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Workshop Inc.

J. Seitz & Company

Susan Silver Antiques

Hudson Antiques Dealers Assocation

Cashmere Hudson

One Mercantile

Basilica Hudson

Cupboards and Roses

To Market, To Market: Holiday Shopping In the RI Region

November 28 is Small Business Saturday, which, despite its American Express origin, has sort of become the antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But really, buying locally from businesses on the smaller side is an all-year-round practice in the Rural Intelligence region. And in the leadup to the holidays, it’s just a lot more fun, especially when you’re shopping at a fair or festival; it’s all about community.

To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the many holiday “mall-turnative” opportunities (moniker courtesy of MacKimmie Co.) in the region. Don’t forget to bring your own bags.

Berkshire County

November 27-29 and December 5-6, Pittsfield: Hancock Shaker Village

You are sadly mistaken if you think the only thing to buy here are the famous Shaker oval boxes — although they are all uniquely handmade and pretty fab. The end-of-season sale in the village store offers deep discounts on most merchandise including the boxes, foodstuffs, basket-making kits, and other Shaker-inspired wooden items.
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA
(413) 443-0188

December 5, Monterey: The Monterey Library
The library’s Knox Gallery will host an artists/makers sale by some of Monterey’s most popular creatives. Meet the artists and peruse earrings by Maureen and Michael Banner, baskets by Wendy Jensen, pottery by Ellen Grenadier, fabric and decorative pillows by MaryPaul Yates, and art by Joe Baker and Julie Shapiro.
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
425 Main Road, Monterey, MA
(413) 528-3795

December 5-6, Pittsfield: The Handmade Holiday Festival
Alchemy Initiative presents its 7th annual curated holiday market. As it’s changed its location from year to year, it seems also to have gotten larger, and now features nearly 50 contemporary artisans and food producers offering things you’ve never seen before and items you didn’t know you needed.
Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Paterson Field House at Berkshire Community College
1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA

December 5-6, Stockbridge: Berkshire Botanical Garden Holiday Marketplace
Here you’ll find one-of-a-kind Christmas decorations, gifts by local craftspeople and artisanal food vendors. This year, there will be a gift basket station so you can create your own personalized holiday presentations using wares from regional vendors. And you don’t have to pay the Garden’s admission fee just to enjoy the Marketplace.
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
5 West Stockbridge Road, Stockbridge, MA
(413) 298-3926

December 11-13, Pittsfield: Shire City Sanctuary Holiday Shindy
The 10th annual Holiday Shindy is a juried sale featuring more than 50 of the region’s most notable makers of fine and original crafts and artisanal food products, and will include screen-printers, textile artists, soap makers, jewelers, potters, woodworkers and others. It’s held in the Shire City Sanctuary, a former church. (Be honest: can you resist an event called a Shindy?)
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA
(413) 236-9600

Columbia County

Now-January 2, Hudson: Cashmere Popup Shop
We write about this every year, because one can’t own too much cashmere, and because you can’t beat the prices at this sale of top-of-the-line, deeply discounted cashmere scarves, throws, wraps, women’s and men’s sweaters, and scores of gloves and knit caps.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Fridays and Saturdays open until 7 p.m.
535 Warren Street, Hudson, NY

November 27-28, Claverack: Traditions Linens Factory Outlet Thanksgiving Traditions Sale
We wrote about the Traditions Linens Labor Day sale, and heard that the place was packed. So expect the same as you save on linen napkins, cotton sheet sets, stonewashed coverlets, terry towels and much more. The company’s Facebook page says these are the lowest prices of the year. We’re so there.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
29 Route 9H, Claverack, NY
(518) 851-3975

Photo: Hannah Ray Taylor

November 27-29, Hudson: Basilica Farm + Flea
In only its third year, this market is fast becoming the Big Kahuna of Black Friday alternative shopping. In collaboration this year with the Hudson River Exchange, the event offers quality products from a diverse group of about 125 regional makers, farmers, chefs and vintage collectors in a building that’s pretty vintage and fabulous itself. New this year: expanded tastings and educational workshops, as well as an exciting expansion on the “Flea” component of the market – a special concept space featuring even more collectors and collaborators.
Friday 2-5 p.m., with a Black Friday Soirée from 5-9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Basilica Hudson
110 Front Street, Hudson
(518) 822-1050

Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 5- 6, Spencertown Spencertown Academy Arts Center Handmade Holiday Pop-up Shop
It’s back this year by popular demand, which tells you something about this curated sale featuring cards, ceramics, jewelry, quilts, cutting boards, knitwear, felted puppets, fired glass, baskets, paper crafts and edible delicacies made by Columbia, Ulster and Berkshire county residents.
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
790 Route 203, Spencertown, NY
(518) 392-3693

Dutchess County

November 28, Pine Plains: Le Shopping @ Stissing House
Eat, then shop, or the other way around; it’s all good at the Stissing House, where local artists and artisans will be presenting new creations.
11 a.m.-7 p.m.
7801 South Main Street, Pine Plains, NY
(518) 398-8800

Litchfield County

Nov. 27-28, Kent: Kent Holiday Champagne Stroll
The Kent Chamber of Commerce bills the event as “the benchmark for all holiday strolls,” and considering the Champagne that will be flowing, the billing might be accurate. Thirty shops will be serving 30 Champagnes and bubblies along with special promotions and sales. Strollers begin by visiting The Swift House to purchase a champagne flute and receive a map of the evening’s events. 
5-8 p.m.
Check in at The Swift House, 12 Maple Street, Kent, CT
(860) 592-0061

November 27-29, New Milford: Local Artists Craft Show
If you’ve been reading RI lately, you know New Milford is a creative hotspot, and here’s further proof. Returning artists include Don Turner (photography), Linda Banks (Banks Glass Studio), Celeste Belemare (fibers), Reese Piper (Ridge Runner Soaps), Bern Richards (gourd & feather art), Rob Wotzak (blacksmith) and Cynthia Battista (jewelry). New this year is potter Jan Lesnikoski (Moss Farm Studio). A portion of the proceeds are donated to The Animal Welfare Society of New Milford.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
New Milford Railroad Station.
11 Railroad Street, New Milford, CT

Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6: The Christmas Shoppe at the historic Merwinsville Hotel
The historic 1843 hotel located in the Kent, Sherman and New Milford area has a fascinating history as one of the last of the trackside station hotels east of the Mississippi. Now a nonprofit organization in the middle of a substantial renovation, it’s hosting its second year of holiday weekend activities. Baked goods, chili, Christmas trees, wreaths, and local artisans’ work will be available amidst the decorations and displays.
10 a.m.-7 p.m.
1 Brown’s Forge Road, Gaylordsville, CT
(860) 350-4443

Dec. 5-6, Salisbury/Lakeville: Holiday Artisans Market (Part 1) at the White Hart Inn
Produced by the Artisans Group, a collective of artists from the tri-state area, this is the 11th annual event. Shoppers can choose from jewelry, pottery, organic skin care, wood and leather goods, fiber arts, gourmet food and more.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
White Hart Inn
15 Undermountain Road, Salisbury, CT

Dec. 12, Falls Village: Holiday Artisans Market (Part 2) at the Center on Main
The tri-state artisans bring their arts and craftworks to NW Connecticut, this time to Falls Village. See listing directly above for items offered at the market.
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Center on Main, Falls Village, CT

There are more shopping opportunities in our Shopping Intelligence listings.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/22/15 at 12:51 PM • Permalink

HGS Home Chef: A Center For Foodies In Hillsdale

By Jamie Larson

He’s both a metropolitan interior designer and a rural shopkeeper, but Matthew White also is a master at balancing seemingly disparate styles. The owner of the Hillsdale General Store has embarked on yet another endeavor, converting an 1870s Victorian in the heart of Hillsdale, New York into a grand yet approachable kitchenware store. Not only can White coexist in two worlds, he can bring them together.

In a pink house with white gingerbread trim, HGS Home Chef sits across the street from its more demurely elegant mother-shop, the Hillsdale General Store (HGS). Where White’s now four-year-old HGS is an exercise in rural refinement, the appearance of Home Chef sings with a high-style confidence more akin to the work of White’s design firm White Web, or his personal palazzo in Hillsdale, where he lives with husband Thomas Schumacher, president of the Disney Theatrical Group.

To White’s great credit, the brightness isn’t over the top or even historically inaccurate to the style of Victorian paintjobs of the 19th century. Bold colors follow you into the house as well but never cudgel you. While you shop, White’s use of vibrant green walls only helps to highlight the amazingly restored building, which had previously been broken up into apartments and had serious structural issues. The experience of browsing the store’s thoughtfully curated wares is greatly enhanced by the work White put in to saving a structure important to the town and relevant to the architectural history of the region.

