Saturday June 29, 2013

ELIZABETH CONKEY

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Upon entering The Owl’s Nest at 353 Main St., it is difficult to decide where exactly to focus your attention. If your gaze does not immediately land on the giant, stuffed catamount above the counter, it may land on the stuffed moose head mounted on the opposite wall, the collection of paintings, pictures and 18th- to mid-century items displayed around the shop, or perhaps stop individually at each beautifully refinished chair, sofa, chaise lounge, cabinet and table arranged tightly but thoughtfully throughout the showroom.

Owners Michael Roy and Jeanne Gauthier opened The Owl’s Nest on the last weekend in May, after falling in love with Vermont last Christmas.

"I absolutely loved the sense of creativity in and natural beauty of Vermont," said Gauthier. "I knew I wanted to start a new life here and that there was a market for antiques in the area, so, moving to Bennington was a perfect choice."

Upholstery experience

Gauthier, who has over 25 years of upholstery experience, previously owned and operated a business similar to The Owl’s Nest in Fitchburg, Mass., which served greater New England as well as parts of New Jersey.

Gauthier said one of her primary goals when opening the shop was to foster a sense of eclecticism.

"I love the idea of mixing the old with the new," said Gauthier. "That’s why you’ll see a repurposed, antique chair next to a modern picture here in the shop.


Advertisement

I encourage my customers to do the same thing in their own homes."

Gauthier said her shop is unique compared to other antique shops.

"I’ve worked hard to make my shop welcoming rather than intimidating," she said. "It’s certainly not the typical antique store atmosphere. I’ve tried to make my items affordable so that everyone can come in and find at least one thing within their budget."

Diversified style

Gauthier’s diversified decorating style and affordability make her shop one-of-a-kind, but it’s her passion for the craft of upholstery and her insistence on quality that make her business and products first-class.

"When people ask me to re-upholster a piece of furniture I always make sure the foundation of the piece itself is solid," said Gauthier. "If it isn’t, I won’t refinish it. I care about my customers’ investments and I want them to be completely satisfied with the final product."

It could not be more clear that Gauthier loves what she does. Her work represents Vermont’s core attributes: ingenuity and creativity.

"I enjoy every minute that I’m working on a piece a furniture," she said. "It feels good breathing life back into something that someone once put a lot of work into."

Gauthier is excited to share her work with the community and invites the public to experience, "a different kind of antiquing" at her shop.

The Owl’s Nest will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5p.m. An open house will be held this weekend during normal business hours.

Learn more about The Owl’s Nest at www.owlsnestshop.com or call the shop directly at 802-447-3533.

Contact Elizabeth Conkey at econkey@benningtonbanner.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.