You know that feeling, when you discover something truly special? A shop, a piece of pottery or furniture......you hug it to yourself because it feels like it was made just for you, but at the same time want to tell everyone about it because it is just so great! This feeling is intensified with vintage finds, which are truly unique. Even if more than one piece were produced, each has a different history which re shaped it into its current state, making it truly exclusive.
The idea of exclusivity is interesting. Scarcity can create value: Gold is valuable in part because it exists in limited amounts. The same is true of items such as couture or high end clothing and accessories, and high end furniture, although these add the value of craftsmanship to the mix.
As our culture and manufacturing base has become increasingly global, and our communication, in the form of social media, more democratic, the value of craftsmanship has suffered. Today there is a variety of great fashion and home wares on offer at affordable prices, and a more universal understanding of design. As more and more designer collaborations flood the market, quality has become a blurry value. How relevant is the difference between a coat from Marni, or one by the same designer, made for Top Shop?
This cycle is an exciting and evolving beast. In my mind, it has created a new version of exclusivity, where one off pieces, or those that have a history, demand a different kind of attention. It has also challenged the concept of luxury, expanding its meaning so that values other than cost become important ingredients. Items that connect us with another time and place and make us pause belong to this new kind of luxury.
The first time I walked into Hoffman's barn, I walked around in a daze, unable to take it all in. And there is A LOT to take in. Architectural salvage on the front yard. Sinks, doors, magical looking rusted metal farm equipment, glass and so much more. Inside, there is furniture and decorative objects. aisle upon aisle, with stock that changes almost every week. You never know what you are going to find. Each piece is unique and the overall selection offers endless periods and styles. It is a magical place that demands time, attention and engagement.
We have been visiting Hoffman's since 2007 and each visit is still a special occasion. we rarely leave empty handed because there is just so much good stuff. Over the years we have gotten to know Pam and Roger, who own the barn and make visiting it even more special They always greet us, and all their regular customers, by name, offer a sweet smile and take the time to hear about our lives and tell us of theirs. Roger has an encyclopedic knowledge and appreciation of every object under his roof and where it came from, a seemingly impossible feat. His knowledge and passion for local history is expressed throughout the store. Both he and Pam have seen our son grow and treat him almost like an honorary grandson, offering him delicious home made cookies and generally spoiling him. David and Matthew have helped us haul endless pieces of furniture to and from the car, made countless deliveries to the house.
The treasures we have found at the barn are centerpieces to our rooms that continue to give us pleasure. The whole experience of visiting this incredible place is an antidote to shopping in our over connected, design conscious world. a unique elusive form of exclusivity and, for me, the ultimate luxury.
19 Old Farm Road.
Red Hook, NY 12571
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