WHERE TO SHOP
It takes flair to mix styles and eras in an old industrial mill and make it look so right. Gore Dean in Baltimore pulls it off. A gilded mirror on rustic brick? Made for each other!
Black and Gold Lumiere Sculpture
Traditional Dining Room in Yellow and Rose
Traditional Seaside Dining Room with Urns
Neutral Breakfast Room With Antique Accents and Large Windows
Gore Dean, my new shopping obsession
by Kristin on July 30, 2010
I did NOT drop off of a cliff while out of town on a wonderful adventure. My wonderful adventure consisted of two back to back lacrosse tournaments and the pleasure of watching both my sons play fine lacrosse in blazing heat and humidity. I stayed at only the finest Motel 6 style accommodations and shared a bathroom with each boy. Oh the joys of sharing bathing and grooming space with an adolescent! We dined at only the best pizza and burger restaurants, with one notable exception being a wonderful evening with old friends in Maryland. However, I did manage to have a great time at each tournament, as I was surrounded by some seriously fun parents at one of them, and was in the shopping capital of the world at the other – Baltimore. I know that the Baltimore-shopping-capital-of-the-world thing has been kept under wraps for a long time, but I am blowing the lid off of that, baby! Actually, well, no, it isn’t the shopping capital of the world, or probably not even the state, except that a visit to Gore Dean in Baltimore makes you feel like it’s so.
This wonderful shop is located in a former mill. It sits along a stream and is part of a complex of reclaimed industrial buildings. It is an incredibly charming setting, although one that Deborah Gore Dean would find fateful. Deborah opened her original store in Georgetown and it was a shopping mecca for DC’s interior designers and their clients. She branched out to Baltimore. Life was good. Then she made a decision that a lot of us can relate to, she moved her family to Baltimore so that her daughter could attend a school that would further her athletic talents. Again, life was good. The the bucolic and extremely innocent looking stream that burbles behind her Baltimore store became a torrent, then a flood and then disaster. The entire store was eventually a loss, although Deborah and her husband didn’t realize it at the time. Painstakingly, they rebuilt the inventory and have consolidated all of their treasures into this one amazing store. While this shop does not have a tony Georgetown address, the character and charm of the building is irresistable. Take a walk with me.
I have a hard time describing Deborah’s store, because she has curated a wonderful selection of so many things. Beautiful china, crystal and flatware? Check. Gorgeous linens for the table and bed? Check. Garden accessories and pots? Check. Candles and home fragrance? Check. Antiques and art? Double check. It sounds like it should be a veritable hodgepodge, but it is not. Deborah is a wonderful stylist and all her merchandise flows from one vignette to the next. She was apologizing to me for the disorder of the shop as she had hosted a book signing with Barry Dixon the night before. To my eye, all looked lovely, but nevertheless as we chatted Deborah strolled and fluffed. To say that she is a charming person and incredibly knowledgeable is an understatement.
Deborah is a shopkeeper after my own heart. She does not have an inventory that is trend obsessed. She buys what she loves and she hopes that you will, too. So she has a delightful mix of high and low, European and Asian, rustic and refined objects on display. It is possible to buy ready made curtains here of the highest quality while at the same time considering the purchase of an antique crystal chandelier. I love that.
Here some vintage garden statues perch atop Asian inspired tables with a wonderfully crusty cabinet in the foreground. Yes, that is screen mesh on the doors.
Old Chinese doors frame a vignette of Staffordshire and pottery.
Wonderful vintage table is for potting, I seem to remember. It is festooned with an array of old wooden tools and that incredible root.
This table housed molds for candlemaking. Just so full of character and charm.
I am stealing this idea. This pretty Swedish style chair is covered not in linen, as we are seeing everywhere these days, but in a scrumptiously colored and buttery leather. It is utterly lovely.
This quirky chair caught my eye. How could it not? Wonderful for a study or library, obviously, but it could also look fantastic in an entry hall with an umbrella stand (filled with walking sticks, naturally!).
This Moroccan lantern has been turned into a light fixture and I love how she has paired its bulbous shape with the topiaries. Look at the wonderful walls in the background. The whole store is just so evocative and it is a wonderful backdrop for Deborah’s selections.
The selection of pillows at this store is just fantastic. They are perched everywhere and then still line shelves.