“I chose the color because I thought it expressed the character of the house,” White says, sitting in the stately upstairs dinning room. “Also, being a kitchen store, it kind of looks like a petit four. It all has to relate to food and appetite. I wanted to make it the most beautiful kitchen store you’ve ever walked into.”

Along with a selection of high-quality tools, appliances, dishware, linens and cookbooks, Home Chef also has two sleekly styled, fully functional, modern country, model kitchens. Anyone would love to cook here and Home Chef allows you to do just that. At this point it should come as no surprise that the cooking classes and cookbook events at Home Chef are exceptional, featuring some serious names of the food world. Upcoming events include food royalty Martha Rose Shulman, Madhur Jaffrey and Alana Chernila.

“I wanted the kitchens to feel like your dream kitchen,” White says, noting that most cooking classes are in sterile, overly lit, pseudo-industrial kitchens. “Taking a class here is like a vacation. It’s a complete experience. You learn but you do it in a space that’s beautiful.”

The schedule of classes is impressive and more are added regularly. It’s obvious from the way he discusses the business and the house he’s saved that White feels a strong desire to share the experience with his guests and his town. 

Even with all it has going for it, you may be thinking HGS Home Chef is a risky endeavor. Opening his general store in the rural hamlet seems to make logical sense to an outsider, especially since White owns the building, which also houses the delicious Cross Roads restaurant, an architect’s office and art gallery. But committing to a high-end specialty store, off the side of a busy road? For White, Hillsdale is the perfect place — he’s just off the Taconic Parkway, accessible to patrons from the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires.

“I have a motto I follow for all my Hillsdale endeavors,” White says, “‘World class but low key.’ That is how many business owners in Hillsdale do things. We are not Hudson with its distinctly urban bent, and we are not Great Barrington with its elegance and history. I love both of those places (a lot), but in Hillsdale we are a very different animal. Truly and unquestionably rural, very connected to the land and yet with an expansive view. That’s Hillsdale and that is what I am expressing with both of my businesses here.”

HGS Home Chef
2635 Route 23, Hillsdale NY
(518) 325-7000
Open Wednesday—Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Tuesdays.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 10/11/15 at 12:59 PM • Permalink

In Keeping With Traditions Linens, The Labor Day Outlet Sale

If you love luxury linens, you already know Traditions, though you may not realize it. The drool-inducing bedding in the Neiman-Marcus, Orvis and Horchow Collection catalogs? Traditions. The irresistible matelassé coverlets and iconic Black Lab Throws on the shelves at Classic County in East Chatham and at all the Hammertown stores? They’re Traditions, too. Traditions is also the stuff of local interior designers, who rely on it to dress the beds in the fabulous houses they adorn, the kind of beds that, despite how awe-inspiring they look, make you want to crawl right into them.

Founded in 1972 by Pamela Kline, a Claverack, NY antiques dealer, Traditions remains headquartered in the town where it all began. Kline traveled extensively, specializing in Amish quilts and textiles. Responding to customers’ demands, she started producing them and selling them in a little national catalog called “Traditions.”

Shari Kline

Soon stores were clamoring to buy the products, and Kline began reaching for inspiration well beyond the bundling board. Eventually, the demand from retailers was so great the company dropped the retail aspect of the business.

Since then, Traditions has been a wholesaler that manufactures and imports luxury quilts, towels, sheets, blanket, pillows, rugs, table linens, duvets, sleepwear and baby gear. In 2011, daughter-in-law Shari Kline bought the business from her MIL and has introduced some more updated styles — what she calls “coutrypolitan”— which you’ll find in the Labor Day sale, Sept. 4-5, at their outlet store in Claverack.

Included are many one-offs — samples made to be photographed for catalogs. Though the discounts are at least 50 percent and up to 75 percent off retail, some discounts are even steeper than that. And if you don’t find the duvet of your dreams at this sale (unlikely as that is) you can always wait and repeat at the Thanksgiving and Memorial Day sales.

Traditions Linens Outlet Sale
29 Route 9H (just north of the Route 23 traffic light), Claverack, NY
(518) 851-3975
Friday and Saturday, Sept. 4-5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 08/29/15 at 09:51 AM • Permalink

Dépêchez-vous To The Basic French Estate Sale

Napoleon III chaise longe, recently reupholstered by an artisanal upholsterer with hemp, linen and horsehair (it will last another 100 years, Neiley says), $1,200.

By Lisa Green

Francophiles — and those who just plain love an estate sale — will want to thank Carol Neiley for her own passion for France and her householding there. The owner of Basic French, a Gallic-provenanced shop in Red Hook, is selling off the vintage goods from her French country estate and apartment in Lyons at the Basic French Estate Sale today through Saturday. Our advice: jump in the car right now and get there before it’s all gone.

