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Gilded Moon Framing Rises Anew in Millerton

Rural Intelligence StyleJill and Paul Choma are betting again on the future of Millerton. Six years ago, the couple who’d been running a framing business out of their home in East Fishkill in southern Dutchess County, decided to open a custom framing shop in Millerton. “It was a leap of faith,” says Jill, though Paul notes they were sure from looking at the “homes and complementary businesses in surrounding towns” that there would be enough art-loving customers to support their venture. Now, after losing their lease on Main Street (the building was sold and Little Gates Wine Merchants will move in this spring), they have bought and renovated the 1903 brick bank building next to Saperstein’s (which was most recently home to M&T Bank.)

Rural Intelligence Style“Losing our lease was the best thing that could have happened to us,” says Jill, who is pleased to be her own landlord and to own not only a building with killer views in the heart of town but an adjacent parcel that they envision as a small sculpture park. “We got a great deal on the property because the bank was concerned about the type of tenant who would come in and we had demonstrated a commitment to the town,” says Paul as he gets ready to hang art on the freshly painted walls.  “It didn’t look like this when we started work this summer.” Indeed, the Chomas have done a sensitive renovation,  removing all traces of 1950s “improvements.” They have kept the original ceiling and woodwork, uncovered a fireplace that was boarded up and polished the handsome steel vault door. (They plan to make the vault a nook where children can play while their parents make framing decisions.)

The Chomas stock a breathtaking assortment of frames. “We have thousands to choose from,” says Jill, who is partial to the hand-carved and gilded frames that they get from companies in Sante Fe, France and Italy. “But most of our stock is made in America.” To take the guess work out of the framing process, Gilded Moon has a state-of-the-art computer-and-camera system that allows you to see how your specific piece of art will look with various mats and frames before you make a selection. “We like to give people lots of options—from the affordable to the very high end,” she says.

Rural Intelligence StyleWhile they are the go-to framers for The White Gallery and Eckert Fine Art (which will be relocating from Kent to Millerton in the spring), the Chomas are not art snobs. Indeed, they do a big business in shadow boxes, creating artful displays for memorabilia such as a sports jerseys, horse ribbons or a collection of buttons. Their shop has a homey feel with sofas, armchairs and tables stacked with design books because Gilded Moon has been affiliated with Hammertown Barn for the past two years, offering a Millerton showcase for the Pine Plains retailer. “It’s been a great collaboration that’s brought new customers to both businesses,” says Paul. “I think that’s why our business grew so much last year.”

The Chomas are especially proud of the exterior changes they’ve made to their building. “Judy Murphy of Old Farm Nursery gave us great advice,” says Paul, noting that she suggested they dig up some of the asphalt in the rear parking lot to create a small garden. “Judy also told us that if we wanted to make the store welcoming, we should build a terrace in front where we can have benches in warm weather and we followed her advice.” With new lighting, shrubbery and signage, the Chomas have created an appropriately picture-perfect setting for their business.

Gilded Moon Framing
17 John Street, Millerton, NY; 518.789.3428
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Related post:
Shoptimism: Four Merchants with High Hopes! (July 15, 2009)

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