories from other peoples lives. " One of her favorite pieces is a pineapple design antique chandelier that graces her entryway. This began a search for matching chandeliers for her dining room and kitchen both filled with Lamon's treasures. As a table-scape decorator, she has an impressive collection of plates and table accessories stored in antique hutches and cabinets throughout her home.

Green Majolica plates are the perfect accent for the green rustic cabinet in her office which shows Susan's talent at combining formal, modern and rustic pieces.

A guest room filled with "Joy" features hand carved twin beds, chest and mirror making it warm and inviting place. "There is a little bit of Joy in every room." Susan said with a smile.

Antique lovers Nick and Johnna Lee DeJarnett round out my tour of Joyful homes. Johnna Lee's mother, like many others, was also a customer of both Joy and her mother. Even their 2-year-old son loves to roam through the store with his first outing coming at the age of 6 weeks.

The DeJarnetts filled their new home with furniture from Lamon's because they both enjoy the character and uniqueness of their pieces as well as the quality. Their living room is full of purchases including a fireplace screen, artwork, and other interesting items, each with their own story.

A metal and glass table featuring horned ram heads was one of those stories. Johnna Lee noticed the table and realized it was a table she played by as a child at a family friend's home. The friend's estate had sold heirlooms to Joy, and Johnna Lee was fortunate to acquire the table.

"I love that my son can now play at the same table that I did as a child," said Johnna Lee.

A hand carved and painted country French table adds a unique and warm feel to their kitchen. You are transported back to the 1920s when you enter their dining room, which features a beautiful 18th century styled hand carved table with modern parson chairs, and a ball and claw Chippendale style buffet and china cabinet.

Joy's customers are just as much friends as they are clients. They come to relax and visit. Joy looks forward to seeing each and every one of them. n

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