Neiley, who worked as a graphic designer in New York, moved to Red Hook in 1992, and opened the first Basic French storefront on East Market Street, selling what she loved most about French living: the simple products — linens, soaps, stationery, sponges, toothpaste (“la vie quotidenne”). The store was a novel concept and became a shopping destination.

While she and her two daughters had been traveling back and forth to France since 1998, in 2007 she decided to make the French connection permanent. Neiley and her daughters moved to Lyon. She had an apartment in the city, and also owned a country estate.

“What started as a year in France ended up being five years,” she explains. Fluent in French, she worked with ex-patriots from all over the world who had moved to Lyon for business. It was usually the men who preceded their families and needed help finding a place to live and (and getting it furnished) before the family arrived. Neiley, with her language and design skills, would find them an apartment, then outfit and decorate their new residences “soup to nuts.” At the same time, she was scouting markets and antiques stores to furnish her own two homes.

In 2012, she and her daughters moved back to NYC, but after a year, missing the region, returned to Red Hook. She reopened Basic French, now at 15 West Market Street, and also works full time as a home stylist and supervisor of design and construction in the Hudson Valley.

“I love Red Hook,” she says. It’s such an unpretentious place, with a successful mix of a diverse demographic. It’s never become a tourist trap — it’s truly an authentic country town.”

A sampling of the items at the estate sale: transferware plates, $20 each; metal road race numbers, $8 each; colorful valises, $5; vintage linens and linen sheets, $20-$70.

So now Neiley’s passion for all things French (and her thorough foraging of antiques markets in Lyon and the French countryside) will bring more of that je ne sais quoi to Red Hook — and perhaps, your home. And there’s a lot of it to be had.

“Coming back from France, I brought a container of [items from] my country house in France — vintage linens, artwork, china, furniture — most of which has been in storage all this time,” she says. “There are things that no one has ever seen, one-of-a-kind things from my personal collection.” At prices that have never been seen in the U.S., she adds.

Come early enough, and you’ll find big furniture pieces, paintings, glassware, sterling silver, mirrors, and lots and lots of linens. (“I’ve realized I’m a linens hoarder,” she admits.) The items from Basic French will be newer things, but all just as authentically imbued with French esprit.

La vie quotidienne never sounded so good.

Basic French Estate Sale
Thursday, July 30, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, July 31, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 1, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
7423 South Broadway (Rt. 9), Red Hook, NY

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/27/15 at 09:05 AM • Permalink

Shopping And Strolling: A Midsummer Pastime

Theater, music, dance and a panoply of festivals are all in full swing, but for those of us whose shopping bug never takes a vacation, retail therapy is alive and well in the Rural Intelligence region. So, for you, we have gathered up a cartful of sales and celebrations happening in the next few weeks.

July 2-5, Chatham
Boxwood Linen Relaunch With more than twice the square footage of its previous space in Hillsdale, Boxwood Linen celebrates its new location to showcase its exquisite hand-cut, hand-finished linens for the table, kitchen and bath. There will be special promotions, giveaways and refreshments all weekend long. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
22 Main Street

July 2-5, Lee
Lee Premium Outlets Our own local national outlet shining on a hill will hold an old-fashioned sidewalk sale. The complex is surprisingly large, boasting 60 stores. If you’re in need of some more summer staples, this should be your destination. Shopping hours will be extended: Thursday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
17 Premium Outlets Boulevard

July 3, Great Barrington
Michael Wainwright Outlet Store How lucky are we to have the sculptor and tableware designer based right in our midst? Wainwright’s gold and platinum-decorated porcelain is sold throughout North America, but we have his outlet store in Great Barrington, which the designer opens up to the community with All Fired Up Again: the second-annual summer sale and celebration, a free family event. Everything in the store will be 20-50 percent off. There will be free pieces to decorate and have fired in the on-site kiln, pizza from Old Inn on the Green, lemonade, SOCO Creamery ice cream and entertainment from 12-3 p.m. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
964 South Main Street

July 3, Great Barrington
Peter Fasano If the textile designer’s work is good enough for Oprah and the President of the United States, it’s certainly good enough for us. There will be bolts and bolts and bolts of the hand-printed, hand silk-screened (and now discontinued) fabrics at the Fabric Studio Sale, priced to sell. See what we wrote about Peter Fasano a few years back. 10 a.m - 5 p.m. 
964 South Main Street (Route 7)

