“A House is much more than mere shelter, it should lift us emotionally and spiritually” – Architect and Interior Designer John Saladino.
The unifying desire of interior designers and savvy home design enthusiasts alike is to identify the best sources for their designs. These should provide items varied in period, style and design. Often, a designer’s resources are a contributing factor to their success; the knowledgeable design enthusiast realizes the right resource is essential to the accomplishment of their design goals. In the worlds of architecture, interior design, and landscape design, locating antiquated columns, architectural pediments, balustrades, shutters, and garden ornaments with the correct proportions, scales, and depths is a journey unto itself. To be a design professional or enthusiast often parallels the tale of Indiana Jones. It’s a tale of constant searching, endless inquires, numerous hurdles, and possible intrigue, and one which doesn’t always conclude in victory.
In A Designer’s Guide to Ulster County, I highlighted a few of my personal design resources. A constant shopper, I have nearly been killed numerous times purchasing items from demolition sites. Chairs, tables, cabinets, and architectural elements have been strapped to car roofs or have bulged from trunks. Leaving Stonington CT on Memorial Weekend 2012, Gary Masterfully placed 6 chippendale chairs, 2 chippendale arm chairs, two Imari lamps, wall sconces and our luggage into the car. Last year our Scotties – Mr. Frazier, Heather Clementine and Mac – found themselves pinned separately amongst four Windsor chairs and a massive gallery table. Let’s just say even the best gourmet dog treat is little reward for such a journey.
When you purchase a second home the last thing you look forward to is spending the entire weekend scouring an endless number of shops and estate sales in order to design and furnish your home. In fact it is counterintuitive to why you purchased a weekend home in the first place: as a retreat from the daily hassles of city life. In a voice very similar to John Forsyth’s in the opening introduction of the 1970s sitcom Charlie’s Angels, Rebekah Milne of Milne’s At Home Antiques laughingly exclaims “I take my clients away from all that.” It’s ironic in certain regards, as the curvaceous blonde Rebekah could easily qualify as a fourth edition to the familiar trio. The daughter of acclaimed antiques dealers Judith and James Milne (Milne’s Inc.), Rebekah has rapidly expanded the family business. Acclaimed on numerous occasions by museums, celebrities, and designers, Milne’s Inc. has long served as a touchstone resource in the design and antiques field. With her own flair, business aptitude, and eye for design, Rebekah has metamorphosed Milne’s Inc.’s former warehouse space in Kingston, NY into a thriving business. One with an eye for design and modernity, yet inclusive of the antique. The furnishings, weathervanes, garden ornaments, folk art, and quilts which have defined Milne’s Inc. since 1972 remain as keystones of the Milne brand. Though like a splash of cayenne pepper, Rebekah and her husband Seamus Mccance “kicked it up a notch,” as Ina Garten would say.
Seamus Mccance, a unionized ironworker, is the guy you would love to have a beer with, who with one eyebrow raised enjoys the fact I only drink martinis. As several socialite friends and clients of Rebekah’s have exclaimed, “we love Seamus.” Rebekah says “for years my family and I have searched over and over again for the farm table, the industrial piece, the countertop, or the antique cabinetry that are the right specifications for clients and designers. Finally, one day I realized with Seamus’s metal working skills, the talents of Hudson Valley Craftsmen, and my family’s knowledge of furniture design, we could produce a distinctive hand forged collection of pieces.” Thus, the Fabrication Factory became the latest offspring of the Milne brand.
During my recent tour of Milne’s Fabrication Factory, Seamus recanted, “I often feel my dad played a role in the development of reclaimed wood. As a child my dad – a chemist – salvaged wooden beams and materials from my Uncle’s home demolition project. To this day my dad is still utilizing those materials in his own ventures. It was my dad who instilled in me the love of antique woods and products. A love which has helped to guide my journey with the Fabrication Factory.” According to Rebekah, “given my family’s extensive knowledge of furnishings, Seamus and I could begin to create pieces incapsulate of reclaimed wood, zinc, copper and industrial elements which were custom tailored to our clients’ specifications. The lines of each piece are reminiscent of the antiques that have defined my family business for decades,” gushes Rebekah. To know the Milne brand is to understand that no hurdle is unsurpassable.
“We love our clients, we love defining their homes, we love locating or creating pieces which will define their lifestyle: the way they live and the way they enjoy,” states Rebekah. “The Milne brand has long been recognized for quality, expertise and rarity.” She continues, “my parents for over forty years have worked with an untold number of internationally recognized designers, architects, landscape architects and collectors.” The Fabrication Company is simply another example of the rebirth of commerce and industry in Ulster County. This is not the rebirth of factories and woolen mills, or of the industrial age. Instead, it is that of hip urbane manufacturers, and craftsmen who appreciate natural materials along with those reclaimed.
Desiring to create a “one-stop” shopping experience, Rebekah has added many new lines to her inventory. Kravet fabric is the keystone of these offerings. A fifth generation family business, Kravet is recognized as a leader in the wholesale design industry. Now thanks to the Kravet line, Rebekah can enhance the design of any room with draperies and furniture coverings. However, do not be put off if your budget is not that of the collector or designer. Milne has further extended her inventory with the inclusion of chic lines of candles, French milled soaps, hand cut linen table runners, napkins and boutique garden tools. A realist, Milne identified early on that while antiquities are the lifeblood of the family brand, satisfying her customers myriad needs would be a key to her success. As a friend, designer, and customer, I have watched with keen excitement as the Milne brand has further blossomed. In Sharon Springs, NY you have the Beekman 1802 brand. In Kingston, NY we have Milne’s At Home Antiques and the Fabrication Factory, all under the umbrella of the Milne brand.
In baritone pitch one of my long time mentors has often exclaimed, “a great resource is a resource worth treasuring.” Truer words have never been spoken. Milne’s At Home Antiques is yet another reason to take the New York Thruway to exit 19. As of June 30th, another access route to Kingston has been completed. The Kingston Ferry from the RhineCliff Amtrak Station can now deliver Manhattanites from Rhinecliff to Kingston in less than 20 minutes. Docking in Kingston’s Historic Roundout District, travelers are only steps away from the threshold of Milne’s At Home Antiques. As Ina Garten would say, “how easy is that?”