This time last year, Grace and I were embarking on a whirlwind summer of photo shoots for . We had just planned the whole book’s production at Grace’s in her Upstate New York , and that trip was my first taste of the Ulster County area. We were busy booking more than 80 , so the productive visit was short but sweet, and ever since last summer I’ve been wanting to go back.
Had I the chance to explore the area again, Kingston would be my first stop — especially with the recent installment of . Using the natural beauty of Upstate NY to inform their collection of home goods and gifts, Scott Neild and Michael Cook opened the doors to their new mercantile a few months ago. Their thoughtful selection of earthy, comfortable and gorgeous wares — and a coffee bar in-house, to boot — makes for a shop I’d likely pop into frequently if I lived nearby, even just to chat and gather inspiration.
I spoke with Scott to learn more about Clove & Creek’s beginnings, the goods they carefully select to sell, and their desire to connect with the local community. Check out our Q&A after the jump, and click through the slide show to tour their lovely space. Here’s wishing everyone a fun and rela weekend. —
- Musical Empowerment: This about how certain music taught her to accept herself — from David Bowie to the Mulan Soundtrack — is moving and raw.
- Plant Shrine: Turn your (perhaps unorganized) affinity for plants into an organic design moment with this from Justina Blakeney.
- Tomato Crush: I’m dreaming of this Charles Hunter III (aka The Salted Table) posted on Instagram. Grab the recipe .
- Small but Striking: These are about the size of a matchstick and packed with remarkable detail.
- Stop Knock-offs: Our very own Adam J. Kurtz is spearheading , which supports independent artists by highlighting their works that have been apparently copied by global fashion retailer ZARA.
- Ice Cream Airbnb: Ever wish you could stay in a space designed by uber-talented ? !
- Must-Reads: Using Your Power For Good, Comfort Zone: Afiya Francisco,
- DIY Projects: DIY Pounded-Flower Tote
- Food + Drink: In the Kitchen With: Frankie Unsworth’s Ice Cream Terrine
- Decorating: 10 Rooms Flaunting the Depth-Enhancing Wonder of Deep Teal, 8 Bedrooms That Offer a Retreat From the Heat, 14 Floral Happy Rooms That Bloom and Blossom, Tips For Adding Texture and Color to a Room with Cacti
- Interiors: A Stylishly Eco-Friendly Home in the Second City, Jolts of Color Restart an Old New Orleans Home, A Stylist’s Historic Beach Home in Oysterville, WA, Studio Tour: Play Clan, An Ontario Home Filled with Art, Life and Love, A Historical Landmark in Upstate NY Gets Revitalized
D*S: How did the idea for Clove & Creek come about? What sparked your desire to launch your own mercantile?
Scott Neild: The idea began with a bestie weekend last year. We were literally snowed in, sharing a bottle of bourbon together. I think we half-jokingly (and drunkenly) filed the LLC, but very quickly we realized that the idea was inspiring both of us and quickly took on a life of its own. We’re both nesters and love filling our surroundings with beautiful things… we wanted a store that would feature local makers and really become an active part of the community. Part of the reason we offer coffee is to have a chance to have dialogue and create relationships within our neighborhood and community.
What guided the design aesthetic for the shop?
We’re inspired by the rustic and natural beauty of the area and look for products that are warm, natural, and well designed. Aside from that, we give ourselves the freedom to have flirtations with any number of aesthetics — we’re having a thing with England and Mexico right now. We’re also keen to find the products that lie at the intersection where aesthetics meet functionality. is a great example of these things — Sara Berks is designing in Red Hook, NY working with master weavers in Mexico, to create gorgeous hand towels and blankets that we carry in our store and online shop… things we need that also look great.
Tell us about how you and Michael source the goods you offer.
I’ve been living in the area full-time for a couple of years, working at and — meeting lots of people in Delaware County who were creating, making or farming. When we started out, we were mainly working with friends and neighbors in three-day pop-up markets. Those people are still represented in the shop as well as new people we’ve met who are working in Kingston and the surrounding area. Michael is the market editor at and is always looking for new products in that position. And we’re both shoppers — we have a long list of items waiting to get in the store! We sort of have two questions we ask when we’re considering product development: will it fill a need in people’s lives, or will it add beauty to their surroundings?
What do you hope to provide to your community?
We have so many ideas and dreams that we hope to develop, including a Clove & Creek garden, immersive theatrical experiences, a meet-the-maker series. We also plan to use the wall space of the store to feature local artists and hope to do several shows/openings a year. Kingston is such an exciting place to be, and in particular the Rondout, where we’ve got the area’s best flower shop (), wine bar (), antiques dealer (), leather worker () and wine shop () all on the same two-block stretch. Our ideas are endless for how we, as a small business community, can dramatically create positive change for our neighborhood and town.
Since you opened in May, what’s been the most rewarding aspect of owning this shop?
Working with all of our makers and vendors to create something visually cohesive and something that speaks to our personal style and story has been such a fun, creative exercise. I love hiding little things in the shop that tell a story of what inspires us. Right now, there’s a few recipes from my grandmother’s recipe box hiding here and there in the store… reminds me of the big table of food she would prepare — the love, that’s what we’re always chasing. To bring people into our story. And I love that everyone knows Jasper, my beagle hound that keeps watch in front of the store, and asks how he’s doing :)