Suite Pieces: The Patron Saints of Home DIY
If you’re looking to add some punchy new wares to your dwelling and not burn through your wallet, the new home goods boutique, Suite Pieces (162 Huron St), is the latest addition to Greenpoint.
The cozy locale has vintage furniture and DIY supplies to give that unique feel to your pad. The products are meticulously curated from vintage card cases, glassware, to reworked tables, chairs, and bureaus. A painted vintage mirror runs $95 while vintage glasses were a few bucks.
Besides affordable goods and artfully selected pieces, the store also offers DIY classes to get your creativity on. Novices and seasoned warriors are all welcome with classes at varying levels from “Intro to Chalk Paint” and “Weak to Chic.” Class prices start at $180, which include lunch, goodie bags, shopping discounts, and more.
I had the pleasure of meeting the founders, Corina and Amanda, and got to pick their brains on furniture, friendship, and our beloved Brooklyn.
GP: What inspired you to start Suite Pieces? What were you doing before?
Corina: As a dealer at the Brooklyn Flea, I always dreamed of having a showroom. It was meeting Amanda that made that dream attainable. Now I have a partner to share all the hard work that comes with being a shop owner, someone who shares my same passion and drive.
Amanda: Two and a half years ago I was sitting at a desk in corporate America, feeling completely unfulfilled. I had always loved interior design, and especially furniture. I decided I needed to be a part of that world. I made a bold decision to quit my job and follow my dream. I wasn’t even exactly sure what my dream looked like at the time, but I knew that it was to have my own business. I rented a space in an antique store and things fell into place from there with the DIY Boutique & workshops. I launched the store in Huntington in 2012 shortly after renting that space in the antique shop. I originally went to school to be a math teacher, so teaching came naturally. I truly love sharing my knowledge & inspiring others to not only design & customize their space to reflect their style, but also to follow their own dreams.
GP: What was your philosophy for creating Suite Pieces? I like how your store merges DIY inspiration, vintage furniture, and eclectic taste.
Corina: Thanks. I think Amanda and I brought our strengths together to create a shop that not only houses great vintage furniture, but inspires and educates you to recreate your own piece. We love to share our knowledge and pass it on. I have come to find that the creative process of working on a piece, of adding your personal style to it can be even more rewarding than finding a piece that is in perfect condition, and that is what we share with our customers.
Amanda: I am a DIY’er at heart…and a frugal one at that! I love seeing the potential in something that has been cast away. Combining a DIY Boutique with refurbished furniture & workshops just seemed very natural. I couldn’t imagine selling this beautiful furniture and then telling people how I did it was a secret. I needed to be able to share that aspect too. Finding Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan and the other fabulous products we carry was pure fate. I love representing all the brands and sharing my passion & knowledge for them.
GP: What is your vision when picking products for Suite Pieces? How do you see a new life in an older piece of furniture?
Corina: I pick pieces that I would love to have in my house. I look beyond cosmetic damage and value construction and great lines.
Amanda: Well first things first, it needs to be a quality furniture piece. Sometimes the treasures we find are perfectly aged and we leave them just so. Sometimes, they need a little help in the style department and that’s where we come in. Corina has an incredible eye for the Brooklyn market so I trust her judgment and direction. I’ve learned which pieces we’ll be painting and the ones that will stand on their own.
GP: What is the Suite Pieces style? Is there a specific vision or aesthetic that you see for your store and its customers? How does Brooklyn fit into that image?
Corina: We love statement pieces, and give them a twist to fit with our two locations which have a different aesthetic. Huntington is traditional and romantic, while Brooklyn is modern and bold. It is the DIY aspect that brings it all together for us. Brooklyn is the land of the DIYers and we are very excited to be a part of it. We can’t wait to see what our customers will be creating and calling their own.
Amanda: My own personal style is a bit of preppy glam, but I am drawn to and appreciate a broad range of styles. I certainly wouldn’t be satisfied with just one shop with one style. At Suite Pieces, we will continue to expand and bring local markets the style they crave for all things vintage. Each shop will have an emphasis on the DIY Boutique & Workshop aspects, but the vintage furnishings will have a unique & individual style drawn from the market around it. The Greenpoint store plays up on mid-century with a Hollywood Regency flare. We mix in some industrial & pops of glam. We’ve gotten a great reception and we’re so excited to be part of the neighborhood!
GP: What are your current favorites at Suite Pieces?
Corina: My favorite piece is a wooden mirror with foil leaf accent. It is in the chippendale style, original finish, but with a triangular accent I added to the top with gold foil. It gives it an 80’s touch that is fun.
Amanda: Several of my favorite pieces have left the shop already! I was in love with the Squares Mirror Corina found as well as her two-toned Scandinavian Pink dresser. Currently, I am in love with the Old White & wood toned credenza. I’m also swooning over the pair of Napoleonic Blue & faux campaign nightstands in the shop. They’re the perfect little size for an apartment here in Brooklyn. And you wouldn’t imagine how they started out!
GP: Greenpoint is driven by many women-owned businesses. Do you have any advice for soon-to-be biz owners and entrepreneurs?
Corina: Listen to your gut instinct and be ready to negotiate everything. Every percent counts! Amanda and I started looking for real estate back in November of last year, and walked away from many potentially good spaces because there was always something that did not seem right, one aspect of the deal that seemed risky. We also negotiated leases against hardball negotiators and stood our ground. In the end we moved on and pursued what we felt was right, and we are very happy with our choice.
Amanda: Let your heart be your guide. I am very analytical but also very creative. Sometimes the analytical side doesn’t make sense. Let the man upstairs lead your steps and follow your heart. Have faith in your plans and don’t listen to the naysayers.
GP: What plans do you have for the store?
Corina: It’s a small space, but we are looking to change the floor plan often and make it must-stop in the neighborhood to see what new things we have brought in. We are also planning to offer more workshops in the month with introductory and advanced classes in painting and decorating furniture.
Amanda: Besides always updating our inventory to keep the shop fresh, we plan on adding some shorter workshops that are geared towards creating a specific project for your home. For example, a mirror with a textured plaster or a fall centerpiece with Mason jars…kind of like a Pinterest party.