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Privet House Hits a Bullseye with Pop-Up Shops at Target

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Suzanne Cassano & Richard Lambertson at Privet House in Warren, CT.

Do you remember the movie The Miracle on 34th Street when Macy’s Santa Claus, who believed he was the real Kris Kringle, advised the department store’s customers to shop at Gimbel’s for certain items? In the same counterintuitive spirit,  Rural Intelligence is encouraging you to shop “local” at Target beginning on Sunday, May 6. “Everyone I know will be at the Target in Torrington,” says Suzanne Cassano, the co-owner of four-year-old Privet House, the über-stylish home emporium in Litchfield County, which will have pop-up shops in some 1,800 Target stores for the next six weeks (or less if their merchandise sells out quickly). How did the Minneapolis-based mass retailer stumble upon Privet House, an off-the-beaten-path destination for design aficionados who’ve come to expect that owners Suzanne Cassano and Richard Lambertson will dazzle them with impeccable objects in meticulous vignettes (which RI discovered four years ago: “A Shopping ‘Revolution’ in Warren, CT.”)? “Apparently,” says Cassano, who also owns Vol. 1 Antiques, “there was a meeting where executives talked about the best shops they had visited anywhere in the United States and somebody mentioned us. We got a phone call out of the blue, asking if we were interested in designing 125 home and garden items in various catgeories for a new promotion called The Shops at Target. We had one meeting and said, Yes!”  (In addition to Privet House, Target is introducing four other pop-up shops at the same time: The Candy Store from San Francisco, Cos Bar from Aspen, Polka Dog Bakery from Boston, and The Webster from Miami Beach.)

Rural Intelligence StylePrivet House has the largest assortment of merchandise of the five Shops at Target, and Cassano and Lambertson are featured in the TV commercials (see video below.) “We’re in the magazine ads, too—we’re in Vogue and we’re in Oprah!” says Lambertson, who has had top jobs at Bergdorf Goodman and Gucci and now designs for Tiffany & Co.  “I’ve collaborated with a lot of designers but I have never worked on anything of this scale. Most of the Privet House designs are based on antiques and vintage items that we sell here in Warren and in our second shop in Greenwich.”  The Target line (above) includes melamine dishes ($3.49 - $12.99) that look like they were stolen from a shoot for Elle Decor and the galvanized garden accessories such as hurricane lanterns ($24.99 and $34.99) look like they belong in Bunny Williams’ pool house. There are whimsical tiered dessert stands ($29.99) as well as ceramic cheese boards ($14.99) and canvas totes ($19.99) with the Privet House logo.

Cassano and Lamberston are giddy about the twist of fate that’s made it possible to translate their recherché taste into an affordable line of products.  “A lot of the items for Target we could sell right here at Privet House, but we would be able to charge a lot more!” Cassano says, laughing, because Privet House is not someplace you go for bargains. But now, no matter what your budget, you can bring the Privet House look home.—Dan Shaw

Privet House
4 Cornwall Road Warren, CT 06754; 860.868.1800

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 04/22/12 at 11:45 AM • Permalink