Hitting Home

Hitting Home

When Kimberly Pedrick, long-time owner of Chapel Street fashion boutique idiom, decided to open another store, she ended up much closer to home than she’d originally planned—and in more ways than one.

“I’d always assumed I would open another idiom, someplace else,” she says. But last September found her opening a home goods and lifestyle store just a few doors down from her first venture. Like idiom, the new store is stylish and cozy, from its lowercase first consonant to the array of eclectic products for sale.

Inside, the store is a riot of color and texture. Pheasant feathers and vintage green martini glasses, burled wooden bowls, leopard-printed cotton onesies, textiles with stripes and pom-poms and shimmering threads, pillows embroidered with dogs, small-batch perfume and brightly colored shoelaces. All the items are functional—glasses and spoons, clothing and matches—but none of them are plain. “It’s all stuff that hopefully makes people smile when they walk by the window,” Pedrick says.

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She describes her goods as “useful but also indulgent… they can be presents for you or for someone else. Either way, you want them to be used with joy. They’ve got a story.”

For Pedrick, one of the pleasures of curating dwell is learning these backstories. There are cocktail mixers from a third-generation South Carolina company, hand-drawn cards from a Connecticut artist and jewelry from Rochester, New York. Plump ceramic guinea hens from the south of France sit grandly on a shelf. When they were displayed in the front window, Pedrick says, “I can’t tell you the number of people who walked by and then came in asking about them.”

The wide variety of content is divided into themed sections—kitchen, bar, baby, lingerie, bedding, apothecary. The baby items are especially hot sellers, Pedrick says, holding up a miniature outfit. “There’s really nowhere to buy baby clothes downtown,” she points out.

There’s also a larger idea underpinning every choice in dwell. “The whole concept was love of family, home, gathering together,” she says. “Celebrating life’s events. It can be as simple as making yourself a cocktail on a Friday night, or as big as celebrating the birth of a grandchild.”

Dwell also offers informal interior design services. Recently, a customer came into dwell looking to celebrate something more unusual: silence. “She needed a mom-den,” Pedrick says. “A room that children weren’t allowed in, where she could have a peaceful, relaxing environment after a day spent with four boys.” Pedrick helped her put the room together piece by piece, beginning with a colorful rug.

Unsurprisingly, she feels strongly about shopping local. “Yes, you can go on Google and probably come up with some of these items. But you’re not touching; you’re not feeling; you’re not experiencing… it’s more than just things.” For Pedrick, the idea of home is closely tied to the city that’s supported her. “I feel like New Haven really embraces the importance of ‘shop small’… It’s a norm for people in this community,” she says. “That’s what’s kept me at idiom for 13 years, and that’s what allowed me to open a second endeavor.”

In the future, dwell may branch out and begin selling larger vintage pieces, like the furniture and fixtures currently used to display items throughout the store. Pedrick says she spent months tracking down and refurbishing the perfect mix of furnishings. She points to one of them: a coffee table she’s created out of vintage suitcases. “The store is very reflective of my taste, and this is my style—something that has a few chips and nicks—something with a history.”

1022 Chapel St, New Haven (map)
Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun noon-5pm
(203) 691-6751

Written and photographed by Sorrel Westbrook.

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