Oct 25, 2013
02:14 PM
Style & Shopping

Target Darling Privet House Among Shops Making Tiny Connecticut Village a Destination

Target Darling Privet House Among Shops Making Tiny Connecticut Village a Destination

Douglas P. Clement/Connecticut Magazine

A Fornasetti Profumi display at Privet House in New Preston.

When it comes to sourcing all manner of stylish things—whether for holiday gifts, for the home or for oneself—the tiny village of New Preston, Conn., (a section of Washington) can be perfectly described by the often co-opted and clichéd declaration that less is more.

Here it’s not a cliché, though, especially because of what might be seen as the resonance between a village rich beyond expectation in men’s and women’s fashions, antiques, home and garden design building blocks and accentuating flourishes, stylistic fillips of all sorts to surprise and delight, and the kind of things that give traditional gravitas to lives well-lived, including fine stationery, for example.

It’s fitting to recall, or to learn, that the origin of phrase less is more comes from a Robert Browning poem of the same name, and that the words were said by a character based on a real person, Andrea del Sarto, a Florentine High Renaissance painter.

The Italian High Renaissance and New Preston—yes, there’s a pronounced synergy in that equation, which will become apparent to anyone who visits during this increasingly festive time of year to discover all the bounty, and fine dining, the village has to offer.

The merchants, whose ranks were bolstered recently by the arrival of Privet House (left), the now-nationally-known favorite of Target, have smartly joined forces and collaborate on a website that offers all the necessary information for those planning to visit—including not only things like a list of shops, and links to their sites, but also a calendar of upcoming events, of which there are more than you might expect.

Coming up this Sunday (Oct. 27), for example, Pergola Home & Garden (below right) will present Sangha, “a work of 1000 pots, each one completely unique, by artist Kathryn Walker—a store-transforming exhibition and sale through November.” Guests are invited to come raise a glass at the opening from 3 to 5 p.m.

Nov. 1 through Nov. 3 is the annual pre-holiday gift card weekend at J. Seitz & Co., a bastion of fashion for bodies and homes. Those who participate will receive gift cards to use in December for each dollar spent. (Email j.seitz@snet.net for details)

On Nov. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m., D.K. Schulman Design will host a book-signing with former Ralph Lauren protégé Jeffrey Banks for his new book about Perry Ellis. Also at D.K. Schulman, on Nov. 30, from noon to 4 p.m., Jody Lyons of Joli Jewelry, who creates limited edition pieces using vintage and new materials, will be showing her designs.

The signature event for this season is The Fifth Annual New Preston Winter Stroll, which will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 7. On that date, visitors will encounter a village—near beautiful Lake Waramaug and close to other shopping and lifestyle destinations such as New Milford and Litchfield—that is “filled with lights for the holidays, [has] creative window displays everywhere, [is offering] drinks and treats in every shop, and yes, The Social Gents Club (who grace-noted our Summer Festival) will play an acoustic set at Dawn Hill Antiques." (A display at J. Seitz & Co., left)

To learn more about that event and New Preston in general, see the village’s website. There you will encounter the merchants' take on their special little place: “The Village of New Preston is one of the most unique places to visit in Litchfield County. This walkable historic village is filled with owner-operated fine eateries, and shops run by highly creative local people selling antiques, home design and clothing collections, cookware, stationery, fine wines, garden accessories and books. All in one location!”

If that sounds at all like self-serving spin, it’s actually just an honest assessment; that’s how cool New Preston is—so cool in fact that the village has its very own waterfall (left) to provide a nonpareil scenic backdrop for the strolling, shopping and wining and dining.

For the latter, New Preston has options in at least four categories: The Smithy is a resource for local and organic products that can be taken home as ingredients for a fine warm meal on a chilly night; County Wine & Spirits nearby has the fine wine aspect of that well-covered; Nine Main is the hotspot for lunch, muffins, scones and coffee, and Oliva Café, with its innovative Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, is a dinner destination. Just down the road is the popular White Horse country pub.


Not bad for a village that very nearly fits in the palm of (a giant’s) hand. Also impressive is the caliber of the folks doing business here.

It was apparent early last month, when a “monster 40-foot container … pulled up and parked in front of Privet House. Orange safety cones were soon in place and the culmination of a summer’s worth of shopping began to unfold.”

A release from the New Preston folks explained:

“Both Paulette and John Peden of Dawn Hill Antiques (below right) and Suzanne Cassano and Richard Lambertson of Privet House and Volume 1 Antiques had traveled earlier in the summer to Belgium, Paris and Provence to purchase a container full of antique furniture and decorative items to grace their respective stores during the fall season. According to Suzanne Cassano of Privet House, ‘Although we love shopping in our own country there is no substitute for the wonderful items that can be found in Europe.’ Paulette Peden commented, ‘The kind of unique pieces that I am looking for seem to always turn up overseas and this year our trip to Belgium was particularly successful.'”

In terms of the scene after that container rolled up. “By 10 a.m. … the doors of the container were opened and goods were piled up to the very top. Ladders were produced, as it was impossible to reach anything from the ground. Then a group effort began to get it all out and unwrapped. All in all about 15 people worked for hours to empty the container and to ferry each piece to its respective home. Once it was all done and a second large truck pulled away packed to the ceiling with discarded boxes everyone involved commented on the team spirit and Richard Lambertson summed it up: “Who thought that so much work could actually be fun!”

Richard Lamberston (below), by the way, with his partner John Truex, is also responsible for the design and development of Tiffany & Co.’s  handbags and accessories.

So that’s the caliber of what’ happening in New Preston.

To connect with New Preston, see the village’s website, which offers, among its sections, the list of shops below:



Target Darling Privet House Among Shops Making Tiny Connecticut Village a Destination

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