Visitors to Stenella Interiors discover an abundance of high-quality, American-made furniture, as well as invaluable benefits such as complimentary interior-design expertise.
by Bill Donahue

Charles Dobbs loves seeing the looks on people’s faces as they step through the door of Stenella Interiors for the first time. Many are in awe of the jaw-dropping variety and quality of American-made furniture from upper-echelon manufacturers on display at the Lansdale-based showroom. 
“People come to us because they have a love of quality, and they often come to us for those manufacturers that are harder to find,” says Charles, head of visual merchandising at Stenella Interiors. “Some people are buying whole rooms full of furniture, and some are building a collection over time. No matter what they’ve come to us for—a single piece of furniture or a whole room—I like to jump right in and help out so they can find exactly what they’re looking for.”
Charles likes to build a relationship with each customer, using his keen eye, perceptive ear, and more than 20 years of experience in interior design to help clients find exactly what they are looking for, even if they don’t quite know what they seek. In fact, he says customers often go from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the showroom’s offerings to feeling overjoyed at how easily things come together.  
“You have to be able to listen to people and understand what they have in their home, and then understand what it is they hope to accomplish,” says Charles, who divides his time between assisting clients and dressing the showroom. “I don’t like to ask people about specific pieces of furniture they’re looking for, because that feels too much like high-pressure sales. But if I can put people at ease by having them tell me about their space, what is working for them and what isn’t, I can guide them through the different styles, designs, and budgetary considerations.”
Although most people visit Stenella Interiors—or its sister location, Stenella Antiques, in Perkasie—with the idea of purchasing something classic, Charles has found each client applies the use of classic furniture in a different way. Some are looking to round out an eclectic environment that also includes contemporary textiles and furnishings, while others want to add to an existing collection of traditional furniture. Some people simply need guidance on how to use these items with a fresher, more youthful application, or which pieces of traditional furniture can add a distinctive layer or tone to a more classic environment.
That’s where Charles and the rest of the Stenella team come in. 
“I’m here to offer people sage advice for proportion, style, and value,” he says. “Our Lansdale location is set up differently than our Perkasie location; whereas Perkasie has a bit of a warehouse feel, Lansdale offers more of a showroom experience. The greatest value of shopping at Stenella is that we have a staff that knows so much about furniture and manufacturers. We want people to come in and engage us, tell us what their room looks like, and what their goals are. We’ll take it from there.”

Changing the Game
Having someone with Charles’ background and experience is of tremendous value to clients, according to Jim Stenella, the owner of both Stenella locations. 
“Charles has really changed the game for us,” he says. “People now have the opportunity to come in and benefit from the expertise of an interior-design professional who has been in the field for more than 20 years, and that expertise comes at no cost to the customer. Whether it’s walking people through a project or simply steering them in the right direction, Charles adds a whole new dimension to our business.”
After all, Charles can guide homeowners through each of the two showrooms, spanning a total of 50,000 square feet, to peruse the inventory of fine, handcrafted furniture from American and international manufacturers. The showroom specializes in exquisitely made furniture in the 18th century traditional styles through midcentury and modern design. Key brands include Baker, Councill, D.R. Dimes, Eldred Wheeler, Henkel Harris, Henredon, Karges, Kindle, Kittinger, Stickley, and many more top-quality brands.
“We have a lot of different styles of furniture here,” Charles says. “The brands we carry might be known for classic furniture, but it’s not all formal, and it’s not all 18th century. We also have a range of contemporary furniture for someone who might be looking for something more trendy or casual. The one common thread that connects everything we sell is the quality and craftsmanship.”
Stenella says East Coast-based TV production studios in need of distinctive pieces for shows such as House of Cards, Madam Secretary, and The Prodigal Son, as well as several Netflix originals and projects from other production studios, often purchase furniture from Stenella’s two locations. Likewise, owners of high-profile restaurants in the Philadelphia suburbs and across the country—Jose Garces among them, for Stella, his new restaurant in New Hope—rely on Stenella to furnish their establishments. In addition, local Realtors often come in to buy or rent furniture for home-staging purposes.
No matter the need, there’s much more than meets the eye at Stenella Interiors, which often works with key manufacturers to custom order pieces for clients. The showroom also provides a host of complementary services, such as custom upholstery and custom painting/gilding, as well as a wide range of accessories, such as lighting, rugs, and decorative art. For those in need of in-home delivery, either in the Greater Philadelphia Area or across the country, Stenella Interiors provides that level of service, too.
Charles suggests visitors go online before stopping by either location, as Stenella’s two websites— and—feature the entire inventory. 
“Our online presence is extremely helpful, because it gives shoppers an upfront idea of what’s available, and it also provides an idea of what to expect in terms of price point,” he says. “As fine as all of our furniture is, there are some incredible bargains to be had for someone who likes a great deal. The other thing to remember is that we have a lot of different styles and categories, such as upholstery, lamps, artwork, mirrors—you name it.” 
Still, Charles says people are usually quite surprised by the treasures they find once they start walking around the showroom.
“In many cases we’re offering the best merchandise from around the world at the best possible price,” he says. “Maybe it’s closed-out furniture or something pre-owned or something that we’ve been able to purchase from a manufacturer at a particularly good price. If you want a brand new table, we can offer that at a competitive price, too. That’s the model that Jim Stenella has been able to create, and that’s what makes us so unique.” 

Stenella Interiors
800 W. 2nd Street
Lansdale, Pa.
(267) 222-8926

Stenella Antiques
104 S. 2nd Street
Perkasie, Pa.
(215) 453-8490

Photograph by Nina Lea Photography

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, August 2019.