Design Within Reach opened its new Westport furnishings store downtown, inside a former restaurant and New Deal-era post office on Post Road East a few blocks from the town’s signature Bedford Square development.
The new DWR Westport Studio at 154 Post Road East totals nearly 10,000 square feet space on two floors, including a 30-foot “swatch wall” comprised of hundreds of upholstery tiles.
Design Within Reach has its headquarters in Stamford as a subsidiary of the Michigan-based furniture designer Herman Miller, with the company achieving wide visibility thanks to the AMC series “Mad Men” which sourced pieces from Design Within Reach for its sets.
Under New Canaan native and Westport proprietor Robert Goughary, the new Westport storefront is likewise retro with a modernist twist, built in 1935 for the U.S. Postal Service and later repurposed as a restaurant called Post 154. The property’s new incarnation was led by the New York-based architecture firm DFA; Design Within Reach previously operated a small studio on Elm Street in Westport.
“The great thing (about) ‘Mad Men’ is you see so much how … modernism was fitting into a more traditional background,” Goughary said.
It is not the first reclamation job for Design Within Reach, which established its Stamford headquarters in 2011 as one of the first corporate tenants of the then-emerging Harbor Point development, taking space in a refurbished factory building once used by Yale & Towne. The move came after the company sold a controlling stake to New York City-based Glenhill Capital, which installed Connecticut residents John Edelman and John McPhee as CEO and president, respectively. In 2014, Herman Miller spent $154 million to acquire Design Within Reach.
In Westport, Design Within Reach joins a home furnishings marketplace that within a few blocks includes Dovecote, House of Clement, Jonathan Adler, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Serena & Lily and the West Elm affiliate of Williams Sonoma.
For Edelman, rubbing elbows with like-minded rivals only expands the universe of shoppers that might check out Design Within Reach’s new quarters, in the same way the Stamford store has benefited from a nearby antiques district that is a magnet for furniture enthusiasts from throughout the region. His own obsession with design spills over into his personal life; after he and spouse Bonnie amassed a huge collection of furniture pieces over nearly two decades from flea markets around the world, in September 2015 the Ridgefield couple held their own flea sale of sorts to clear out the inventory, at a warehouse in New Milford where they were storing the collection.