May 27, 2016
Everything Old Is New Again: Exploring Greenpoint’s New Design District
Greenpointers already know that the neighborhood is a beacon of good taste, and that’s truer than ever thanks to the arrival of a crop of new vintage shops. With three boutiques opening within a few blocks of each other, Franklin Street has become a little design district. Farther afield, four Brooklyn Flea vendors and an Etsy storeowner have joined forces to open a brick-and-mortar selling vintage furniture, home goods, and clothes.
109 Franklin Street
This snug storefront was the first of the neighborhood’s new vintage shops to open and it’s pretty much impossible to pass by it without popping in. Owner Kyla Burney actually had a studio space over at 67 West Street, but never got foot traffic. When she got a call from the owner of this space, she jumped at the chance to open Adaptations, which sells a curated selection of vintage items that leans toward a California-boho esthetic.
Originally from Texas, Burney has actually gone as far as California to source vintage goods, hauling her finds back in a van with her Westie, Matisse, in tow. Her resourcefulness shows: there are ‘70s wicker peacock chairs, ‘70s chrome-and-glass side tables, Moroccan rugs, and ‘60s dainty porcelain teacups. One day I stopped by and walked out with a set of ‘70s tumblers with an abstract baby blue cloud design that now live happily in my home bar. Another day I left with a blue-and-white soup bowl. Every visit brings a covetable new discovery.
116 Franklin Street
Six months after opening Adaptations, Burney opened Porter James—the moniker is a combination of her two grandfathers’ names. Fittingly, the shop has more of a traditionally masculine edge, selling mid-century pieces, like a Hans Wegner headboard from the ‘60s, boxy ‘50s nightstands, and a gorgeously crafted John Stuart dresser with a geometric design carved into the wooden doors from the early ‘70s. Burney jokes that Adaptations represents her single self, while Porter James represents her in a relationship. She says the latter attracts a different demographic, including people passing by who don’t normally consider themselves vintage shoppers.
Walking into Porter James, you feel like you’re entering a friend’s very chic, grown-up apartment. Each item is in its proper place, so it’s easy to imagine how great that leather club chair or brass bar tool set would look in your own home. For Burney, who has been collecting since she was little, what started as a hobby has turned into a career. Her grandmother encouraged her to start a thimble collection, which, she says, “taught me to pay attention to the things other people would look past.”
You & Yours Fine Vintage
77 Franklin Street
This bright airy boutique beckons passersby into its high-ceilinged space with a well-curated selection of vintage furniture, tableware, and decorative items. And it’s no wonder why the shop feels so edited—proprietor Allegra Muzillo formerly worked in publishing, contributing to New York Magazine, InStyle, and Cottages & Gardens, among others. She brings that editorial eye to everything from sourcing vintage pieces at estate sales and auctions along the East Coast to displaying them in beautifully arranged tablescapes with black-and-gold rimmed plates, plants, and teapots. She makes gathering an eclectic mix of stylish pieces seem easy—Peruvian textiles over here, Middle Eastern baskets there—and says, “I would never carry anything in here unless I would have it in my own home.” She plans to offer design-consulting services as well.
Dobbins Street Co-op
37 Norman Avenue
You might have to go a bit out of your way to find the Dobbins Street Co-op, which opened in March, but it’s worth it for its selection of affordable vintage finds. Run by four Brooklyn Flea vendors and an Etsy shop owner, the large storefront sits on the corner of a warehouse-lined block near the Greenpoint-Williamsburg border. Inside, you’ll find fun and funky items like rattan tables, Mexican blankets, fur throws, arrows, botanical prints, vintage clothes, and an abundance of plant holders. Discouraged by rising rents, Courtney Wagner, Nick Longhi, Cassidy Claus, Sara Daha, and Kalyn McCutcheon decided to join forces, share expenses, and run the shop. Each co-op member works the register one or two days a week, which frees them up to source items on other days. Longhi reupholsters Victorian sofas and settees in African mudcloth. McCutcheon, who runs the Etsy shop GallivantingGirls, makes driftwood plant holders. Wagner says they strive to make sure all the items are affordable.
Photos by Caroline Petters
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