July 3, Pittsfield
Dory and Ginger Grand Opening
The brand-new Hotel on North has already spawned more business on North Street. Dory and Ginger, owned by the hotel’s owner Laurie Tierney and partner Cara Carroll, is right next door. Its logo says “Live and Give,” an appropriate one for the home décor and gifts store with an eclectic and accessible assortment of objects including jewelry, glassware, gourmet treats, stationery items and unexpected fun stuff. There will be refreshments from local purveyors and a drawing for a gift certificate. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
299 North Street

July 4, New Preston
Summer Stroll No middling street fair, this. The village turns into a garden party tableau as you shop and enjoy live music and specialty treats plus cocktails — white sangria, fresh local lemonade, and pink champagne. Raffles will feature $100 gift certificates from New Preston stores with all proceeds going to the Steep Rock Association, which protects three local nature preserves. 2-5 p.m.

July 10, Lakeville
Prime Finds (Affordable Treasures for the Home) The high-end, used home goods store is having a grand opening and preview party to showcase its new location. Featured will be “Designer’s Choice” with items specially selected by Matthew Patrick Smyth. Sales benefit the programs at Prime Time House, Inc., a nonprofit that helps individuals with serious mental illness regain independence. There will be refreshments available while you shop. $20 per person at the door. 5-7 p.m.
838 Main Street

July 10 -11, Great Barrington
McTeigue & McClelland The “Masters of the Art” is a special showing of rare antique and colored diamonds, an extraordinary collection that will be on display for two days only. Prepare to be enchanted. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
454 Main Street

July 11, Washington, CT
The Washington Green Summer Fair A 50-year tradition, the Summer Fair includes a gigantic tag sale, Yankee bakery, ladies accessories booth, plant pavilion, horse-drawn wagon rides, used book emporium and live auction. Fair proceeds will be used for the maintenance of the historic Washington Green and Meetinghouse, circa 1801. Hours are 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Washington Town Green

July 11-12, LaGrangeville
Monastery Vinegar Festival When was the last time you visited a monastery? At Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery you can sample and purchase the only organic-artisanal vinegars produced in the Hudson Valley following an ancient monastic method, along with other food products from the Monastery farm, gardens and kitchen, including tapenade, pesto, chutney, apple sauce and butter, relishes, dried herbs and tonics. Other available items include plants, books, food, crafts and artwork from local monasteries, farmers and artisans. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
246 Barmore Road

Through August, Hudson
Linda Wayne Collection The costume designer and former owner of Lily’s in Great Barrington brings her elegant scarves and jewelry to a pop-up shop at Home. There’s also a small selection of stunning, classic shirts. 1-5 p.m.
535 Warren Street

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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/29/15 at 09:49 AM • Permalink

Margo Morrison New York Brings Trunk Show To The Clark

By Lisa Green

Margo Morrison was formally trained as a pianist, not a jewelry designer. But she’s never left music, really — she’s just exchanged one tactile sensation for another, transferring the patterns, improvisational influences and harmony of music into her line of semi-precious stones and freshwater pearl jewelry.

The Sandisfield weekender will be bringing a special trunk show of more than 200 pieces to The Clark’s museum store this weekend. And if you’re not familiar with Margo Morrison jewelry, this would be a lovely way to get to know it (and meet the designer, who will be there on Saturday) — before or after a visit to the Van Gogh exhibition that’s just opened.

“Music is a huge part of life, and the way I design my jewelry is like notes on a staff,” Morrison says. “Some of my designs have random patterns and look improvisational. When we’re designing the pieces, we say we like to make them sing.”

It’s such a lovely image, the idea of visual music — shimmery, sparkly and rhythmical — dancing around you. The designs are constructed with cord that’s barely visual, allowing the stones and pearls to look as if they’re floating —you’re wearing it, it’s not wearing you, Morrison puts it.

After running a cultural arts magazine in Miami, Morrison moved to New York and, no longer playing piano, needed a creative outlet. About 15 years ago, a single lariat in a shop window inspired her to begin making jewelry, first for herself. She designed and created each piece until Bloomingdales took on her line. Earrings start at around $90, and necklaces range from $250 to about $2,500.

Now, Margo Morrison New York is carried by Neiman Marcus, ABC Carpet & Home, fine jewelry stores and retailers in London, Luxembourg, Brussels, Johannesburg, Tokyo and the Caribbean. Her work has adorned some of the biggest names in the celebrity world. She has four artisans on staff and is continually creating new designs to bring to four or five industry shows per year.

