Retailer Profile—Dabney McAvoy Home, Great Barrington, MA
There are some things that are just fate. Just before Christmas I was in the car on my way from Boston to Great Barrington for an appointment. I had a little extra time to kill so I drove through town. Along Main Street I saw a beautiful new sign heralding Dabney McAvoy Home.
The minute I walked in the door I was smitten. I saw this love seat covered in vintage ticking paired with this orange and gray wool blanket.
I loved the combination of old and new, vintage, painted and cool. I walked around taking pictures like crazy.
I couldn’t help but think this would be a perfect spot for Dunes and Duchess. I had a couple of our Italian Red candelabras with me so I mustered up some courage and approached owner Dabney McAvoy. She couldn’t have been nicer or more receptive and within a short amount of time I was headed out to my car to grab a candelabra to show her. A few minutes later we were finding it a new home in the store!
We are blown away by Dabney’s style and asked her to sit down with us to do a little D&D Q&A.
Dunes and Duchess: When did you open?
Dabney McAvoy: November 20, 2010
D&D: How would you describe your store’s style?
Dabney: Classic style with a modern sensibility. I love the mix of vintage and new, neutrals with color, layers of textures and patterns, especially Indian wood block prints and menswear stripes, all punctuated with hits of black and white.
D&D: What are some of your favorite objects you have in the store right now?
Well, of course, your candelabra……a real show stopper! And, in red, perfect for the holiday season. Also, in the “new” category, a great looking 60″ round dining room table, made in North Carolina by Design Workshop. It has an ebonized oak top sitting on a heavy, open-work steel base like a cantilevered bridge. In the vintage category, a wonderful glass front bookcase, about 5’5″ high and around 5′ wide. It is black and has that wonderful patina of a life well lived. I’ve styled the shelves with covered books in brown kraft paper and small found objects in glass or tones of white/ivory.
D&D: Do you change the look of the store seasonally?
Dabney: I’m constantly changing the look of the store, moving things around as larger pieces, mostly furniture, gets sold and I bring in new product. I try to keep it fresh for my customers. Because I live in the Berkshires where many New Yorkers have weekend homes, my summer season is really big! So I bring in more vintage garden and outdoor product, which I use throughout the store. I also have a wonderful courtyard entrance to the back of the shop, with a sprawling old rose bush, full of lovely scent as people enter the shop. So I try to enhance this outdoor space as well.
D&D: What were you doing before you opened Dabney McAvoy home?
Dabney: I originally started out as a designer of menswear, moved into designing kidswear, and eventually into designing for the home, where the bulk of my experience is.
D&D: What made you want to open a store?
Dabney: I wanted to bring together all my years of design experience into one place, and to give voice to my ideas of design integrity. I find vintage furniture and “objets” with great classic lines and I re-purpose these through new upholstery or refinishing. In a sense re-cycling, but taking what exists and freshening them up. When I buy new, I try to bring in as much artisan or made in the USA product as I can or, if imported, then products with integrity.
D&D: What are your impressions of the Dunes and Duchess candelabra that you have in the store?
Dabney: It’s fabulous, and as mentioned above, a real show stopper! I hear the word, “wow” a lot. I love that it has integrity and that it is made in the USA.
D&D: How do you suggest to customers how they should use the candelabra?
Dabney: Through the power of suggestion and display. It was originally placed on a bar, under 1940′s painting, and it had a very clubby vintage look. Then I moved it to a dining table, that was set up to look like a holiday meal, with all the place settings. In the midst of lots of glass and porcelain it looked perfect for holiday entertaining. It is now on another table, raised on a cube, in the center. It is surrounded by mercury compotes and hurricanes, filled with curly willow and bittersweet berries and looks very festive and decorative. It’s a great design and can be used in so many ways.
Please check out Dabney McAvoy Home at 635 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. You can reach them at 413-528-3600 or at http://dabneymcavoyhome.com/
Here’s the candelabra that Dabney has in her store. It is the Four-arm Italian Red Candelabra.
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