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Léonce Antiques

Leonce, Westport

1435 Post Road East, Westport

Like most people, I blame my undesirable personality quirks on my parents. So it gives me great pleasure to actually appreciate them for something. Like a proclivity for sterling silver I inherited from my mother. So Léonce Antiques, the self-proclaimed “Largest Seller of Sterling Silver in Connecticut” is the closest thing to mother/daughter therapy we’ll ever have and, at 10,000 square feet, will ever need.

Robin’s note: Don’t expect bargains, but expect rare and fabulous antique serving pieces, trays, and flatware from esteemed makers such as Tiffany, Towle, Jensen, Lunt, and much more. They also sell porcelain, brass, furniture, and many other antiques.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 40-70 years of age who look like my mom.

Their specialty: American and English antique flatware, silverware, and hollowware.

What you should buy: If you’re not ready to blow $15,000 on a near-complete set of discontinued art deco Tiffany flatware, consider buying a sterling napkin ring, prices from $30-$298.

What you may not know but should: Most pieces are engraved. But if you don’t have time/patience to pick through stacks of silver looking for catchy monograms (OMG, WTF… ), you can search by letter on their organized and comprehensive website.

Home + Garden     Westport    
Monday, February 07, 2011 • Permalink

Design Solutions

Design Solutions, New Canaan

146 Elm Street, New Canaan

Listen, I totally get the “Oh, my life is so hectic I want my house to be a beige Zen haven where I can relax and look at white walls and a smattering of dark antique furniture” thing. But if you crave fabulous pops of gorgeous color so riotous that the kids’ toys seamlessly blend into their surroundings, then this is where you can go for all your home décor needs.

Robin’s note: DS is owned by Mike Wallace’s daughter, the former president of that Mecca for whimsical practicality: The Conran Shop. While DS focuses on home interiors, they also carry Marimekko accessories and novel children’s items.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 35 to 60.

Their specialty: Living room décor, from furniture to rugs to fabrics.

What you should buy: Special one-of-a-kind items from around the world.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Among their special items are pieces from Haiti, including colorful papier mâché birds and a fabulous pink birdcage chandelier, which now hangs in my kitchen.
  2. When I fell in love with the aforementioned chandelier, I wasn’t sure if it would go with my décor. They happily delivered it to my home, carried it inside, and stuck around until I decided to buy it, if I decided to buy it. All of this at no cost, no obligation, and they had no idea I was going to lavish praise upon them in a website at a later date. Now that, my friend, is good old-fashioned customer service.

Home + Garden     New Canaan    
Thursday, February 03, 2011 • Permalink

The Monogram Studio

The Monogram Studio

60 Lewis Street, Greenwich

I love monograms: they make stuff significant. You can slap a monogram on a cloth diaper and it becomes a family heirloom. So I was thrilled to discover The Monogram Studio, a happy little store filled with monogrammable items for babies, kids, moms, dads, homes, dogs, etc. You choose the item, color, and style, and they’ll make it look as though you poured more thought into it than you actually did.

Robin’s note: The owner, Dancia Rose, will monogram any (reasonable) item you bring in, even if it doesn’t come from her store.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Moms.

Their specialty: Duvet sets and baby clothes.

What you should buy: Canvas toiletry cases for children.

What you may not know but should:
  1. She has great sale items in front of her store, prices may or may not include monograms.
  2. Her website lists colors and styles, though not all store items are listed.
www. winstonstuckernuck.com/monogram-studio.html

Fashion     Home + Garden     Greenwich    

Swap Shop

Swap Shop, Darien

The Darien Dump, 126 Ledge Road, Darien

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, depending on how loosely you define the term. If you “treasure” TV sets that may or may not work, you’ll be as happy as an alley cat at Nobu. I did find a few things, such as a white wood crib, a child’s bicycle seat, a complete Encyclopedia set and “The Divorce Handbook.” All needed minor repairs and a hose-down but, shoot, they’re free. If you live in Darien.

Robin’s note: The term “swap” is loosely defined, as well. About a half dozen residents routinely troll the shop and sell the stuff at yard sales. Others show up with small stacks of VHS/Beta tapes and “swap” them for a dresser. One man took a set of silverware later valued at $1,000.