She credits her retreat in Sandisfield as an influence on her work. “I come out here and I’m inspired,” Morrison says. “I’m looking at the pond in the middle of nowhere, but I’m 22 minutes from town. It feels like such a creative place.” When she’s in the country, she’s reluctant to leave the sylvan scene outside her house, but she likes to walk the paths near the Norman Rockwell Museum, always accompanied by her beloved Italian greyhound, Ella.

Although Morrison doesn’t typically attend many trunk shows, the fact that it’s in the Berkshires makes it a special occasion, and she’s excited about the Clark event. The museum’s Japanese-influenced architecture is a fitting backdrop for her jewelry, which has a similar aesthetic (and indeed, her collection has a large following in Japan).

“It’s the most gorgeous gift shop you’ve ever seen,” she says.

Margo Morrison New York Trunk Show
Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Clark, Williamstown, MA
No admission fee to visit the museum store.




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Posted by Lisa Green on 06/14/15 at 10:50 PM • Permalink

Wardrobe-Swapping Sale Is The New Sinterklaas Tradition

By Lisa Green

“Love It or Swap It” sounds like the name of one of those reality shows on TLC. On Bravo, it might be called “The Women of Rhinebeck Who Created a Clothing Swap to Benefit Sinterklaas.”

Fortunately for shoppers looking for a good deal on better clothing and accessories, the swap won’t be on TV but will be live and in the Rural Intelligence region. The “Love It or Swap It” concept is ingenious and eco-friendly: you simply bring in the clothes you no longer want, pay your donation and go home with an equal number of items. All the money raised goes to Sinterklaas, the Dutch-based, Rhinebeck-embellished holiday festival that villagers rally around every holiday season. The sale will be held on Sunday, May 31 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Primrose Hill School.

Here’s How “Love It or Swap It” Works
1. Drop off your clothes at the Primrose Hill School on Saturday, May 30 between noon and 4 p.m., or bring them with you to the Swap on May 31.
2. Bring clothes, accessories, jewelry, handbags and shoes in good condition; clothes should be on hangers. Also accepted: small re-gift items such as candles, soaps, perfume (unopened).
3. Swap the same number of items that you bring.

The upscale swap event started five years ago when a group of women met at a “Green Eileen” event sponsored by designer Eileen Fisher; it’s a recycled clothing program that generates income-supporting programs to improve the lives of women and girls. The Rhinebeck ladies borrowed the fundraising elements of that concept when they created the “Love It or Swap It!” Fundraiser Clothing Swap. Lindy Wright, with a background in fashion and sales (25 years as a merchant and human resources director Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta, 20 years in her own antiques business) opened her home to the first swappers, and for the three years of swaps that followed.

“We moved furniture and bought a bunch of racks,” Wright recalls. “It started out kind of small, but got bigger and bigger. People were lined up outside my house, and would just hang around and be social. After four years, it’s outgrown my house. My husband is thrilled.”

This year, the sale has been moved to the Primrose Hill School across from the Dutchess County fairgrounds. Along with everyone’s sartorial contributions (which often include Eileen Fisher, Prada, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs, among other designers), a separate vendor, SINTERStore, will be selling items donated by local shops. Think Coach handbags, jewelry, Ferragamo shoes and gift certificates.

Now that they’re not limited to a living room and guest bedroom, organizers Wright, Joanne Gelb, Jill Lundquist and Diana Devlin have expanded the activities of the day. Shoppers can avail themselves of 15-minute chair massages by a licensed massage therapist, tarot card readings from an intuitive soul coach and haircuts by a stylist from NYC. A modest charge for these services benefits Sinterklaas. There will be a room to try on clothing a la the old Loehmann’s dressing rooms, where nothing says community better than others opining “yea” or “nay.”

Leftover clothing is distributed to various thrift stores.

“Love It or Swap It” Women’s Clothing Swap to benefit Sinterklaas
Sunday, May 31 from noon to 4 p.m.; $20 donation.
Primrose Hill School, 6571 Springbrook Ave., Route 9, Rhinebeck, NY

Read our story about Sinterklaas.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/21/15 at 07:28 PM • Permalink

J. Seitz Celebrates 30 Years (And, Oh Yes, It’s Tent Sale Time)

By Lisa Green

Just this week, Home Accents Today, a retail trade publication, announced its annual 50 Retail Stars list, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, J. Seitz & Company of New Preston was on that list. Again.

