Archive for the ‘Shoppe’ Category

GHENT

April 18, 2020

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It’s looking to be quite some time before non-essential travel, particularly of the international kind, returns to anyone’s repertoire. For the sake of sanity, let’s trade the dread of packing for daydreams of the places we want to visit when borders reopen + passport stamps are reinstated as a desirable collectible. When planning our recent #tglfortiethfête, we knew a European adventure was in order to commemorate a new decade of circling the sun. Paris (because a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ gets us every time) was waiting in the wings, but a keen inclination to complement an extended stay in the City of Light with a special sojourn to a new destination was an underlying impetus to push our planning one step farther.

1898 The Post was the deciding factor (no arm-twisting required) to add the quaint Flemish city of Ghent to our itinerary. Add the ‘note’-able detail the hotel is housed in the city’s early 20th c. Post Office and you had us at snail mail. The smallest of three prominent Belgian cities, Ghent’s cobblestone streets, mixed with a rich textile history as a mercantile landmark for the middle-age wool and linen industries, made it the perfect destination to toast to ’40’. Aside from the aforementioned lodging, we made no plans for where to wander or what to eat, quite uncustomary from our standard #theoriginalgildedgetaway approach. Instead, we spent two days embracing good ‘ole-fashioned wanderlust spirit – no Google maps, zero pre-planned pins, just a mind wide open to the charm of each discovered walkway and wurst our path crossed.

To our sheer delight, Ghent is home to two unexpected gems on the subject of design and craftsmanship. If you’re a fan of letterpress or textiles (or better yet both, in which case we definitely need to meet), the Museum of Industry is a mecca for all things print + fibre-related. From paper printing to silk spinning, typesetting to weaving, it is not to be missed. A creative-in-spirit looking to test your hand at something tactile? Explore the museum’s series of workshops, perhaps even time your visit to participate since this is one souvenir you can’t bring back stateside.

For anyone who’s engaged in an Art History syllabus, you’ve likely been taught Flemish lineage has birthed some of the world’s most renowned artists, (van Eyck, Bruegel or Rubens ring a bell?). Hence, it’s no surprise Belgians appreciate, let alone laud, superior design and its founding principles that have transcended centuries of an evolving European culture. Spend a sunny afternoon wandering Design Museum Gent, with works housed in seamless synergy between an 18th c. mansion and a modern wing, not to mention Belgium’s only museum with an international design collection.

If you’re local (or a tired tourist looking to rest your toes), the museum’s serene inner courtyard is open to the public, perfect for quiet lunch dates or chocolate breaks, let’s be real, it IS Belgium after all. We highly recommend picking up a sweet treat from nearby chocolaterie Cédric Van Hoorebeke, who’s adorable corner shoppe includes ‘Chocolates, Business Gifts + Other Sweet Perfection’. When blowing out our candles over a cocktail at The Cobbler, we secretly made a wish that in our new decade, someone mighty would grant us the good graces to be the appointed purveyor of such an idyllic list. In times like these, who doesn’t need, or welcome, or long for chocolates, business gifts and other sweet perfections.

Until our suitcases come out of storage, be well fellow travelers, we’re all in this together.

Driving the back country roads and rolling hills of Litchfield County, one might pause to question if the view ahead is truly a slice of the Nutmeg State or the backdrop from a picturesque European postcard. Dotted with farms enveloped in fences and colonial homes clad in clapboard, the scene feels serendipitously set in a time-lapse somewhere between The Patriot and The Sound of Music.

Nestled in the tiny hamlet of New Preston, Plain Goods is a destination not only for Connecticut locals, but Manhattanites looking to trade cityscapes for landscapes, and vacationers passing through as they either enter or depart New England from the nearby state border. Originally located in a postage-size storefront on the edge of the village’s rolling waterfall, co-owners Michael DePerno and Andrew Fry had grander plans for their growing retail business, their sight set on a historic landmark a stone’s throw away that came on the market in 2018. Pavilion Hall, constructed in 1897 as a concert hall and celebration space for the Litchfield locals, had fallen into disrepair after sitting vacant for several years. A massive restoration ensued, not only expanding the team’s creative endeavor from a 700 sq.ft. cottage to a 6,000 sq.ft. hallmark for bucolic bliss, but earning the duo a 2019 Award of Merit from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

Immediately upon crossing the threshold, visitors are welcomed into a two-story forum of meticulous merchandising. Delicately curated vignettes set the stage for DePerno and Fry’s vision, to celebrate impeccable craftsmanship, purity of form and nature’s ever changing palette. That vintage brass pillbox you never knew you needed wanted? A hand-sourced assortment to select from. Antique china you thought worthy only of Sunday dinner at your grandmother’s? Suddenly, a desire to eat every meal, maybe even Kellogg’s, from hand-painted porcelain patterns. It’s the kind of storytelling that makes everyday living feel elevated. At times like these, when our homes have become havens from the outside world, who isn’t in need of a little less chaos and lot more cozy?