Their specialty: Books and televisions.

What you should take: Furniture for dorms or au pair rooms. Oh, and anything really valuable.

What you may not know but should:
  1. You can post “items wanted” on a bulletin board inside the shop.
  2. The Swap Shop does not “accept” anything broken, cracked, stained, or damaged… umm… yeah.
  3. We’re sorry, but the large, ugly collection of refrigerators and air conditioners isn’t for the taking.
  4. Swap Shoppers must be Darien residents and have a trash permit.

Consignment     Home + Garden     Darien    
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 • Permalink

The Silk Purse

The Silk Purse, New Canaan

118 Main Street, New Canaan

You can’t throw a rock in New Canaan without smashing the plate glass window, mirrored console and white ostrich-skin sideboard of some tony home décor boutique.  So it was all the more delightful to enter this traditional, neatly cluttered furniture/jewelry consignment store. This town’s cast-offs are pretty swishy and the prices are delightfully affordable.

Robin’s note: Dear old auntie isn’t hocking her Tiffany baubles at the corner store, so manage your expectations before shopping for cut-rate jewels here.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women, ages 30 – 60 years old.

Their specialty: Dining chair sets.

What you should buy: Baker coffee table, good as new, for $715.

What you may not know but should: Their website lists most – but not all – of their items and is updated daily.

Consignment     Home + Garden     New Canaan    

Millie Rae’s

Millie Rae's, Westport

1799 Post Road East, Westport

A home décor boutique curiously located in a strip mall across from the Super Stop & Shop, Millie Rae’s belies its hokey name by stocking a lovely collection of new and antique furniture and decorative accessories. When I entered, the owner, Cheryl, was busily slapping 50% off stickers on a bunch of things, none of which included my purchases. Bummer.

The walls and most of the furnishings and accessories are white, with pops of light blues and greens, lending it a sort of “cottage on the seashore that’s not quite formal but definitely not casual” feel. I got a Queen Anne/18th century vibe from the furniture, much of which was artfully distressed to make it look, you know, used (or as if she had young children.)

Robin’s note: I loved the small collection of crystal jewelry, including the Notting Hill line made from antique shoe buckles and notions, and several fabulous, affordable rhinestone antique bracelets and necklaces. The only thing I need more than another necklace is a puncture wound. But I bought one anyway.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Westport and Fairfield women ages 35-70.

Their specialty: White furniture and mercury glass.

What you should buy: Beautiful mirrors, jewelry, and a great chandelier for only $550. I swear I saw the same one in Dovecote (write-up on this site).

What you may not know what should: She sells many items made by local artists and supports local charities.

Home + Garden     Westport    
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 • Permalink

Stark Carpet Outlet

Stark Carpet Outlet, Norwalk

17 Butler Street, Norwalk

I have Stark carpeting in my bedrooms and it’s so expensive I’m surprised it hasn’t weaseled its way into rapper lexicon, like “homeboy be flossing his ice wanksta and Stark carpet” but, for whatever reason, it hasn’t. So I should have been excited about a Stark outlet but whenever I try to get there I’m distracted by Loehmann’s (I’m a gold card carrying member) and never make it around the corner.

But a friend of mine knows a woman who drives from Long Island to visit this outlet, so I decided to grit my teeth, tear myself away from the siren song of cut-rate Pradas and look at rugs. Friends, I’m now a rug shopper. The selection and discounts are incredible: as much as 75% off gorgeous woven and needlepoint rugs, many of which I saw in the New York showroom a few years ago. True, some of the large rugs run between $15K-30K, but that’s thousands of dollars less than original price.

The saleswoman let my kids run and run and run in the huge show space and on the rolls of carpeting upstairs (their shoes were clean), and we were all pleasantly exhausted by the time we left.

Robin’s note: Fabric and furniture is available as well. Fabric is sold by the bolt, with gorgeous silks and hand-painted fabrics going for as little as $55/bolt (each bolt may contain several yards, one fabric was originally $845/yard). Bolts run from $5 to $55. There is some Donghia furniture and I spotted a $1,675 mirrored lamp for $275. Remember to bring your fabric and paper swatches: some of the colors are tricky to match.

Their specialty: Woven and needlepoint rugs.

What you should buy: Fabric and needlepoint rugs.

What you may not know but should: Don’t get overly anxious when you see the “Take 50% off all sale prices!” sign. It’s pretty much up year-round.

Home + Garden     Norwalk    


Mason, New Canaan

48 Elm Street, New Canaan

An empyrean for mid-century Modernist-philes, this chic boutique stocks a thoughtful selection of delights for decorating (lighting, furniture, accessories) and décolletage (estate costume and fine jewelry, including my favorite Cartier-designed icon: the boneless panther).

Robin’s note: The store, opened in Fall ’09 by gorgeous ex-fashion publicist Courtney Mason and her interior design partner Kristin Gallipoli, caters to the underserved slew of Frank Lloyd Wright homesteaders and enthusiasts.

Their specialty: Original ‘50s chandeliers.

What you should buy: I love the Babe Paley/disco ball chandeliers.

What you may not know but should: Attention Unattached Straight Men: Ms. Mason is single, so ask her out before the SoNo Baking Company hunk snaps her up (if, in fact, he’s single. Which I suspect but haven’t confirmed.)

Home + Garden     New Canaan    
Monday, January 24, 2011 • Permalink

Fairfield Women’s Exchange

Fairfield Women's Exchange, Southport

332 Pequot Avenue, Southport

I had heard of this place and avoided it, as “Women’s Exchange,” for me, conjured up images of crocheted toilet paper covers, second-hand throw pillows that read “I Love My Grandchildren,” and Christmas ornaments made of googly eyes and dried starfish. In short, I assumed I wasn’t their target market.

But assuming makes an ass out of u and me, which is something I read on a plaque in a Women’s Exchange.

So I was very, very surprised to note the chic tableware and sophisticated linens I’d see at any upscale boutique. Their great selection of baby and toddler clothes are darling and unique, including name sweaters and rain gear. Further, the back room boasts an impressive selection of antiques, prestige china and sterling serving pieces. The FWE routinely holds trunk shows for high-end accessories and tableware and scouts NYC shows for artisans and consignors.

A not-for-profit store, FWE donates all of its profits to women’s and children’s charities, making it the perfect storm of retail and charity. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, the prices are very reasonable.

Robin’s note: They sell a brand-name handbag, spotted on numerous well-heeled FC residents, for about $45 less than a neighboring shop.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 30-75 years old.

Their specialty: Beautiful hand-knit baby wear, consigned from all over the country.

What you should buy: A stack of 11 dinner plates of Rosenthal Eminence-Cobalt blue china* for $395. These retail for about $175 a plate.

What you may not know but should:
  1. The 30 year-old store is run entirely by women volunteers.
  2. Currently, they sell embroidered items made in Haiti, to benefit women and children in Haiti.
*I’m not a dinnerware expert, but I’m 99% sure I’m right about the pattern.

Consignment     Home + Garden     Give     Fairfield    
Friday, December 03, 2010 • Permalink

Patricia Funt Antiques

Patricia Funt Antiques, New Canaan

110 Main Street, New Canaan

It’s not often one walks into an antique shop and walks out with 3 sterling napkin rings and a capsule history of an extinct species. But it’s not often one sees a genuine curiosity shop the likes of Dodo enthusiast Patricia Funt’s, well-stocked with Black Forest carvings and various other collectibles and curios.

Funt, an antiques dealer for 30 years, is best known for her English imports (including her gregarious English husband, Ken Oxman.)  Known for “small” rarities (“the only furniture we sell are the display pieces”) this shop has sated collectors and gift-buyers in the area for 12 years. Sadly, like the flightless bird from Mauritius, they will soon disappear from Main Street, though their business will continue thrive on their website (unlike the ingenuous Dodo, which “wandered up to sailors, got knocked on the head and eaten, just like that.”)

In the interim, stop by and enjoy their whimsical and interesting store until the end of July.

Robin’s note: Customers receive a 20-30% discount off of everything in stock.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 40-70, buying gifts or augmenting collections.

Their specialty: Children’s pottery, silver napkin rings, and nautical items.

What you should buy: Just about anything.

What you may not know but should: Dodos didn’t taste very good, they were just readily available and easy to tackle.

Home + Garden     New Canaan    
Monday, June 28, 2010 • Permalink

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