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Dabney McAvoy: A Homey Home Shop in Great Barrington

Rural Intelligence StyleIt seems Dabney McAvoy could not have opened her new home furnishings store anywhere but this crooked little house on Route 7 near the old Barrington Fairgrounds. After all, her concept was to offer a range of objects and furniture—clean smelling Nest candles ($32), striped wool throws from England ($325), organic cotton sheet sets ($159 - $259), handsome, tailored dog beds ($130 - $170)— that can be layered into your existing decor whether your home is minimalist, modernist or chockablock with antiques. “The concept is all about making a house feel like a home, creating a sense of place, and the physicality of this space shows how that is possible,” she says.

Rural Intelligence StyleMcAvoy’s decorating philosophy is a product of her long, diverse career in fashion and brand-name retail. “I started out as a men’s wear designer for Tommy Hilfiger, which explains my fondness for tailoring and for stripes,” she says. “I worked for Esprit and then I was hired by Eddie Bauer to start a children’s collection that never developed so I started Eddie Bauer Home. After that, I worked at Macy’s and at Target, where I got to collaborate with Thomas O’Brien, but in the end mass retail was not for me.”

Rural Intelligence StyleNow, she’s able to offer a curated selection of products and custom design services for people like herself who have a worldly sensibility and yet are drawn to small-town rural life. “I have been visiting this area regulalry since the 1980s,” says McAvoy, who lives in Mill River, MA. “I have so many friends who live in the Berkshires, Connecticut and Hudson Valley, and I always thought that one day I would live here, too. I just love it.”
Certainly, stopping in the store is like visiting an old friend. The inky blue Rural Intelligence Styleliving room (Benjamin Moore’s “Midnight”) is as cozy as can be with a dog bed pulled up in front of the rough hewn coffee table ($600). “I don’t have a dog but, all of my friends do,” says McAvoy, who does a brisk business in vintage portrait paintings ($125 - $150) that she finds at flea markets. All of the furniture is vintage: McAvoy has painted and rehupolstered pieces—linen covered wingchairs with nailhead trim ($850)  and glossy Chinese Chippendale chairs with French ticking seats ($675)— to give them a crisp new life: “There’s nothing better than mixing the old with the new.”

Dabney McAvoy Home
635 South Main Street, Great Barrington; 413.528.3600
Winter Hours: Friday - Sunday noon - 5 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 02/16/11 at 05:35 AM • Permalink