Dawn Hill Also Rises
Sitting atop a rise across from the Falls of New Preston, Dawn Hill Antiques mirrors an airy, light-filled Swedish country manor. “On a trip to Paris years ago I saw a Swedish clock with its wonderful pale grey paint and carvings, and I just fell in love with it,” says owner Paulete Peden, explaining how her business morphed from a modest collection of transferware to its current focus on Gustavian pieces, which capture the pale gray, blue, and green essence of the neoclassical movement.
Dawn Hill serves up a little slice of the EU in northwestern Connecticut, an artful oasis of international flavor in the blink-and-you-miss-it, yet wonderfully appointed, small town. Peden, who runs the store along with husband John, a noted photographer/musician, says that she “got into the antiques business slightly late in the game. We bought a house up in Sharon and started to go to a few auctions and did a few little antique centers here and there.” Housed in an historic 19th century building, the store strikes an elegant balance between icy blue calm and milky cream hues. True to the Pedens’ roots, Dawn Hill features a broad collection of 19th-century china, including blue and white transferware plates and platters, French Majolica and lusterware, in addition to the cultured collection of 18th and 19th century antiques.
French and Swedish chandeliers ($295 & up) from the 19th century and authentic 18th and 19th century flower paintings create focal points for the timeless vignettes expertly displayed around the space, featuring hundred-year-old footubs ($1,050 and up), floral vessels, urns, and a restored selection of late 18th century Swedish tall-case Mora clocks ($8,000 and up). Peden brings garden elements indoors, from the broad selection of jardinières, antique watering cans, and garden tools interspersed throughout the 2,000-square-foot space to the white painted wrought-iron bistro sets ($1,500 and up) that serve in place of a classic kitchen dinette. For furniture, she leans more towards clean lines. “I love things with marble, like the French confectioners table [$3,400 and up], but the style of the Swedish pieces are much simpler. It’s paired down and not as fussy.”
Just in case the Rococo-through-Gustavian period pieces are a bit budget busting, the Pedens have also wisely added Dish, located in a sunny side room of Dawn Hill’s first floor, which carries a strong, functional selection of 19th century white ironstone, platters, plates, and teapots as well as complete sets of neutral palate dishes, Victorian sterling and silver plates, antique French champagne flutes and a collection of etched French glasses. Frances Palmer ceramics ($100 and up), the uber French Diptyque candles, and home fragrances like Feuille de Lavande ($60) also fill the space.
There’s also “The Upstairs,” a second floor section where the Pedens play host to a handful of seasoned vendors, including The Nemati Collection, which specializes in unusual artistic rugs with some mid-century modern furniture pieces thrown in for good measure; designer Barry Strom, who moved his 20-year-old American and Continental furniture and lighting business to the light-filled space a year ago; and Glenn Allard‘s Patina Art and Antiques, which boasts a collection of early brass and copper accessories such as a near dozen of well-maintained copper teapots. Rounding out the collection are Peden’s Vintage, where John Peden channels his inner rock star with enough vintage instruments to give it a Sun Studios East vibe (a collection of Pre-CBS Fender amplifiers, $600 and up, and his own curated vinyl selections, $12 each) and Paulette’s own wallet-friendly Brocante, a Paris flea market style shoppette that combines a whimsical mix of color, garden antiques, vintage pieces, textiles, and early 19th century paintings (think Porte de Clignancourt). Of the beguiling collective all housed within her space, Paulette says, “We’ve found that having other dealers in the same store with us offers the antique lover more choices and helps bring back the village of New Preston to the ‘Antique Destination’ it once was.” —Dale Stewart
Dawn Hill Antiques
11 Main Street
New Preston, CT
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,Thursday-Monday
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday