Boerum House and Home is meant to evoke the modern Brooklyn residence. How would you define that?
Brooklyn is a hotbed of output from the creative class, and Boerum Hill is one of the great Brooklyn neighborhoods. For us, that means it’s an exciting place to live with traditional architecture, in an exciting town, in a modern way. From where we stand, the modern Brooklyn home is a world-class backdrop for the stories, interests, and pursuits of a life well lived.
How did you select the brands and designers to feature in the shop? Is there a particular sensibility that unites the collection?
We hand selected the products to be best-in-class design from best-in class-designers and makers with enough edge and wit to stand the test of time.
How does the shop support local artisans and makers and why was that an important element?
We’ve got a number of pieces from Brooklyn-based makers and craftspeople. Supporting them by giving them a platform to further get their stories and products out is one way of giving back. The other way is showcasing local artisans in the context of the larger world. Seeing local product alongside other pieces gathered from around the globe reveals the quality of the design that comes out of the borough. Address: 314 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11201
Can you tell us a bit about how you found the storefront and what the space was like pre-renovation? How does the architecture complement the pieces for sale?
The site came on the market (quietly) and we were really taken by the opportunity afforded by the unusual space. There just isn’t anything in the neighborhood that compares. We’ve got a lot of exposure from the street, which brings in natural light and the front room. With the double height ceiling, it's a dramatic backdrop for our products. Prior to our renovation, the front and back were completely disconnected. We took the dividing wall down and opened up the space to bring some of the light and air deeper in the store. And from a programming perspective, we wanted to showcase pieces from the home in the areas that they would be used, so we designed “rooms” with basic functions: kitchen, bath, and living.
For people who are starting out and looking to furnish their spaces, what do you think the essential items are to get?
The most important items to bring to any space are the ones you personally connect with. A photo of a place that you've been to is much more than a just a pretty picture. A usable ceramic mug that reminds you of your youth brings more meaning and joy to your space. If you love to cook, having proper cookware isn’t just decoration for the space; it’s giving you the tools you need to do what you love. And if you love those items because they are well-designed and beautiful, you will enjoy them that much more. We’ve selected things that we hope people will love. What it's all about: "The Boerum House and Home is our take on a modern, eclectic home shop. It’s the unapologetic expression and point of view of the founders and creative team," says Anthony Sperduti.
How have customers’ expectations of retail experiences shifted in the last few years? What do they come to expect from brick-and-mortar establishments? Has e-commerce impacted what you’re trying to accomplish with Boerum House and Home?
The world is a very different place than it was 15 years ago before the era of everything available to everyone always via the internet. The reasons to go to a store versus a website are simple: to have an experience, to get information from a knowledgeable sales person, to touch the product in person and to discover something you didn’t expect. The Boerum House and Home is a retail destination that offers a smart collection of items not found under one roof anywhere else in the world. Philosophy: "The driving philosophy for the store is that personal style is about confidence and curiosity," Sperduti says. "We’ve scoured our Rolodexes, bookmarks, and friends' homes and apartments to assemble and showcase the work of makers and artisans who we think are creating world-class items for the home." Designers include Doug Johnston, Haptic Lab, Uhuru Design, Wary Meyers, Patrick Townsend, Clare Vivier, and more.
What piece in the shop is especially meaningful to you?
The collection that everyone in our offices seems to be drawn to is an assortment of vintage ashtrays from venerated New York institutions—like 21, the Stork Club, and Peter Lugers, among others—each with a full set of matchbooks from the era. They are kept under lock and key, so they stay intact as an entire lot and don't innocently disappear in the night! Weirdest question from a customer: "The store is set up like a home with different rooms where we showcase appropriate product," Sperduti says. "The other day someone asked if they could take a nap in the bedroom because it looked so inviting."
What’s your go-to housewarming gift?
We have a throw pillow that can be custom embroidered with your personal WiFi password. As a housewarming gift, it’s got it all. View our slideshow to learn more about the shop and see additional images of its interior.