The family-run mini mega store has thrived for decades, not only because of its continually fresh “cabinet of curiosities” approach to merchandise, but because it’s run by a family threesome (Joanna and Bill Seitz, and daughter Amanda), who get along like gangbusters. Now celebrating their 30th year in business, the Seitz’s first filled their store with southwestern textiles and patterns, which all of our homes had at least a touch of in 1986. Over the years, they’ve evolved into resourcing fashion and home goods that are more in the comfortable, Connecticut country vibe, that rustic elegance that pretty much personifies Rural Intelligence style.

“I guess we have the formula, and we have great clients that support us, so we are very lucky,” Joanna said when we visited with her and Amanda a few years ago.

Lucky, maybe. Smart, fashion savvy, and customer oriented, certainly. It’s a winning formula for the eclectic shop overlooking a waterfall. The family enterprise has always kept the inventory fresh, new and interesting, as their customers who travel to the emporium regularly from all over New York and New England will attest.

Fortunately for them, there’s no slowing down in the family’s attempts to find items that appeal to a sophisticated country sensibility. These days, Joanna says, that means a certain authenticity in materials and design, a connection with the makers.

30 Years And A Tent Sale To Boot

For J. Seitz shoppers, this weekend means one thing: the J. Seitz Semi-Annual Memorial Day Weekend Big Fat Tent Sale, which may be particularly festive as everyone celebrates J. Seitz’s three decades in the village. Save up to 75 percent off on selected antiques, sofas, chairs, tables, lamps, home accessories and more. Best to go early; the bargains are phenomenal and Joanna says they sell out half the tent on the first day.

Friday, May 22 - Monday, May 26
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m

“We look for artists who make things versus things from large manufacturers,” she says. “We’re able to support these independent people and our customers really appreciate their work.”

She cites a new designer who once worked with high-end diamond jewelry, but whose consternation about the diamond industry’s questionable practices moved her to work with recycled metals. The home lines at the store include furniture with natural materials gleaned from barns or cement floors and repurposed into elegant, modern forms.

Despite admitting that there are now days where the business tires her out more than it used to, Joanna says she’s not ready to retire yet.

What about that dream she mentioned a few years ago — the one where they’ll retire to New Mexico, ride off into the sunset, and Amanda will run the store?

“Oh, that’s still our dream,” Joanna says. “Amanda is about to have her first baby. Maybe the next generation will follow in our footsteps.”

J. Seitz & Co.
9 East Shore Road
New Preston, CT
(860) 868-0119

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/18/15 at 02:09 PM • Permalink

With The Opening Of Tulip, Spring Comes Early To Rhinebeck

By Andrea Pyros

It only seems as if warm weather will never arrive and we’ll still be skiing down the slopes and drinking Irish Coffees come June. But in fact, spring has sprung, at least in one small Rhinebeck spot. It’s at Tulip, a new shop that opened in the middle of the village, selling flowers by the stem, bouquets, gifts, chocolates and framed art. Co-owned by business partners Kim Cantine and Jeffrey Milstein, Tulip opened on Valentine’s Day and fills a hole in Rhinebeck’s business district, finally offering locals a place to pick up fresh flowers for hostess gifts or to perk up their own kitchen tables. 

The floral expert of the duo is Cantine, and she envisions Tulip as a simple cash-and-carry shop modeled on a French flower store. Once weather permits, people will be able to walk by and pick from the bouquets displayed on Tulip’s front porch. Inside there will be more flowers, with Cantine helping customers interested in special arrangements.

“We’ll have unusual flowers that you won’t find anywhere else,” says Milstein. Prices will range from a few dollars for an individual stem, $14 for an inexpensive arrangement and then more for rarer buds.

“If people want one beautiful flower or they’re on a budget, or if they want something more elegant, there’s going to be something for everyone,” he adds. The partners are sourcing their flowers from area distributors and hope to offer more locally grown flowers as the season approaches, but year round, Cantine promises, “No cheap filler flowers!”

The pair has known each other since Cantine did work for Paper House Productions, Milstein’s stationery products company. Both were Woodstock residents for many years and stayed in touch. Three years ago, Cantine relocated to Rhinebeck (where she also works as a real estate agent), and she quickly realized that the village was lacking a flower store. She shared her idea of opening one with Milstein, who liked the idea, too. When a space opened up on Montgomery Street, both agreed it was perfect for Tulip.

“I always thought this was a really great space,” Milstein explains, “with the Greek revival front and the little porch which is perfect for putting out flowers. Even years ago, I had my eye on it.”

