You Can’t Find the Tomato Lanterns and Lobster Ceramics in This New Brooklyn Shop Anywhere Else in America
Welcome to Outline.
Published Sep 15, 2022 1:03 AM
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In our Ask a Shopkeeper series, we tap the coolest store owners we know for a tour of their space and to ask them what items are trending right now—and beyond. For this installment, Margaret Austin, Hannah Rieke, and Julia Edelman—the cofounders of Outline in Brooklyn—take us inside their new concept shop.
Why did you decide to open Outline?
Margaret Austin: Opening and running a store was always a dream of mine, but after four years working as a buyer, I felt as though I needed a change, so I left it behind to become a librarian. It took one semester of graduate school for me to realize just how much I missed it. Walking around Brooklyn (where I grew up!) and seeing the damage done by COVID to the retail landscape, I felt that the opportunity to help repair was clear. I reached out to longtime friends Julia and Hannah, and the seeds of Outline were planted.
How do you describe the design of the store?
Hannah Rieke: We wanted the space to feel inviting, natural, and cozy. In my mind’s eye, the store is broken into two parts: The main shop floor in the front has a classic store feel, and the communal area in the back—made up of the living room, the studio, and the garden—has a very homey feel. An integral aspect of the design is the custom millwork done by our talented friends Antoine Dumas and Benji Gavron; they designed and crafted the custom shelving throughout the space, as well as the banquette seating section in the front.
What kind of home goods do you carry, and how do you find your vendors?
Austin: We carry a very curated range of home goods, from ceramics to paper lamps to gardening tools. Two of our brands, Casa Adams from Sydney and Kutsurogu from Tokyo, I found on Instagram. Neither had ever sold wholesale in the U.S. before, so that was cool. Then there is Jan Burtz—
Julia Edelman: That’s my mom! She first started selling her pottery to ABC Carpet & Home when she was 26 or 27. Now her studio is in my childhood home in Connecticut. We collaborated to create a special collection of exclusive vases and color combinations.
What renos did you make to the store?
Rieke: The first time we saw the space, it was being gutted, filled wall to wall with construction materials, so this meant we had a clean slate to work with. But because the layout spoke so perfectly to our concept and vision, we didn’t want to make any structural changes. Aside from the beautiful windowpanes and two skylights, which flood the back area with light, we renovated every inch of the space. Most important, we had always dreamed of having a working studio in the store, and the glass atrium was the perfect place for it. We added the green and white cement Mosaic House tiles and a 5-foot-long farmhouse sink for making bouquets with flowers from our garden.
The garden! Whose idea was it, and how do you envision customers using that space?
Edelman: I knew I wanted the garden to function both as an aesthetically beautiful space as well as a cut flower area where I can harvest blooms for the bouquets we’ll be selling. The garden is a bit wild, with flowers growing in every direction, which is what I had envisioned. We will also host a variety of events in the backyard and encourage customers to step outside to enjoy the space.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the bathroom.
Austin: We knew we wanted to go over the top.
Rieke: Honestly, I didn’t expect it to get to the point it’s at now. We felt strongly that we didn’t want it to be anything like the rest of the store. We fell in love with the pink Clé tile and the House of Hackney wallpaper but couldn’t choose between the two, so we decided to do both! It snowballed from there.