The Stonehouse: Found Objects and Handcrafted Goods in Delhi, NY
92 Main St | Delhi, NY
Growing up in rural Germany, near the France-Luxembourg border, Andrea Menke was more intrigued by the imagery of the American Southwest than with her fairytale surroundings. Her career as a fashion and prop stylist eventually landed her in New York City, where she worked for fifteen years with designers and national retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Anthropologie. In 2007, a fixation with straw-bale houses led her to the Western Catskills, where she met Clark Sanders, an eccentric homesteader known for constructing energy-efficient straw-bale houses from scratch. “He was supposed to build me a house,” laughs Andrea, “but we fell in love first. Two months later, I gave up my apartment and moved upstate.”
She chose the town of Delhi, a vibrant and fast-growing community in the Catskills, just a few hours north of the city. Coupled life in a small town was blissful, except her home quickly began brimming with collected treasures from her travels abroad — everything from hand embroidered pillows to antique wooden bowls to Moroccan tea glasses — and she was running out of room. It seemed the best and most exciting solution was to open up a shop.
The Stonehouse is Andrea’s tiny boutique filled with found objects and handcrafted goods, specifically named for the home Clark built for the two of them. Set in a former barber shop, a step inside is like stumbling upon a miniature Moroccan bazaar in the heart of Delaware County. Stocked with nearly everything a world traveler could want — from antique knives to hand dyed aprons to plush piles of linens — there is the promise that no two trips will ever be alike as she continuously brings forth new objects and textiles to display. “It’s a wonderful experience to be here, sitting in front of my store, in the sun, where people just stop by for a chat or a cup of tea and, of course, to shop,” she says.
Located on Main Street, The Stonehouse fits right in with Delhi’s antique and framing stores. “I think I’ve changed the window display about four times since opening,” says Andrea, noting her proclivity for grouping objects by color. “I can barely put something blue with something red in one corner; I love really vibrant colors, and I love wood, but old wood with patina and textures.”
Andrea’s diverse selection is a distinct reflection of her worldly career. Toward the front of the shop, hanging Moroccan lanterns add whimsy to a rustic display of antique cooking boards from Germany, slender emerald and turquoise vases from Guadalajara, Mexico, and an assortment of pepper mills.
“Everybody loves knives,” she says, “especially when they happen to be navaja, a classic folding knife made in Spain.” A hit with customers, she has sold hundreds of them since the store first opened.
A bold display featuring Moroccan tea glasses, placemats, tablecloths, Mexican pillows with hand-embroidered Otomi motifs, and handcrafted Mexican-Indian animals made of solid wool.
A pair of antique paintings found in the Berkshires blends in with a collection of decorative buddhas — one of which could be 100 years old — and a hanging feather piece made by Andrea herself. Next to it, leather and hand-dyed linen aprons by Brooklyn designer Rebecca Alexander hang on the wall.
An unabashed lover of oranges, reds and pinks, Andrea enjoys browsing the stores in New York Chinatown for various papers. She often uses kraft paper and hemp string to create her own gift wrap.
Southwestern-style jewelry is a favorite of Andrea’s, especially when it’s made with silver and turquoise. Here she is modeling a stringy necklace by Rebecca Alexander, who makes all of her jewelry by hand in her Brooklyn Navy Yard studio.
Though she had never heard of Delhi before she met Clark, Andrea is grateful to be a part of its ever-expanding network of small business owners. “I love that I can walk three stores down and get my lunch at the Blue-Bee cafe, leave my door open with a sign that says ‘I’ll be back in five,’ or that my friend Nini from Tay Tea can stop by and bring me my tea order because she’s just a few minutes away,” she says. “The intimacy of a small town is priceless for me at this point in my life.”