Just fantastic, aren’t they? So, why am I showing you all this truly covetable (pun intended) merchandise when you don’t live in Baltimore, won’t have the pleasure of going soon, or frankly can’t imagine setting foot there? Well, because Deborah has painstakingly added every single item in the store to her website, here. So if you see it and love it, hop on over to the website and check it out. Plus there are so many things on the website that are not on the floor of the store. You could spend hours on this site, my friends, I promise you. Deborah also writes a blog, which veers from incredibly informative pieces on antiques to quick descriptions of one of her evenings. She is also working on a website strictly for the trade. Deborah, I wish I had your energy.
I had the most wonderful time in the store, chatting with Deborah, getting some scoop on Barry Dixon, (Did you know that he is designing a new line for Fortuny? Think all their traditional designs, but with some twists like trapunto stitching), looking at things for clients, taking all the above photos, and in general losing complete track of time. I spent TWO HOURS there! Which really takes me out of the running for mother of the year as my 10 year old son was with me the whole time, patiently waiting to go to the Inner Harbor. However, he never once complained, as this was his pose for the entire time.
He wanted one of these basket chairs for his room. I half wanted to buy it for him as a thank you to him and to Deborah!! And here is the generous, warm and lovely Deborah Gore Dean.
She looks crisp and amazing, after being up until late the night before. Somehow I think that this is the way she always looks. However she is the friendliest person on the planet, so if you hop to the website, again here, and have any questions, don’t hesitate to call her or e-mail her. She is a gem.
I will be back soon with another shopping opportunity.
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Baltimore, affectionately called “Charm City” by natives, is living up to its nickname. This Mid-Atlantic port is no longer merely a convenient, if undistinguished, stopover for devouring crab cakes and catching a game at Camden Yards en route to Washington, D.C., or New York.
Seafood and sports are still a draw, but today Baltimore hums with energy, boasting downtown towers, a burgeoning harbor, a vibrant cultural scene, and hip restaurants. Empty mills and factories, the run-down remnants of the city’s industrial heritage, have been recast as commercial and residential spaces, often with stunning period details restored. A new generation of talented designers and artists, lured by the city’s affordability and neighborliness, is beginning to convert ragged areas into artsy pockets with catchy names like Station North and Highlandtown. Even the iconic crab cake has been spiced up by chefs eager to experiment with Chesapeake traditions.
A mix of old-world elegance and quirky charm, this historic harbor town beckons with diverse neighborhoods, stellar museums, and sensational seafood
“People are realizing that the things they enjoy when they travel to New York or Europe, they can have here,” says Patrick Sutton, a designer and architect who owns a chic eponymous home-furnishings store. “Baltimore was a meat-and-potatoes, blue-collar, conservative town, but now there is a buzz.”
“It’s an exciting time,” says Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, an architecture and design writer who grew up in Baltimore and relocated from the West Coast six years ago. “I am constantly amazed by the talent and depth of work happening here. There is a strong core of creative energy that wasn’t around 15 years ago that is galvanizing the city.”
Baltimore’s renaissance began in the 1970s with the transformation of the Inner Harbor from a dilapidated port surrounded by vacant warehouses and factories into a throbbing tourist mecca complete with glass pavilions for shopping, a superb aquarium, street musicians, and a flotilla of colorful paddle boats bobbing on the water. Half a mile away, Oriole Park at Camden Yards rises from the site of a former Baltimore & Ohio rail yard.
The best way to get a sense of the area’s historic past and its recent rehabilitation is via a blue-canopied water taxi. Harbor East, until recently a no-man’s-land of empty lots and vacant buildings, is now a hub percolating with restaurants, boutiques, high rises, condos, and hotels (a much-anticipated Four Seasons is slated to open next year). Browse the trendy boutiques on Aliceanna Street before heading to Pazo, a machine shop that has been transformed into a rendezvous for martinis and Mediterranean cuisine.
Further east are Fells Point, with its cobblestone streets, eclectic shops, and boisterous nightlife, and Canton, a working-class neighborhood that is becoming a lively enclave, with engaging spots like Blue Hill Tavern. On the opposite side of the harbor, Fort McHenry is a must-see for history buffs, the site of the pivotal battle in the War of 1812 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that would become “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
As exciting as the revamped areas are, they don’t fully represent the diverse, unpretentious, and, yes, quirky, soul of this postindustrial city of more than 600,000 inhabitants that was named after Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Baltimore became a center for shipbuilding and rail and sea shipping; by the 1890s, it was a major port of entry for immigrants, who labored in its factories and mills and are responsible for making the place the rich ethnic tapestry it is today.
