Why Creatives Are Turning Their Studios Into Designer Decor Shops


The new trend in retail? Designers turning their offices into chic boutiques. These two new designer decor shops are fab examples.

pink rug, two round chairs, a wood-and-metal side table and a coat hanger at Assembly Line


multiple fabrics and textiles on display at Assembly Line



General Assembly, the architecture and design studio helmed by Sarah Zames and Colin Stief, is expanding its footprint in Brooklyn to include Assembly Line, a new design center and decor shop in Boerum Hill. Zames and Stief were inspired to open a boutique to service home improvement needs, offering high quality materials from clé to Calico Wallpaper and Kast Concrete Basins.

“We wanted to create a place where anyone interested in design, either personally or professionally, could find inspiration, flip through magazines, explore the work of local artists and feel at home,” explains Zames.

Customers can put together a palette from Assembly Line’s materials library or simply browse the shop’s curated selection of home-ready pieces. These include lighting, rugs and furniture, as well as special objects by designers like Established & Sons, Hannah Bigeleisen, Steven Bukowski, Fort Standard and In Common With. “We feel confident to have them in our shop,” says Zames, “because we’ve used their designs in our own projects time and time again.”

detail shot of home decor items at McGrath II shop, including tableware, books and a green lamp with white shade


McGrath II boutique interior feature rattan table lamp, pillows on a shelves, toiletries and wall decor



When Suzanne and Lauren McGrath, the mother-daughter design duo behind McGrath II, moved their studio from Madison Avenue to Greenwich, Connecticut, last March, they didn’t initially plan to open a retail arm. “As we built out our office, the space next door was also open and we thought, why not expand and fill it with things we love?” Lauren recalls.

Along with her husband Chris Lospalluto, the pair launched the McGrath II studio shop, filling its shelves with products from their favorite ceramicists, artists and designers. “Finding pieces for the shop is something we do naturally everyday as we source for all our design projects,” says Lauren. “We often buy a few items for a client from a dealer and purchase something special for the store at the same time.” Some of their favorite finds include handmade table lamps with straw lampshades from a Barcelona-based artist, vintage pots from rural Maine and small vases in an array of colors from a ceramicist in the Berkshires.

“It’s all about the mix—sourcing vintage and antique pieces from different countries and periods. We’re always bringing in new merchandise, and so much of it is one of a kind,” Lauren adds. “The idea is that every time you stop by, there’s always something fresh and interesting to see.”