Since moving into the larger space, the offering has expanded to include a broader assortment of men’s, women’s + children’s apparel and accessories, and even accessories for the furriest of four-legged friends. Looking to stock your pantry? There’s options for your larder too – Plain Goods Provisions, a range of delectables guaranteed to ensure that artisanal loaf is loaded with the loftiest of jams and your brioche french toast is dappled with nothing less than Grade A Vermont Maple.

Brick + Mortar needs us more than ever right now, so while the doors of Pavilion Hall are currently closed, Plain Goods virtual storefront is always open for window shopping, or for those in more dire need during these anxiety ridden times, unabashed retail therapy.

Plain Goods | 17 East Shore Road | New Preston, CT

All images via Plain Goods.

 

PSA: We interrupt your never-ending news feed filled with doom & gloom to bring you something slightly more uplifting – pretty pictures + thoughtful prose, all in the spirit of optimism that brighter times are ahead. It goes without saying, no one will come out of the current global crisis untouched. Individuals, local businesses, large corporations, international organizations – everyone will feel an impact to some degree across the spectrum. Like all of you, we’re doing our best to be healthy, adjust in solitude + process the calamity facing our world; as creatives, staying inspired is our guiding principle, it’s what keeps us grounded and encouraged to continue moving forward. Hence, our intent remains steadfast at Around the Pound, sharing stories of the things we love, people and brands we admire and places we aspire to someday visit – we hope you’ll stick around if you’re in need of something light and beautiful in the coming weeks. As always, (and perhaps more than ever), we’d love to have you.

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the country, but is by no means lacking in creative spirit. Over the years at TGL we’ve shared our unabashed admiration for Ocean State brands and entrepreneurs, from furniture makers to an ice cream purveyor, and yes, the best doughnut in New England. Lotuff Leather joins an expanding list of small businesses designing and producing American-made wares we simply can’t get enough of. At times like the one we face currently, these homegrown companies, built on passion and pursuit of a dream, need our support more than ever.

Founded in 2013 out of a small studio, Lotuff Leather embodies end-to-end the true essence of what it means to be from ‘America’s Creative Capital’. Embracing the approach and technique of European ateliers, the Lotuff team, lead by Creative Director Lindy McDonough, lovingly handcrafts each leather good using the best methods, leathers and materials they know. The team of artisans, many classically trained at RISD, (a two mile stone’s throw across I95), means talent remains hyper local within ‘lil Rhody, hitting the mark on centralized craft + employment opportunity. Under McDonough’s guidance, the brand’s collection is a testament to not only meticulous craftsmanship, but also design leadership, a venture which earned Lindy a well-deserved induction into the esteemed Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

In the words of McDonough, “Creating a piece that will be handed down generation to generation, and become more beautiful as you use it, that was always the ethos for the company.” Having personally worked with some of the most magnificent and respected leather workshops in Europe, we can attest this is an artistry learned over years, not days or weeks, with the same exquisite attention given to each piece by Lindy’s team at Lotuff. Since we know many of you have some extra time on your hands these days, watch Lindy’s behind the scenes view of life at Lotuff and you’ll quickly see for yourself, “Bringing Handmade Back to America” isn’t a marketing slogan, it’s the brand’s bonafide modus operandi.

Consumerism will look different in coming months, likely even years. As you contemplate your next purchase and where to spend your hard-earned discretionary dollars, pause to consider a few things: quality, integrity and community. In case we haven’t sold you, Lotuff’s quality is nothing short of superior (appropriately donned the Porsche of leather bags by stylish critics). Lindy’s business model oozes the time-honored spirit of American Made at its core. And, Lotuff nurtures a local creative community with close ties to one of our nation’s leading and most highly respected art institutions, educating and developing a new generation of artists in the tradition of fine arts and crafts. Currently, the studio is closed in mindfulness to the health and safety of the team, but their online shoppe is chock full of in-stock products. Looking for something slightly more personal? They offer bespoke services too, and inquiries are openly accepted. Here’s a few things on our wishlist to spur a virtual return to the office haul, date nights at our favorite Rhody restaurants and long weekend getaways across New England.