In addition to flowers, there’s a small, well-crafted selection of gifts — colorful vases, hand-blown glasses, mugs with Arne Jacobsen’s famous typeface, and delicious organic, fair-trade sweets from the Saugerties-based Lucky Chocolates.

Cantine and Milstein are working to add more artists to the store’s walls as well. Currently they have small botanical drawings from Accord’s Wendy Hollender and large, gorgeous prints from Milstein’s own professional photographic work. “I have a huge collection of florals I’ve taken over many years and now I finally have a place to show them,” he says. “I’ve also traveled extensively photographing National Trust Gardens such as you’d see on Downton Abbey, so we’re going to put those up, too.”

With Kim’s small business experience, time spent working at a flower shop and her past as the owner of a boutique in Woodstock, she and Milstein both were clear about their vision for the store and how to quickly get the space into shape. They’re also in agreement about their vision for what they want to offer customers.

“People feel like they’re in a different kind of place here. We’re not stuffing it with everything you can find. Items have to meet our beautiful standards,” Cantine says.

6406 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck NY
(845) 876-2212
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays, later (by discretion of the owners) on weekends.
Call ahead for spring and summer hours.
Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

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Posted by Lisa Green on 03/09/15 at 09:45 AM • Permalink

North Country Vintage Rents Out Style For Special Occasions

nvc1By Jamie Larson

When it comes to popular wedding aesthetics over the past few years, the barn has replaced the ballroom and regal uniformity has been usurped by rural individuality. A new shop in Hudson, North Country Vintage, is embracing the trend that so emulates the look of our region with a rentable collection of beautiful vintage items (many also for sale) that will stage a wedding or any event in the trappings of country charm.

Owners of NCV, Joanna and Matt Murphy, spent months finding and buying the mismatched table settings, eclectic props and vintage furnishings they needed to dress their own 2007 Hudson Valley wedding. The fun but undoubtedly time-consuming experience gave the couple a novel and elegantly simple business idea: Start a shop in Hudson where people can rent all the stylish, antique ephemera that help to personalize events.

murphys“We held on to all the things we purchased for our wedding and it grew from there. Collecting, antiquing is what Matt and I like to do together,” says Joanna, who also works as the co-chair of special education for the Hyde Park School District. “Our aesthetic keeps evolving, so we are versatile. When it started it was very ‘rustic farmhouse.’ Now there is also a bohemian quality, with the mismatched china and antique couches.”

Behind an unassuming storefront at 723 Columbia Street in Hudson, NVC’s store and showroom displays vignettes of table settings, bar setups and lounges that exude a relaxed and effortless class. The displays are just a small part of a huge collection stored in the barn behind the couple’s Clinton Corners farmhouse.

ncv3There’s something satisfying about the mismatched nature of the service and dinnerware on display. Only with this current trend could an ornate china plate or a quirky old cut-glass chalice, long ago lost to its set, get a moment of appreciation. And the endless variety of detail only helps to personalize and enhance a special event.

“It’s timeless, classic and really fits regional venues,” says Matt, who recently resigned from a successful career in finance and an exhausting six-hour daily round trip commute to spend more time with the couple’s young daughter and run NVC during the week. “We think it’s a really good idea and we are optimistic. It’s been really exciting for me to learn every aspect of the business, and now I get to put my daughter on the bus in the morning and see her at night.”

nvc4Given the increased popularity of rustic, vintage, industrial-chic weddings, there is certainly some of Matt’s residual business savvy on display at NCV, as well. In addition, Joanna does invitations and Matt’s sister, Carolynn Murphy, displays her handmade buttons from her Cute As Buttons line. The NVC owners aim to grow relationships with local wedding services companies, craftspeople, makers and artists to further diversify their in-store collection and the personal touches they can bring to weddings and other events. 

“When we were planning the business, we also began to realize that there were all these new venues popping up,” Joanna says. “There are now these really great raw spaces that need decor.”

gfgffvFrom the barn out back to industrial venues like the Basilica in Hudson, HVC’s ever-growing collection is a one-stop shop for unique stage setting. With that in mind the Murphys are also planning to work with realtors on home staging and filmmakers to help create the hip ambiance specific to our beautiful countryside.

“We want these events to be exactly what people want,” Joanna says. “We are committed to being ever evolving. Women share their Pinterest boards with us and we strive to emulate that. We are even happy to go treasure hunting for people.”

North Country Vintage
723 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 03/02/15 at 10:32 AM • Permalink