A regular customer of Ocean View’s Beach Cottage visited the furniture store/art gallery recently — not to purchase anything, but to show her new puppy to the store’s owner, Karen Pomije.
Another customer once visited, according to Pomije, to introduce baby twins. Others often visit the three-year-old store just to say hello, she said.
Besides selling unique furniture and displaying local artists’ work, Pomije and the 80-year-old two-story quaint cottage offer a welcoming, friendly place to shop and sometimes just to visit.
“I don’t want to compete with other furniture stores,” the interior decorator from northern New Jersey said last week. “I just want to be different.”
Downstairs, various knick knacks, frames, furniture and different genres of artwork decorate the shop’s rooms, which once served as a home to local residents ,and are now decorated with a holiday theme featuring Christmas trees, ornaments and dolls.
And, as Pomije pointed out while touring the store last Friday, a majority of the furniture displayed, including dining room tables, step-back cabinets and chairs, are hand-crafted. With a worn look, all fit the theme of the cottage-style shop. Even “hand-made” is a theme of the inviting destination. Wine glasses sitting atop one of the hand-crafted tables come hand-painted with colorful sandals.
Blown glass shown throughout the store also follows the trend. Pomije sold a blown glass light recently that resembles an octopus complete with tentacles. Blown glass pens and wine glasses are also available.
The hand-made furniture and blown glass are, in fact, just as much pieces of art as the framed pieces that decorate the walls of the shop’s first and second floors. In the shop, Pomije features the photography of Joanna Schneider, Tom O’Connor and Chip Deitrick. And cement indoor/outdoor art from a Connecticut artist displayed downstairs offers a unique flavor to the shop and has been very popular, according to Pomije.
Upstairs, the owner features two local watercolorists with strikingly contrasting styles. Once upstairs, the room to the right features realistic country home and country-living landscapes painted with watercolor by local Dorothy Harrison Braun, who visited the Beach Cottage last Friday. Many of Braun’s landscapes are inspired locally and some depict the beauty of marshes and waterways with which most here are familiar. Flowers painted, again, with a realistic tone, are also one of Braun’s specialties.
Across the hall, though, realism is not the object. Vibrant reds, yellows and blues are featured throughout Aubre Duncan’s paintings which would liven up any room. Most depict beach scenes appropriate for the area. In one, two beach chairs lounge alone on a beach and in another two dogs sit together in the sand just off the ocean. Boats and fences in the sand painted with eye-opening color add another perspective to everyday local sights.
The two galleries upstairs certainly complement downstairs’ homey, lived-in feel of the shop Pomije obviously intended. Because of that atmosphere, the Beach Cottage, which early next year will celebrate its third birthday, has become a place for locals to regularly shop and sometimes just visit.
“It’s what I wanted,” Pomije said. “It’s what I expected. I consider myself very fortunate.”