The Working Tote | Like your favorite Boat + Tote, in leather

The Mini Lois Pouch | The cosmetic carryall to ‘Meet you for cocktails’ clutch

The Mini Leather Bucket Bag | You had us at ‘Shearling’

The No. 12 Weekender Bag | Destined for future Gilded Getaways

The American Alligator Tripp | aka The Ultimate Crossbody

Images courtesy of Lotuff Leather.

MIDCOAST MAINE

October 16, 2017

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There’s a reason they call Maine Vacationland. No matter the length of your stay or coordinates on the map, this postcard-perfect state grabs hold of your psyche whilst everything else melts away. Truth be told, we’ve been going to Maine for years, and easily a tradition we’ll continue for a lifetime more. An earlier Gilded Getaway found us in Portland, which in the short time since 2014 has exploded with such intensity that our travel compass is vehemently guiding us back for Getaway Guide v2.0. However, this trip had us craving a little more water, a little less land – we ventured farther up the rocky terrain, to an area the locals refer to as MidCoast.

Dotted with tiny coastal villages, each chock full of charm and character, the MidCoast region offers ocean vistas set against a backdrop of majestic mountains. Undoubtedly, one of the many reasons some of America’s most notable painters flocked to the region to capture the remarkable landscape for the rest of the world to see. Our admiration lies with time spent off the land, sailing along the coast past island after island, colorful lobster buoys as far as the eye can see. The natives are a hearty group, New Englanders through and through, some more salty than others, all eager to welcome visitors to their small slice of Vacationland heaven. Take Camden’s Schooner Surprise for example, setting sail in Penobscot Bay six months of the year, up to five sails per day. A crisp autumn breeze won’t cause this 99-year-old vessel to drop anchor, simply layer on the blankets, pack on the puffers and away you go.

Back on solid ground and as one would expect, the local fare epitomizes the freshest catch. Naturally, there’s seafood and lobsters galore, but what’s more exciting to a discerning palate is the new roster of restaurants that beautifully balance the bounty of land and sea. Nina June, recently lauded by Bon Appetit as one of 2017’s best new restaurants and of famed NYC restaurant lineage by way of Chef Sara Jenkins, does exactly that, all while overlooking a storybook setting below. Looking for a light lunch bite or packing for a picnic? Head to Main St. Markets in Rockland, pick up a handful of provisions and drive south to Owls Head State Park.

In these parts, we highly recommend a daily dose of Vitamin Sea, good for the soul and whatever else ails you.

We first laid eyes on a piece by O&G Studio in early 2014 and like any design junkie, have been following their work ever since. Hunkered down at The Dean during an epic New England blizzard, the Aquinnah chair in our cozy room stood tall and proud like a Renaissance statue, and when we departed, thoughts of her lingered like a long-lost love.

Based in the coastal enclave of Warren, Rhode Island, O&G Studio has already captured the attention of the design world with a modern approach to a deeply rooted (not to mention local) tradition of craftsmanship. Founded by Sara Ossana and Jonathan Glatt, RISD alum with a mutual passion and respect for traditional American design, the duo has continued the legacy of Rhode Island’s fine furniture heritage well into the 21st century.

Out of their ‘lil Rhody studio, Ossana and Glatt bring life to classic silhouettes with subtle details and a rich palette of hues plucked from Mother Nature’s native influence. Meticulously crafted in a style the duo describes ‘at once sophisticated and relaxed,’ we couldn’t agree more. Personally, we’re partial to the ‘Atlantic’ collection of settees and chairs, a soft enveloping profile reminiscent of a warm embrace on a chilly night in the Northeast. Not in the market to furnish your home? Enjoy the beauty of O&G Studio at some of our favorite nearby eateries, Little Moss and Bywater, where the food and seating are equally enticing.

If you’re in the ‘hood, drop by their showroom, open Monday through Friday and weekends by appointment.

O&G Studio | 30 Cutler St., Ste. 220 | Warren, RI 02885

All images courtesy of O&G Studio.

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