NEW HARTFORD — Shopping for home decor can be inundating. After all, there are the hours of scrolling through Pinterest, trips to the home store, and bottomless articles with tips on choosing the proper furnishings and accessories that best reflect a style. Yet, after saving countless images and agonizing over paint colors, many still struggle to pull their vision together. But that’s all about to change, thanks to the opening of the new home decor boutique, Abode, located at 132 Oxford Road.
Born from the serendipitous meeting between Happy Valley Restorations designer Jenna Rossi and Timeless Interior designer Gina Sangiacomo, New Hartford’s latest space serves as a staging ground for handcrafted furnishings, unique textiles, accessories, and other accouterments that make a house a home.
“As designers, Jenna and I have worked with several clients who found designing a home stressful. They struggled to understand what to do with a set of furniture or how to transform an area with color and a few statement pieces,” interior designer Sangiacomo stated. “When I saw my clients overwhelmed, I always led them with the mantra: one corner at a time. That’s what we do at Abode; we transform each corner to show customers how they can make their home pop.”
Abode’s elegantly eruptive style demands your attention as taupe floors guide you past cognac frames, cocktail tables, a must-have rattan daybed, and velvet oversized Gigi Pip hats that hang between a handwoven banner requesting you to “Forge Your Own Path.” A custom console table, fitted with lean golden legs, rests in the front window, its smooth-grained surface adorned with a marshmallow-colored lamp, a pair of demure cocktail glasses, and a carving board dipped in blue marble.
Across the way, a set of Sherpa lounge chairs, separated by a waterfall coffee table, highlights modern design as starlit blue wallpaper cascades behind the lounge chair’s soft material. In the corner, tall, glass-blown vases filled with pampas grass feathers add a whimsical dimension, while a peek-a-boo mirror draws in the coffee colors that greet you across the way.
“People walk in here and want to stay,” Rossi stated while seated on Abode’s blue velvet couch. “We’ve created a space where people want to sit and linger with a cup of coffee and conversation. That feeling is what a home is supposed to offer. It’s connection, comfort, and enjoying the space you’re in, and that’s what Abode is here to help customers achieve.”
A forest green wall stacked with botanical art and a bookcase full of pillows draw attention to Rossi’s latest dresser, painted black and baring brass circular rings. Sangiacomo fills a corner space with a beloved plant while an assortment of macrame-covered planters dangles in the window.
“Design is about how a person wants to feel when they enter their home. So when you walk through Abode, you see these examples. You see the paint color or wallpaper we’ve used, how we’ve poised chairs and pillows, brought vintage pieces back to life, and used art to give the space meaning,” Sangiacomo stated. “So often, people fall in love with a vase or piece of art in a store and then get home and have no idea where to put it or how to make it stand out — providing customers with a visual element allows them to form a connection and leave knowing exactly where they’ll place the item in their home. That’s why much of what you see at Abode is grab-and-go, including our prefilled vases and planters. We want to take the work out of the equation for our customers.”
As the name suggests, Abode is more than a boutique; it’s a home for designer ware, accessories, and two artists’ vibrant creations.
“We’re so busy designing for clients that our self-expression sometimes gets lost,” Rossi explained. “Unlike an individual’s home, at Abode, every wall and inch of space is our canvas. Here we get to show the world what we can do, and the world, in turn, gets to experience that creativity in a staged environment.”
Choosing carefully selected finds and working with knowledgeable, helpful designers can make all the difference in transforming a space into something beautiful, functional, and uniquely yours. Still, there’s something to be said about a furniture and interior designer collaboration.
“Our families thought we were crazy,” Sangiacomo laughed. “We’re both moms with young children and successful businesses, yet here we were, starting another business. It seemed outrageous to them, yet it made complete sense to us.”
From idea to conception, Abode took six weeks to come together – a surprise to Rossi, who was slightly bluffing when she told Sangiacomo to call her if she found a place to do business together. But, with inventory from their companies, a few shopping experiences, a public who eagerly awaited their unveiling, and ideas that fueled their excitement long into the evening hours, Abode was set to become the champion for aspirational and attainable design for everyone who walked through its doors.
“It’s like a gallery in here,” a woman remarked as she examined a pair of Brazilian agate coasters. “Each part of the store is so unique that it takes a while to discover what makes it stand out – that’s an art form in itself.”
While some call it art, Rossi and Sangiacomo refer to it as staging.
“Staging is telling a story through placement, and that’s something Jenna and I love to do,” Sangiacomo stated as she swapped a pair of teal candlestick holders for a set of vintage books bound in vanilla-colored twine. “There’s a lot of observation and rearranging that comes with each piece inside Abode. But that’s because each item breathes life into a room.”
The story behind a piece is an intriguing way to break down the artists woven throughout Abode; the botanical portraits created with pressed flowers by a local artist housed on Instagram, charming clay and porcelain bowls kilned by Ramblewood Pottery, and designer wood art crafted by a female after being told women should not use power tools. Then there are the banners created by Kenyan women and the blankets made in Ecuador, which, while beautiful, help bring economic growth and bridge cultural divides.
“We’re always looking to support other women-owned vendors and those whose mission we stand behind. By offering these artists a space, we bring awareness, discovery, and stories into other people’s homes,” Rossi explained.
Only four months in, Abode is already rich in possibilities, some of which they’ve begun to share through pop-up experiences and workshops.
“We’re always learning and evolving with each product and idea that comes into our lives. So while we’re excited to bring local artists and designers to Abode, we also believe it’s important to expand beyond our area and tap into clothing markets in Rochester and candle companies in Oxford so we can bring a range of looks, designs, and markets into our area, just as larger cities do,” Sangiacomo stated.
Fresh energy bounces around the homey space as customers walk through the door. Whether these customers are arriving to buy a piece of furniture or a set of glassware is irrelevant. For Rossi and Sangiacomo, it’s the connection, the visualization, and the art of shopping they’ve introduced to Central New York that’s important.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us,” Sangiacomo smiled. “But our clients and overall feel inside Abode has already shown us that we’re on the right path: we’re doing it right.”