Baltimore is also a town that revels in its loopy idiosyncrasies. The Ouija board was invented here, its Ravens football team is named for the famed poem by local bard Edgar Allan Poe, and hometown hero John Waters draws inspiration for his subversive films from what he once called “this gloriously decrepit, inexplicably charming city.” Only in Baltimore is Bromo Seltzer combined with the Palazzo Vecchio: In the heart of downtown is a 1911 Italianate landmark, commissioned by Captain Isaac Emerson, who invented the headache remedy. Each of the tower’s four clock faces spells B-r-o-m-o S-e-l-t-z-e-r, but the rotating blue-lit bottle, which once could be seen 20 miles away, was removed in 1936. Today the tower houses artists’ studios.
“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Baltimore has a wonderful eccentric streak,” says Deborah Buck, a native who now owns Buck House, a Manhattan art and antiques gallery. “It’s not a northern or southern city but a mix of people who don’t care about joining the throng and like to think outside the box.”
Many residents are irked that their hometown’s image has been largely shaped by tourist attractions and the gritty inner-city life depicted on the TV drama The Wire. While there is no denying Baltimore’s struggles—its crime rate is among the highest in the country—it is also true it possesses abundant appeal.
“I love walking around—you just turn a corner and come upon an incredible building or unexpected patch of green,” says Meg Fairfax Fielding, a 12th-generation Baltimorean who writes a blog about design and art, Pig*Town Design. “Friends who visit can’t believe the mix of historic and modern.”
About a mile north of the Inner Harbor lie the cobblestone streets of Mount Vernon, a Parisian-style square studded with statuary and lined with 19th-century townhouses that could have been the setting for a Henry James novel. On balmy days, when the windows of the Peabody Institute conservatory are open, violin music drifts through the tree-lined streets. This was the address of the town’s social swells, like Betsy Patterson Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister-in-law, and the Duchess of Windsor, née Wallis Warfield Simpson. If you have the energy, climb the 228 steps to the top of the Washington Monument, the first memorial to our first president. But you might want to save your strength for the Walters Art Museum, where the works, including medieval manuscripts and Greek antiquities, were amassed by William Walters and his son, Henry, and donated to the city.
Bolton Hill, another neighborhood of fashionable townhouses, about a mile northwest of Mt. Vernon, has been compared to Philadelphia’s Society Hill and Beacon Hill in Boston. Design hounds will be delighted that the houses’ large, high windows allow them to peek into living rooms, one of which belonged to F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1930s. A popular local watering hole, B Bistro is the spot for eggs Benedict and mimosas on a Sunday
If you prefer kitschy bohemianism to quiet elegance, head to Hampden, a former mill town northwest of downtown where John Waters filmed Pecker. In June, its ebullient annual Honfest, celebrating the sassy local “Bawlmer” women (who address one and all as “hon”), brings out a galaxy of brassy babes in beehives, leopard prints, and cat’s-eye glasses. The heart of Hampden is the Avenue, a four-block stretch crammed with shops such as Red Tree, full of funky home accessories, and Hometown Girl (across from campy Café Hon), overflowing with wacky souvenirs.
No visit to the city would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Baltimore Museum of Art, adjacent to Johns Hopkins University. It houses, among other treasures, the largest Matisse collection in the world, an extensive array of African art, and a contemporary wing. The BMA is the town’s cultural grande dame, but the American Visionary Art Museum is its iconoclastic wild child, displaying provocative works by self-taught artists.
Is there any visitor who hasn’t been tempted by Baltimore’s famed crab cakes, whether served on a bun or accompanied by asparagus with garlic aioli? Every native has a favorite haunt, but you can’t do better than the jumbo-lump crab cakes at Faidley’s Seafood, a counter in noisy Lexington Market, where the scrumptious food more than compensates for the lack of ambience.
