For my first ever trip to Shelter Island (Bring cash! The ferry, as I soon learned, doesn’t accept cards), I certainly got a pretty extensive tour of what the town has to offer. This weekend, six of the island’s home, interior design and furniture stores are collaborating to offer a design walk (though truthfully, it’s more of a drive).
I was able to get a little preview of what this design walk will entail and talk to the designers and shop owners. My first reaction was surprise: Six separate home-themed stores all on the tiny Shelter Island? But as I walked around each store, I saw they each had their own very distinct style.
First, we had Marika’s Eclectic Boutique, an unassuming second-hand and vintage furniture shop. From the road, you wouldn’t know what treasures sit inside this building. Walking around that store, I truly felt like a kid in a candy store. I could have spent all day rifling through the layers of credenzas, chests and side tables. Each room seemed like a different decade, full of treasures from that time, and it all just kept going.
There’s little need to buy new when there’s so much furniture out there already, owner Marika Kaasik argued. “And this is better quality and cheaper and has more character,” she added.
Next, it was onto Fredric Bernstein Design. Bernstein himself was the one who had the idea for the design walk, but more on that later.
His store was a full fastforward from the last, catapulting me into this decade. Berstein calls his style “fine decor punk,” and it couldn’t be a more fitting description. Massive ceramic and brass table lamps, egg-shaped chairs with purple cushions and a brown and yellow rug filled the showroom. It was fun and colorful.
Driving back down towards the water, I stopped in Shelter Island Heights and walked into Ram Design. This shop brings together elements of nature and combines them into furniture. Live edge tables, teal tie dye throw pillows, bright yellow and orange triangles on a canvas artwork — this store was full of texture, which it made it that much more inviting. On Saturday, many of the designers and artists whose work is showcased there will be present at the store.
“I think I’m most excited for people to meet the artists,” Cristina Peffer, the owner, said. “I just think it’s going to be nice for people to develop a deeper connection.”
Just a few doors down is Heiberg Cummings Design, a tiny, completely white-washed store. It was calming and minimalistic. Even the two owners, Bernt Heiberg and William Cummings, fit in with their white outfits and blonde hair. The aesthetic was antique and cozy, but not cluttered, and the design style is pure Scandinavian minimalism.
The final stop on the tour was just up the road — Patricia McGrath Design. And just when I thought there were no more design styles to be had, modern coastal comes in. This showroom exemplifies exactly the style you think of with tasteful beach homes. Clean, light furniture, with accents of blue and elements of nature. It wasn’t too on the nose, but a subtle incorporation of the sea through the artwork (vibrant photographs of a Hawaiian beach) or decor (a lamp made from driftwood).
Also included in the design walk will be Dirt, a design store with a special interest in nature located just around the corner from Ram Design in Shelter Island Heights.
Bernstein said the idea for the event came to him one day as he drove past Heiberg Cummings and Ram Design, “next to each other, both looking really beautiful. And I thought ‘I’m so glad they’re here, because it just ups everything. There is a creative design community here.’” His goal with the design walk is to bring awareness and cultivate that community.
The little taste I got of Shelter Island’s design scene was impressive: The variety of style and aesthetics just about covers it all. Theoretically, at the end having seen all these stores and talked to the owners and designers, you could give your home a completely new look without ever leaving Shelter Island. At very least, it made for an inspiring day trip.
The first annual Shelter Island Design Walk will start at Marika’s on Sunday, August 30 at 9 a.m. All of the stores listed below will be open all day, and you are encouraged to go to any of them at any time. The designated times shown below indicate when the designers or owners will be giving a small talk about their design style and what they have to offer. There will be music and drinks, and a portion of proceeds from sales made on that day will benefit the Shelter Island Food Pantry. For more info, follow @shelterislanddesignwalk.
1st Annual Shelter Island Design Walk Schedule:
Marika’s: 9am -10am, 6 South Ferry Road, “Treasure Finder Talk”
Fredric Bernstein Design: 10:30am – 11:30am, 36 North Ferry Road, “Fine Decor Punk”
Ram Design: 12pm – 1pm, 181 North Ferry Road, “Nature in Design”
Dirt: 1:30pm – 2:30pm, 184 North Ferry Road, “Philosophy of Home”
Heiberg Cummings: 3pm – 4pm, 184 North Ferry Road, “Introducing Dienst + Dotter”
Patricia McGrath Design: 4:30pm – 5:30pm, 11 Grand Avenue, “Modern Coastal Living”