Home Décor and Design Center in Andover

Paula Bakies brings a touch of home décor magic to the North Shore with Acorn Design Center.



Photos by Sarah Tamilio

Whether you are a homeowner in search of a new piece of furniture or a designer in need of resources to show your clients, Acorn Design Center located on Essex St. in Andover is the perfect place to start. Since the store’s opening in December, it has been booming with clients who are drawn to the company’s professional and fun atmosphere. Upon entering the store, you can expect a warm welcome by Paula Bakies, the owner and founder of the company.

The shop itself feels inviting and fresh. Each section is designed as a vignette, serving as a snapshot of a section of a home. In one corner, you can sit in a staged living room and feel as if you are lounging around in your dream house with friends and family. In another corner, you can find inspiration for your child’s bedroom or imagine yourself cozying up with a book under lamplight in a plush armchair. In the back section of the store, a dining room table is set to match the season, making it tempting to picture your own family sitting around the table for a holiday meal.

Perhaps even more impressive than the shop’s beautifully designed layout and presentation, is the way that the company is run. Paula Bakies’ craftsmanship is seamless, both as a designer and as a businesswoman. She offers customers the full design experience, from start to finish, and makes sure that clients feel comfortable and satisfied with the results. “I want to offer customers great quality at a great price point,” she says.

Paula grew up in Reading, MA, and from a young age, her mother had her and her siblings rearrange and repurpose window drapes around the house. This early exposure to design and working with fabrics sparked Paula’s knack for home decorating, which stayed with her over the years. Paula attained an engineering degree from UMASS Amherst and did not initially plan on making a career out of her interior design hobby. However, when a friend of hers needed window treatments done in her home, Paula offered to help and discovered that by combining her knowledge of math and artistry, she had the start of a business on her hands. 

Thus, Paula began her business out of the basement of her home on Acorn Dr. in Andover 1992. In 2010, she opened up a workshop where clients and designers could come browse her selection of fabrics and window treatments. Due to popular demand, she expanded her business into a full-blown fabric library for designers; this library has since been even further expanded into what is now known as the Acorn Design Center. Paula says that her goal was to fill a niche in the furniture business that she felt it was lacking, and that is exactly what she has been doing.

In order to keep up with the latest trends and designers, Paula travels to home and gift shows around the country to scope out unique finds that she thinks her customers will love. She says that attending these shows, her most recent trips being to New York and Georgia, is the best way to “figure out who’s good, who’s not, and what you want in your space.” She strives to feature “things that are different that you’re not going to find anywhere else.”

Acorn is the place to go if you are looking for a personal, unique, and fun design experience. All of the items on display are for sale, furniture is customizable and can be shipped quickly, and all drapery work is hand-sewn by Paula herself.  Stop by to say hi to Paula and browse this little gem of a shop, you certainly won’t be disappointed. 

Visit acorndesigncenter.com