Baltimore’s dining scene has much more to offer these days, thanks to several innovative new restaurants as well as established favorites like Charleston, whose award-winning Low Country–inspired cooking by chef Cindy Wolf has tempted the palates of Renée Zellweger and Condoleezza Rice. “There is a lot more creativity now,” says Tony Foreman, Wolf’s husband. “Fifteen years ago, the most popular entrée was $15 fried chicken with a bottle of Kendall-Jackson. Today there are more interesting options.” The lobster risotto at Aldo’s, in Little Italy, and the rice-crusted scallops at B&O American Brasserie, a snazzy downtown newcomer, are two good examples.
Shopping isn’t Baltimore’s raison d’être, but its retail landscape has some diverting design stores that are off the beaten path. Housewerks has a bonanza of architectural salvage and unusual decorative objects stowed inside a 19th-century gas-valve house. And on the city’s northern edge is Mt. Washington Mill, a historic industrial mill that contains Gore Dean, noted for its antiques, tableware, and linens, and Home on the Harbor, an outpost of carefully culled modern furniture and accessories.
Nearby is Roland Park, a hilly three-square-mile residential area developed in the 1890s as one of the nation’s earliest “streetcar suburbs.” Here, Baltimore’s elite built ample Queen Anne–style cottages, English Tudors, and columned stucco mansions. Goodwood Gardens, one of its prettiest blocks, is where Billy Baldwin, the dean of American interior designers, grew up. Known for combining elegance with comfort and disdaining anything boring, Baldwin probably wouldn’t recognize his hometown today. But the city’s energy, quirky attitude, working-class roots, and entrepreneurial spirit create the sort of marvelous mix he no doubt would have appreciated.
Oh so trendy macaroons – photo by Dara Bunjon©
Huh, that is what I said, “who made a cameo appearance at Cameo Appearance.” Read who showed at this party.
Larry Schwartz, Vice President of Off-Premise Catering of Cameo Catering (formerly Cameo Caters) threw a lovely party at Gore Dean in Mt. Washington Mill to launch their new division, Cameo Appearance, focusing on stylish in-home parties.
To emphasize the “style” component into the evening’s festivities, renowned home decorator Barry Dixon, was signing complementary copies of his book Barry Dixon Interiors book. Check out the photo slid show
Guests seemed to enjoy many dishes from Cameo Appearance’s food repertoire under tent in the concourse of the renovated manufacturing area in Mt. Washington.
Stationary set ups with teriyaki salmon and sliced beef to passed hors d’oeuvres from mushroom pate, crab cakes and my personal favorite of the evening, bacon wrapped watermelon, no one went hungry. Passed champagne cocktails with hibiscus gracing the glasses to my favorite drink of the evening, my concoction, sparkling water and lime-aide. There were platters of large cocktail shrimp, roasted veggies and desserts tucked away in the Gore Dean design center. One could not miss the oh-so trendy macaroons on the cookie tray.
Along the way
Meg Fairfax Fielding, local Pigtown Design blogger who I know from her food blog, Pigtown-Pigout was busy chatting up Barry Dixon. Susant Dumont of Media Two and I caught up. The mother and daughter duo Heidi Klotzman, HeidNSeek Entertainment and Helene Miller, Lean On Me Concierge, arrived looking all summery and freshly scrubbed. My high school friend, foodie and all around town bon vivant and musician, Freddie Stevens,Freddie Stevens Entertainment was at the keyboards. Brian Michael Lawrence of Style Magazine and Celeste Corsario of Charm City Food Tours stopped by before they were off to another event. Had fun dishing the dish with another one of my media peeps, Randi Rom, known for her superior events and articles in Food Service Monthly. Public relations friend Lisa Shenkle, VERB! Communications was there promoting Cameo Caterers and Cameo Appearance.
15 July 2010
I was invited to a party earlier this evening where Barry Dixon was guest of honour. He’s a charming southern man, originally from South Africa, but now from the American South. His designs reflect each of these differing southern sensibilities.The party was held at Gore Dean and it was the perfect venue for an evening event. The open courtyard in front of their old mill building was tented and there were lots of crisp and icy summer drinks, fabulous foods and a fun band combo playing. The shop was open for everyone to browse the wares and to take a break in the air conditioning.Each guest received a personalized signed copy of Dixon’s book, “Barry Dixon Interiors”, which was a lovely gift. I am looking forward to spending a lazy summer afternoon examining each of the gorgeous pictures in great detail and learning from a master.
Thanks for including me!