It’s Annie Selke’s World. And You Can Live In It.
By Lisa Green
When we last caught up with Annie Selke, just a few months ago, the founder and creative force behind the Annie Selke Company was busy putting the final touches on her first consumer catalog. Like everything she envisions, that venture has been a great success; now proven, the catalogs will continue to roll out each season. Which means it’s time for the indefatigable doyenne of textiles and home goods to embark on another project (or two). And, in fact, a pair of new ventures are in the works, and we love that the Berkshires native is keeping them both — a pop-up shop and an inn — local.
First up, the Annie Selke pop-up store at 36 Main Street in Lenox, Mass. The diminutive space will be a showcase of the bedding; rugs; jewelry; art; tabletop, storage and decorative items; and other objets found in the catalog. Displays of product lines will change monthly; television monitors will feature the breadth of products and iPads will allow customers to shop the full Annie Selke inventory.
Top: Annie Selke pop-up shop; Bottom: 33 Main.
With space at a premium, the shop will be “an exercise in good editing and merchandising,” Selke says. “It’ll be helpful to have the big monitor so people can experience the depth of the brand.”
The pop-up store is scheduled to open in early June and will run for six months as a test. But we’re betting on Selke’s golden touch that the doors will stay open long after that.
Part of its success will likely be a by-product of the second project, 33 Main, an inn billed as an Annie Selke luxury lodging experience. If you’ve ever strolled the aisles at The Outlet at Pine Cone Hill in Pittsfield, you know that Selke’s entering the hospitality industry seems like a natural brand extension. Too, Selke’s peripatetic life gives her insight as to how to pull off a luxury inn.
“I spend 175 nights on the road in some form of hospitality,” she says. “I feel battle worn, and uniquely qualified to say what a comforting and comfortable lodging experience is.”
The real estate god must have known this, because it placed in her line of sight a handsome 1836 property for sale. She passed by and admired it every day on her way to work, and after a while of drive-bys, Selke felt like she needed to look at it. She asked her real estate friend, Kelley Vickery, to arrange a showing.
Annie Selke and COO Bob White.
“We kept looking at each other, saying, ‘it’s great, right?’ I brought in an architect friend and Bob White, our COO, and they all thought it was great, too.” And thus Selke added “inn owner” to her title.
Selke was in the process of finalizing the artwork for the inn when we spoke. She’s personally choosing all the furnishings, right down to the glazes and colors of the custom ceramics that will match the rugs and artwork.
The building, which has the perquisite “great bones,” is getting all-new bathrooms and plumbing, new tile and floors. Each of the eight rooms (two of which will be pet friendly) will be unique, offering changing showcases of fabrics and patterns from Pine Cone Hill, Dash & Albert and all the other lines. Mattresses are coming from uber-luxury brand Hastens (the bed of choice for the likes of Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bono); tiles are from The Tile Shop and wallpaper from Ralph Lauren Home.
“We’re getting down to the granular level on details,” Selke says. They’ve developed their own bath and body products with Farmaesthetics, and are even testing the toilet paper. Ironically, the sheets for each room have yet to be chosen.
It hardly needs to be said that the furnishings at the inn will be available for sale; that’s where the pop-up shop, conveniently located right across the street, comes in. 33 Main, slated to open in August, will be a living Selke lab that guests can try out and take home with them, if they choose. And who wouldn’t choose to take home a Pine Cone Hill bathrobe?
33 Main is slated to open in August.