From the December/January 2013 Issue:

Design Destination Maplewood

    Text and photos: Robin Amster |

Home-design-related shops in charming Maplewood offer an eclectic mix of vintage, reclaimed and chic contemporary finds. While visiting this Essex County town, also enjoy local restaurants, sights and other businesses.

97 Baker Street
In a corner of this shop sits a huge distressed window that owner David Heffernan plans to “outfit” with mirrors. That piece of architectural salvage is emblematic of much of what there is to discover here.

Heffernan, who focuses on “the rustic and reclaimed, reused and repurposed,” features a mix of antique, vintage and new items, including furniture, accessories, mirrors, chandeliers, lamps and artwork. He specializes in transforming pieces like that old window and in building tables and other furniture from reclaimed materials. “When I talk to customers I can tell whether my store will work for them,” he says. “There are no slick, modern things. Occasionally I have a midcentury piece but one that’s worn, and it’s beautiful because of that. I’m into special painted finishes that are highly distressed with multiple layers of paint.”

Heffernan has a varied background that’s taken him in several creative directions. He’s a former illustrator of album covers for major rock bands, including the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. He’s also a designer of restaurant interiors, a photographer and an artist.

Heffernan finds his merchandise through real estate agents and attorneys handling estates. He prides himself on being “an incredibly smart buyer,” enabling him to price accordingly. “I charge half of what most stores like mine charge,” he says. “This is a place where you can really score something.”

There may soon be a new café within Revolution offering coffee, tea and baked goods, Heffernan says. “And you’d be able to buy the table you’re sitting at.” He’s also exploring opening a shop inside Hoboken Hot House (a home and garden store on Washington Street in Hoboken) that would sell iron furniture, garden gates and shutters.

Store hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday,
by appointment. 973-970-5400.

100 Baker Street
This bright, colorful shop is packed with a surprisingly large array of goods that are upbeat and unexpected. Owner Cindy Potters calls the look Boho Chic. “It’s kind of contemporary with an earthy feel; I guess you’d say warm modern,” she says. An example is a line of lamps with clean lines, “but they’re made of papier-mâché, which gives them warmth,” Potters says.

Shed carries lamps, pillows, cowhide and sheepskin rugs, mirrors, vases, candles, stools and side tables and a wide variety of Jonathan Adler designs. Vintage items include antlers, antique bookends and funky boxes. There’s also photography, prints, coffee-table books, and art and design books. Shed style makes it easy to mix these finds with modern, transitional and traditional interiors, Potters says.
“I love to mix the old and the new,” she adds. “Too much of one or the other is not great. When mixed together it all pops.”

Potters, who as she puts it, “is obsessed with home décor,” was a buyer for Macy’s and oversaw the development of the Givenchy costume jewelry line. She spent some 10 years writing about interior design and home products for the Star-Ledger.
“I’m very conscious of price,” she says. “I try to have a mix of things so someone on a budget can come in and find something special.”

Store hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, by appointment. 973-763-5500,

Perch Home
9 Highland Place
Owner Michele Bessey calls Perch Home “a lifestyle shop for this area. We have a lot of families who have moved here from New York City and Brooklyn,” she says. “They have traditional homes but they want that edge—an edgier version of vintage or, you might say, a modern farmhouse.”

Bessey says they find that in her shop’s collection of one-of-a-kind painted cabinets, vintage pottery, architectural salvage, rugs, frames, candles and artwork. Perch also offers custom-order furniture. And while the foundation of the business is home décor, Bessey has expanded her merchandise to include fine linens, jewelry, letterpress greeting cards and gifts.

“It’s important to me that things look like they’ve been collected over time,” Bessey says. “So many people want to have things done right away—that doesn’t make sense.” She believes decorating is very personal. “I can tell when I walk into a home and someone else has created the space,” she says. “There’s a way for people to create their own great home; it’s a mix of high and low, having one big piece in each room instead of a lot of little things.”

Opening Perch was a natural for Bessey, who formerly worked in television production. “My favorite thing to do was play around in my house,” she says.
Bessey has designed the shop as a place where average families can find something they can buy. “I hate when you walk into a beautiful store and you can’t buy anything,” she says.

Store hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. 973-821-4852,