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Privet House: A Shopping “Revolution” in Warren, CT

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Scented candles from France are kept under bell jars

If shopping is your recreational drug of choice, then Richard Lambertson and Suzanne Cassano are the dealers of your dreams. Last week, they opened Privet House, which they call an emporium of home goods, antiques and curiosities. They have artfully displayed a wide assortment of things—from antique calligraphy brushes to hotel silver—that you might expect to find on the Seventh Floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York (where Lambertson was once the fashion director) but not in sleepy Warren, CT (which is on the way to Cornwall, Kent or New Preston, depending on your orientation.)
Cassano has been running Vol 1 Antiques next door for several years, and she was tired of having an empty store as a neighbor. “Selfishly, I told Richard he should open a shop there, because I thought it would bring me more traffic,” she says. “And he said to me, ‘Only if you do it with me’.” The next thing you know, the two (who both have homes in Sharon) were off to Europe, ordering white earthenware in Belgium, scouring the Paris flea market for objets d’art, and having notebooks made with marbelized paper in Florence. They also brought back Cire Trudon candles that they display under bell jars so that the elaborate scents don’t collide and overwhelm the senses. (“Lift the glass and smell it, not the candle” instructs the manager Claudia Kalur.” ) Made by a French firm that’s been around since the 17th century, the candles have poetic backstories and esoteric names such as “Odalisque” (“Enclosed in citrus and wood bar, the orange blossom weaves a painter’s dream from which escapes the pale volute of smoke from a narghile”) and “Revolution” (“Smells of hot and crusty bread right out of the oven, an exulting scent; this wake of hope is ‘the other side of happiness,’ just like a provocation, or a liberal urge moved by childish appetite.”) I guess you might say that Privet House is a “revolutionary” store—at least for northwestern Connecticut.

Privet House
4 Cornwall Road, Warren CT; 860-868-1800
Friday - Sunday 11 AM - 5 PM or by appointment

Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
The shop specializes in dramatic oversized objects like the carved 18th century wooden eagle from England ($16,500) and copper-beaded chandelier ($3,300) .
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
Privet House is like a primer on how to display disparate objects such as a set of four vintage cutlery molds ($695) and bisque candelabras ($550 each) with pieces of coral and shells.
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
A shelf of antique calligraphy pens and French masonry jars.
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
One corner of the shop resembles anold world potting shed with Chinese paper mache pots on the top shelf ($85 and $150).
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
The canvas dog carrier ($120) is ideal for anyone who travels with a pet on MetroNorth. The doggie rainbreaker ($56) is sold separately.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 05/10/08 at 03:42 AM • Permalink