Pictures courtesy of A.THERIEN
Put together to feed your head and your house at A.THERIEN, a Cairo studio the place design, objects, books, and artwork collide.
In case you’re driving by means of Cairo in Greene County, you would possibly discover, close to the Stewart’s and the T&C Merchandise meat market, a curious barn of a spot with a banner studying “A.THERIEN” flying out entrance.
Park your automobile, step inside, and also you’ll end up in a sun-flooded house, surrounded by a mixture of craveable furnishings (a pair of Swedish mid-century armchairs and a Civil Battle-era coverlet with a hypnotic geometric sample), paintings, a raft of wonderful books, and the sort of music enjoying that has you opening your Shazam app to seek out out what it’s.
“This was my pandemic venture,” says A.THERIEN’s proprietor Stephen Ellwood. Mixing equal elements vintage furnishings and design store, bookstore, and gallery, it presents a considerate and authentic tackle how we reside and the way we feed our curiosity. Its evocative title, by the way, is that of Alek Therien, a “mysterious French-Canadian woodchopper whom Thoreau thought-about his closest pal,” says Ellwood.
Heeding the Catskills’ Name
Although A.THERIEN opened two years in the past, in some ways, all paths had been main Ellwood to the launch for years. Having spent his childhood summers with kin within the Catskills, he fell in love with the world, mystified by the mountains and foggy valleys.
Whereas he pursued a profession that spanned uncommon books, artwork, and style in New York Metropolis, he started looking for a spot hidden away within the Hudson Valley. About 15 years in the past, he stumbled upon an previous stone farmhouse in Cornwallville that had been constructed by an inventor in 1900. The truth that it was utterly intact and untouched by renovation made it all of the extra fascinating to him, and he scraped collectively his pennies to purchase it.
“It’s all the time been my workshop for fastidiously evolving an inside surroundings, respecting nature and the features of creation,” he says. “However after 15 years, my home outgrew its potential to do this, and I knew I must open some sort of different house.”
Ellwood admits that he’s all the time been harvesting objects and books that will sometime be shared. “These have been particular issues I needed within the orbit of my life one way or the other, however not simply to maintain to myself,” he notes. He had been stockpiling a library in a singular method: “Each time potential, I’ve all the time purchased artists’ books in triplicate,” he explains. “One to maintain, one to offer, one to finally supply.”
Covid, regardless of all its ravages, offered Ellwood with a possibility to concoct a spot for all these lovingly collected objects to lastly greet their public. In spring of 2020, the pandemic paused his NYC profession in pictures and ebook manufacturing, and upstate grew to become his homebase. With a pal and neighbor, who has since moved on to different initiatives, he hatched the concept of placing all his favourite issues—furnishings, objects, artwork, and a design studio apply—into one house that will embrace his distinctive sense of fashion.
Off the Overwhelmed Path
He didn’t need to comply with the standard route of opening a retailer on the primary avenue of a quaint and well-groomed village. Moderately, he selected a spot that, he says, “is on a working farm on a rural freeway, outdoors of city and place. There’s a component of shock and discovery. Many individuals daytrip to go to.”
When he opened his doorways, he was excited to discover a regular move of holiday makers. Some had heard there have been cabinets of uncommon books and volumes of artwork and pictures. Others noticed his Instagram feed (@atherien_upstate) and programmed their GPS. The urge to discover is comprehensible. A.THERIEN’s type is exclusive and unpredictable. “Vernacular furnishings and utilitarian objects of early American farms and houses drive my curiosity,” says Ellwood, “together with the transitional ‘cusp actions’: mid-Twentieth century French and American trendy to ‘70s Italian design that embraced antiquity and industrial minimalism.”
How does this translate into what is offered for buy? At any given second, a Florence Knoll sofa from the Fifties may be fortunately mixing issues up with an Eighteen Eighties quilt. Ellwood additionally shares utilitarian gadgets like glazed stoneware storage jars, and sculptural chopping blocks. These types of objects, when recontextualized, reveal a magnificence and geometry worthy of the highlight. “I search for authenticity with a minimal quantity of intervention, the place the fabric or kind carries the narrative,” explains Ellwood, who’s all the time trying to find new treasures. He spends his free time exploring previous roads and foraging for attention-grabbing objects, maybe together with his canine, Hamish, in tow.
A.THERIEN has fortunately grow to be a gathering spot for lifelong space residents who’re intrigued by antiques and wish to cease by, share, and be taught. “Greene County is an ideal residence for farmers to reside subsequent to artists in unfussy concord,” observes Ellwood.
And guests get drawn into the design dialogue. As an illustration, Ellwood had collected a couple of defunct wasp nests from his property over time. He determined to show them so their intricate structure may very well be appreciated. “Sooner or later, a lady got here by with a truck filled with wasp nests. She had been amazed to see them right here, given their very own particular consideration, and needed her nests to affix mine,” he says. “She was so completely happy to have them land the place they have been liked that she was in tears.”
These interactions resonate deeply for Ellwood. As his work evolves to incorporate interiors initiatives and growing small-edition furnishings items, it’s the shared experiences that gasoline him. He’s dedicated, he says, to “all the time having an open door—aesthetically and actually—to things and to dialog, and all the time being heat and welcoming.” Mission achieved.
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