Time flies! It feels like a few months ago that a girlfriend suggested I stop in to the beautiful new home store that just opened in Rye and meet the owners. I did, and since then, almost 5 years ago, we have worked together. Aly Drew and Bets Miller have been great partners, they have a fabulous store, and a terrific venue to showcase Romanoff Elements artwork to compliment their array of home decor products. I’m happy to be part of their anniversary party to celebrate 5 years but more than that, I want to thank them both for welcoming me and the re:artists into their “nest”. Congrats to Bets, Aly and and their team at Nest Inspired Home!Read More
Each season I look forward to my first visit to Comerford Collection, a home furnishings store with a distinctive modern perspective in Bridgehampton, NY. Owner Karen Comerford has created a shop based on her refined design aesthetic with a series of vignettes throughout the store that are a visual treat. I love to see what’s new and how Comerford has mixed in Xanda McCagg’s artworks along with the merchandise from other artists and artisans.
McCagg’s paintings compliment the other art, including paintings, photography and sculpture as well as the rest of the products presented in the warm and inviting environment. On the website, Karen Comerford describes the, “refined space...she works to redefine the term MODERN, stripping it of its implications of austerity and imbuing it with a comfortable, uncomplicated simplicity". This is the third season that McCagg’s work has been represented and sold in this thoughtfully edited store, the bold color and abstract composition of her paintings suit the warm space.
I talked with Comerford about how the store has evolved from it's start as a source for custom furniture in 1999. With a thriving textile design business and a background in illustration and graphic design, Comerford sought to bring her creative interests together. She headed to the Hamptons and opened a store to feature her own products, and merchandise them with her particular style and vision. Each “tableaux” showcases her discerning eye
Comerford’s store has morphed over the years, she has stayed in tune with and responsive to her customers, responded to economic changes and design directions. What has remained consistent is her vision of presenting finely designed and highly crafted products to suit her Hamptons clientele. A clientele that looks to furnish and accessorize their local homes as well as homes in Manhattan and elsewhere.
The core business remains private label furniture, but they have evolved into a full-service furnishings store. Products have expanded into an array of modern & hand-crafted home accessories, glassware, barware and serving pieces for entertaining as well an eclectic assortment of hand-crafted jewelry
Comerford's background is evident in the array of textile products. Accessories range from assorted decorative pillows, including a selection of graphic hand embroidered ones from Judy Ross Textiles
to assorted throws
to hand-blown glassware, and lighting
Art has always played an important role at Comerford Collection, it provides the “soul of the store”, filling the space with color and energy. This provides ideas and food for thought as to how both the merchandise and the art work together to create liveable and relatable spaces. McCagg’s work with “both it’s lyrical and bold elements” balance the clean lines of the merchandise. From McCagg’s small, intimate paintings
to the stronger, colorful statement pieces. Comerford works with her artists and artisans to customize pieces that are unique to her store. I like that there is a familiarity when I walk back in each season, but I love that there is a fresh feel, pieces that Comerford works hard to source, whether from one of her regular resources or something new she discovers on her travels - like this circular bronze LED light from Paris.
I have always felt that seeing artwork in a home furnishing store is a terrific and logical way to see art in context, a clear presentation of how it would look in a customer’s home. Karen Comerford has created a shop that always inspires, the shop is visually interesting with lots of great options to consider - whether shopping for art, furniture, jewelry or lighting - its always enticing!
Her Haven grew from Carey Dougherty’s vision to combine her interior design skills, and business experience with her desire to help women in need. With the driving passion that a “home can enhance one’s well-being and bring families together, and the recognition that women are often selflessly serving their families and their communities with little time for themselves, she wanted to give these women the gift of a ‘haven’.
Her Haven is a nonprofit organization that performs volunteer design services for deserving and inspiring women in the community.
Carey then brought her organizational and networking skills to coordinate the efforts of various people and organizations. The first two Her Haven projects were a partnership with Fairfield University's Interior Design Program and Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County. 11 design students from the program worked to redesign and furnish the living and dining rooms of two new Habitat homeowners, Nordia Black and Elizabeth Bosques, both of Bridgeport, CT.
The projects have elicited strong community support, from local businesses, supplying materials, trades, design skills and volunteers who have all helped see the projects to completion.
Another outcome of Her Haven's beginnings was a course at Fairfield University , developed by Dr. Catherine Giapponi, associate professor of management at the Dolan School of Business (DSB).“Managing Nonprofits Organizations". The course introduced students to careers in nonprofits, while helping to develop a business plan for Dougherty. “There are many connections between entrepreneurship and starting your own nonprofit,” Dr. Giapponi explained, “And with entrepreneurship gaining interest around the world, this class gives students the skills to put together a complete plan that could be applied to nonprofits and for profit ventures.”
Her Haven has plans to expand its partner programs with additional design schools to provide both hands-on practical experience for it’s students with meaningful community work.
I was moved when Carey described a response to both projects. The women, who's home was renovated and furnished, separately said, the best part of their new spaces was having, for the first time, “a dining table, a place to sit with their family”.
Her Haven is realizing Carey Dougherty's mission, helping women to create homes for their families that they would not otherwise have. Carey has in the process been bringing together diverse groups, from other non-profits, to businesses, designers and educators.
Table d'Hote , table top and home accessories store, and Romanoff Elements are hosting an event Dec. 5th, with the artwork of Andrea Bonfils and Tulah Jems jewelry. A portion of the evening's sales will help support the mission of Her Haven, Designing a Difference!
Its been wonderful to learn more about Carey's vision and organization that is effectively reaching out and bringing together resources and people who understand the value of a well-designed and comfortable space for all women and families.