Local Haunts World Market
Visit Buenos Aires and Paris by way of Ridgefield’s Main Street, where three hip, new shops stock goods from afar.
Photographs by John Bessler
Hazel & Sid
423 Main Street
Take a seat on the round 1950s sofa covered in pink velvet in the rear of Hazel & Sid, and you’ll feel transported to South America. Owner Andrea Anderson’s colorful shop, filled with antiques from Buenos Aires, instantly satisfies a certain amount of wanderlust.
Opened a year ago, Hazel & Sid is named after Andrea’s bootlegging great-grandparents. “Hazel was fun, lively, a real free spirit,” says Andrea, who inherited the same sense of adventure. A one-time resident of Argentina and France, Andrea travels to South America several times a year to scour the markets for pieces for the store. “I didn’t speak any Spanish when I first went there, and my Spanish is still terrible,” she says with a laugh. Yet she still manages to negotiate with the vendors who set aside unusual items for her, including a red baker’s counter topped with zinc (“It would make a great kitchen island”), a French bidet and an old meat locker.
At the Buenos Aires markets business is done in cash, so Andrea bargains wearing cargo pants, her pockets stuffed with dollars and pesos. “Argentina is one of the last places where the dollar is still king,” she explains. She hunts for pieces with character and keeps them “genuine by not over-finishing them.” In addition to chairs upholstered in offbeat fabrics and wrought-iron railings (she suggests using them as fire screens), she also carries leather-and-llama skirts, vintage jewelry and modern art.
“On my last day of a trip, I’ll often find something that I just have to bring back—like vintage soda bottles—and I’ll stick them in my carry-on bag and take them right on the plane,” Andrea says.
418 Main Street
Riley, a toy poodle, and Tucker, a Maltese, welcome customers to the recently renovated Olley Court. Owners Susan Buzaid and Robin Curnan reconfigured the space before opening in 2007, but most of their design work doesn’t involve overhauls; they specialize in the smalls. “You don’t have to change an entire room,” Susan advises. “Instead, bring in conversation pieces, objects that make you smile.”
Olley Court carries plenty of them: a wood—carved stag’s head, pottery from Bali and Thailand and cowskin rugs. They also stock organic items—everything from shell lighting fixtures to leaf-shaped bowls—and furniture, including a hand-carved oak slab table and linen-covered French club chairs. There are great gifts too: bamboo reed candles and decoupage trays with maps of Nantucket or Central Park.
Susan and Robin also offer “a la carte” design services, such as in-home paint color selection and staging. “We bring in new tables, pillows and throws, tabletop books, one-of-a-kind items,” Susan explains. “We’ll pump things up and make spaces more fun.”
454 Main Street
A former model and buyer for fashion labels Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan, Maureen Rivard opened French Market in the spring of 2007. “After having children, I got really interested in decorating,” says Maureen, who previously ran a hand-painted furniture business. During several trips abroad she was especially captivated by the Parisian flea markets: “I just love the wonderful mix of old and new, and French, Asian and Italian influences.”
Maureen has a passion for updating classic furniture with unexpected fabrics, such as a Victorian fainting couch found in Albany, New York, that she upholstered in chartreuse terrycloth. “It would be awesome for a big bathroom or a sitting room off of a bedroom,” she says. She also recently finished a pair of Italian gold throne chairs in lavender velvet.
In addition, she carries home accessories, such as marble buddhas and vintage lighting, but it’s the mirrors (some edged with old ceiling tiles) that are her secret weapon: “Every room can use one.”