When Laura O’Brien opened Fez & Ivy in 2019, she maximized the space in her narrow shop to showcase a chic selection of antiques, rugs, furniture, home accessories and gifts.
In the three years since, she’s quickly outgrown the space and recently pursued an opportunity to expand her Main Road storefront when a hair salon next door shut down earlier this year.
“The rugs were overtaking the store — I really needed the room for the rugs,” she said.
O’Brien recently reopened in the expanded space after renovations that included taking down the wall between the two spaces, removing a dropped ceiling, painting, new lighting and other cosmetic upgrades that revealed a brick wall behind worn beadboard.
The new space has doubled the shop’s footprint and allowed O’Brien to broaden her range of offerings. “Now, I feel like I can have bigger pieces of furniture and spread out the rugs,” she explained, in addition to stocking textiles, antique and vintage glassware, art, note cards, soap, candles, jewelry and other gift items.
A Greenport resident and interior designer, O’Brien has worked in visuals and merchandising for Anthropologie as well as in design for the Rockwell Group and in architectural sales.
Rugs are one of her favorite design elements and she’s excited to have space to properly display them now.
“You can just start with the rug and go from there,” she said. “I do have jute and cotton and wool new rugs for more modern or beachy vibes if someone doesn’t want to do vintage or antique rugs. There’s options and people mix them up all the time or layer them.”
The front of the store is now used to display furniture and antiques, largely sourced from local estate sales and trips to places like the Brimfield Antique Flea Market in Massachusetts.
Fez & Ivy is one of several Southold shops to announce expansions in recent months. Lori Guyer of White Flower Farmhouse opened White Flower Garden, which focuses on garden and outdoor living, across the street from her flagship store and Norine Pennacchia of TouchGOODS also expanded her home dining and entertaining offerings into the adjoining space formerly occupied by Complement the Chef.
“I didn’t want to leave Southold, so I had to take the opportunity,” O’Brien said. “I love my neighbors, the other businesses. Everyone’s so supportive here and we all have different tastes and looks.”
O’Brien’s shop is a unique amalgam of traditional and modern, local and global.
She explained the shop’s name: “Fez” represents the global inspiration of rugs sourced from Iran, Turkey and India and “Ivy” is a nod to traditional Americana.
O’Brien is also conscious about sustainability, sourcing products such as bags made from recycled plastic, natural textiles and recycled wool blankets.
Sourcing vintage items, she said, is also incredibly sustainable.
“There’s a lot of waste, especially with trends,” she said. “I like these rugs that can last 100 years, you can move it around and it doesn’t have to stay in the same room. You’re investing in it. It’s upcycling.”
Fez & Ivy is located at 53800 Main Road in Southold and is open six days a week: Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.