BURKELMAN: A High End Home Design Shop in Cold Spring, NY
101 Main St | Cold Spring, NY
The renaissance taking place in the Hudson Valley at large can most often be attributed to the small businesses in the towns and hamlets that dot the region. Such is the case in Cold Spring, a bustling village located in the Hudson Highlands, long characterized by its assemblage of quaint shops and restaurants. Its proximity to the city (just over an hour’s train ride from Grand Central Terminal) and stunningly scenic hiking trails, such as the popular Breakneck Ridge, make the village a sought-after and convenient destination for day trippers, weekenders, locals, and former urbanites looking to decamp somewhere with a little more leg room. Catering to them all is BURKELMAN, a highly curated home goods shop just up the street from the Metro-North train station.
BURKELMAN, a merger of Kevin Burke and David Kimelman both in name and creative energies, was borne of the couple’s passion for creating the environments in which life happens and memories are made. With David’s background in photography and graphic design, and Kevin’s experience in corporate creative for fashion brands, together they possess a unique skillset that has suited them well as owners of a lifestyle boutique, particularly in the areas of merchandising and styling. “We both love objects and art and craftsmanship and texture, so it made sense that this would be the type of retail store we would open,” explains David. “We refer to it as our life’s work because it really is the sum of our experiences and talents coming together into this one enterprise.”
When BURKELMAN originally launched as an online-only business in 2014, it was run entirely out of the couple’s previous home in Croton-on-Hudson, where David recalls “tractor trailers pulling up and dropping palettes of Italian home accessories on our sidewalk.” A physical outlet was always the dream, though, so when the duo came across an available Main Street storefront in Cold Spring — one replete with original details from its former life as a soda shop — they seized the opportunity. Their continual hunt for beautiful daily luxuries has resulted in an airy, light-filled brick-and-mortar chockablock with items rigorously vetted by Kevin and David, from local makers like Ash & Anchor, Andrew Molleur, and Hudson Beach Glass, to resplendent goods that hail from much farther corners of the globe. But no matter the origin — be it fair trade bath sheets and hand towels sourced from Ethiopia, jewelry handmade in Tel Aviv, or rugs procured in India — there is one thing that every item in the store has in common: they all serve to “enliven your everyday,” a phrase the two often use as a guide when carefully selecting their wares. “When we’re buying or looking at items for the store, it’s all about ‘where is that person going to sit and read a book?’ and ‘what is the pillow going to look like?’ and ‘what coffee mug is she going to have next to her?’” says Kevin. “It’s about the ritual of your everyday and making sure it is tactile, beautiful, and functional.”
BURKELMAN is a feast for the eyes, brimming with color, pattern, texture, and all manner of wares to delight your every sense. “At BURKELMAN, we do town and country,” says Kevin. “There are people coming in and getting the swivel chairs for their pied-à-terre in the city, and some that are buying the sectional for their country house in Garrison.”
The store — both in its layout and offerings — is constantly changing and evolving, ensuring that patrons never have the same shopping experience twice. “Locals and repeat customers come in and say, ‘Wow, everything is new and completely changed around,’ and I say, ‘That’s right, and when you come back it’s going to look different all over again,’” says Kevin.
“We’re a modern store, but we’re really about the juxtaposition and the appreciation for timeless beauty,” says Kevin. “It’s part of our philosophy when people come in looking to redo their homes. Sometimes it’s not about redoing everything — it’s about getting four new pillows for that sofa you already have, or getting a new rug, or a new mirror. It could be just a few things that transform a space.”
In addition to serving as a resource for both city-dwellers and more rural locals, BURKELMAN caters to another demographic that has seen a recent surge in the Hudson Valley: engaged couples who are ditching traditional venues for their dream upstate wedding. The shop’s registry, which was part of the original business when BURKELMAN was an online-only home brand, is a popular choice for those who would rather forgo the traditional china, and instead stock their marital home with more modern heirlooms, like hand-rolled and -printed honeycomb porcelain plates made by DBO Home in Connecticut, or an iconic Taurus bull-shaped earthenware pitcher hand painted in Portugal.
The couple has long wanted to add personal accessories beyond jewelry to the store and has recently begun doing so with brands like Elk, out of Australia, which makes high-quality vegetable-tanned leather bags. “‘Surprise and delight’ is a phrase we use all the time. It’s got to be beautiful, it’s got to be interesting — we like to present the unexpected,” says David. “But most importantly, it has to function.”
BURKELMAN highlights about a dozen lines of handmade dinnerware, serveware, and flatware from makers and brands you would be hard-pressed to find in a more mainstream store. “Our focus on tableware stems from our passion for entertaining, enjoying food, wine, and all good things,” says David. “That’s also what led us to launch our wedding registry.”
One of David and Kevin’s more recent additions to the store’s offerings is a line of custom upholstered furniture by California-based Cisco Brothers. The company has the highest environmental standards for production, which means their products contain no fire retardants or other harmful chemicals and aren’t made with endangered woods. “The craftsmanship and quality is just unsurpassed,” says David, “and they’re comfortable!”
“We’re constantly evolving and working through what it means to be small business owners, who we are in the community, and what we want to do next,” says Kevin. “We have so much planned for 2017, like forming our own private label, developing our candle line, and potentially adding locations. We don’t sit still.”