While the food world has made Brooklyn a comfortable home away from its other home across the East River, another pattern is emerging. Brooklyn is, as of late, also becoming place of business to some of the best shops around these days. Smith & Butler, Goose Barnacle, In God We Trust, Hickoree’s Floor Two(I’ll go as far as to count C’H'C’M’, it having its genus here). Now add to that growing list the recently opened and long labored over JOINERY in the Williamsburg neck of the Borough.
JOINERY, for having only just opened, feels already like a shop that’s been there for years. Upon entering, and aside from the amazing range of products therein, the shop is sparingly yet warmly appointed with detail after detail to take in. From the clothing racks to the dressing rooms to the American Clay-plastered walls, JOINERY gives the distinct impression that no aspect of its making was too small to overlook. As shop owner Angela Silva explains, “I love the look of unstained, unfinished poplar. Because of cost it was used more sparingly throughout the store for dressing room doors, window platforms, garment racks and furniture to tie things together. The center table is made by Nightwood, Brooklyn-based furniture designers. I provided them with an old industrial cart I found on Ebay and they reincarnated it with a mixture of new poplar and reclaimed wood to create a tabletop and shelving. I also added poplar to an antique counter from an old general store to create a new top for it.”
Angela continues, “Half of the garment racks are made out of black piping combined with brass fittings to make them a bit more elegant. The other racks were made of poplar following plans provided by Ana Kras, a Serbian designer who makes beautifully simple utilitarian objects and shares the plans for her designs on her website.”
For any shop owner, making the most of common materials and coming in on budget becomes ingredient to the magic potion of longevity. Angela says,“I had a very small budget but working within those parameters became a useful way of narrowing down an aesthetic. I had to design and source everything myself so that the budget went towards purchasing materials and having anything I couldn’t make myself produced. The idea and the challenge was to use affordable, accessible materials in a unique way. Most of what was used can be found at a local hardware store. For example, the floors and ceilings are covered with a standard #2 grade pine with lots of knots, burrs and board discoloration.”
As for the ceiling and rear wall, you’ll notice a dark glimmer to it, like ebony crystal. For this, Angela purchased a blow torch and got to work charring the pine that would skin the ceiling and rear wall. She says, “I had heard of Sou Sugi Ban, the Japanese method of torching wood to create weather resistant and fireproof siding for homes. It is typically done with cedar but I decided to buy a blow torch and try it with the pine. The characteristics of the pine produced a different result than what I expected but it worked well.”
Central to the shop hangs a light fixture I want here in the Secret Fort. Again, Angela explains, “The brass chandelier is a derivation of a plans provided by the Lindsay Adelman studio, who make high end light fixtures. They provide inexpensive, D.I.Y. versions of some of their designs on their website. The rest of the lights are bare bulbs hung by cloth-covered wire. All the parts can be purchased online at grandbrass.com, who carry a tremendous selection of lamp components.”
The idea of the shop’s been something on the stove for sometime now. Something that may account for JOINERY’s seemingly fully realized state upon opening day. “I was working as an Art Director and decided to start a blog. As I got into it, I became attuned to hints that I might have stumbled upon a more true passion. The thrill of following an internet stream of conciousness until it materialized into a new discovery, and then being able to share that, was addictive. Most of my research would lead me down a path ending in some physical representation of an idea. I realized that what I really wanted to do was house these objects together—make a store. The idea seemed plausible since I was becoming more familiar with retail through my boyfriend Emil’s endeavors. His online store, Hickorees, had really started to pick up some steam. The buying for my shop began with a trip to Brazil, where I grew up. I brought back lots of handmade textiles and discovered a few great clothing designers. I had discovered a lot of talented people while researching for my blog. I wanted to combine those finds with other international lines as well as local designers.”
And then there’s the goods. As well a curated, unexpected and legit product list as you’d hope to find. Angela runs through Joinery’s excellently selected inventory, “Womenswear, menswear, home goods, vintage wares. Handmade Brazilian textiles, German enamelware, handmade Danish brushes. The clothing lines are a mixture of local designers and some harder to find lines that have either no other New York distribution or no other US distribution. This is the case with Fernanda Yamamoto, one of my best lines. She’s a half-Brazilian / half-Japanese designer I met in Sao Paolo who studied at Parsons. We’ve only been open 4 days and her line is almost sold out.”
She continues, “The stories behind the brands are really important to me so I made tags for all the clothing that explain more about each brand. I also want to let people know what they are paying for. For example, Warmi, based in France, has all of their knitwear made by traditional Columbian weavers. The number of hours of work that went into each garment is written on the tag.
Here is the store ethos: Joinery is a place where all kinds of good things come together. It’s a collage of whimsy and restraint, an ode to vintage and a nod to experimentation, a mixture of the familiar with the exotic. A thing that finds its way into our shop is special. Whether it’s made of wood or cloth, whether it was found in our neighborhood or on a trip, we sell it because we admire its craftsmanship, respect its quality, appreciate its uniqueness, and the idea of it makes us happy.”
Secret Forts being a collection of good things itself, JOINERY’S ethos is one we completely endorse.
263 South 1st Street (corner of Havemeyer and South 1st)