By Kathryn G. Menu
Randy Kolhoff, an artist and owner of Black Swan Antiques, is interested in unique home furnishings easily tied to an individual style, but very much drawn out of an Americana aesthetic. His Bridgehampton store retains the homey scent of reclaimed, antique lumber, and a quirky assortment of decorative pieces — think an antique ship light, or aerodynamic missile radar housing unit, and of course the whales Kolhoff hand carves — to compliment his furniture.
And when Kolhoff opens a Main Street, Sag Harbor space next month – in the former home of Jill’s — he will also partner with a company he said this week compliments both his furniture and design style — Eliza Gatfield’s Quogue-based Custom Cool, a luxury design company that produces tailored, custom rugs and decorative accessories for the interior design market.
“They have a really talented design team and their rugs are simply magnificent,” said Kolhoff. “They really show off the furniture so well. When you see what this store is going to look like — it will be above and beyond.”
Custom Cool’s colorful, modern — and occasionally playful — designer rugs are designed by the Custom Cool team, but produced in partnership with GoodWeave, a company dedicated to ending child labor, certifying factories who refuse to use child labor. Since its inception, Custom Cool has evolved to incorporate more than just rugs into its line, but also upholstery fabrics, handbags, pashminas as well as furniture.
Gatfield said the Sag Harbor store is being designed with the concept of an atelier, rather than simply a retail store.
“The idea is that we will offer very personalized service and a hands-on approach,” she said.
Gatfield said a number of new products in the Custom Cool line, including table linens, bed linens and bath mats, will be on display for the first time in the Sag Harbor store. This year’s trends, she said include the use of emerald green – Pantone’s color of the year – but also classic East End color combinations like a blue palate complimented by natural white colors and the bold and bright patterns that have put Custom Cool on the map.
The setup of the store, said Gatfield will allow the space to be carved into rooms, showcasing Custom Cool’s lines around Black Swan Antiques furniture. A Hamptons living room in whites, blue and natural wood tones, a Hemingway room featuring darker, antique pieces with Kolhoff’s bent towards mixing in more modern, clean lines. A dining room and bedroom will also be featured in the space.
For the Sag Harbor aficionado, perhaps one of the most exciting design elements in the store will be a wall of Kolhoff’s folk art whales, hand carved out of reclaimed wood. For Kolhoff, who has lived on the East End for 13 years and is a Sag Harbor resident, the whales – like his paintings – are artistic expressions that allow him to escape the rigors of every day life, a meditation of sorts.
Although for Kolhoff, who has run Black Swan Antiques for the last eight years, being in the home furnishings business is very much a life lived in love with his profession. Walking around his store, Kolhoff is excited about his inventory, and particularly its uniqueness – like the reclaimed antique wood, four-door cabinet crafted with old windowpanes and a zinc countertop, or a piece resembling a stand up medicine cabinet with drawers made of old lockers and a wooden table top of reclaimed bowling alley floor.
“I am trying to go with a different style in my collection,” said Kolhoff. “I have a cottagey farm, folky feel here, but I try to stay chic and clean and keep up with trends. Everything is one-of-a-kind, which lends itself to individual taste. You can find stamped out furniture everywhere, but not here. What I am looking for is for people to say, ‘I have never seen something like that,’ and I think Sag Harbor will give me the opportunity to market to a whole new audience.”