An interview with
The year 2014 has brought yet another dimension to the arsenal of Natalie Weinstein’s companies serving homeowners on Long Island and beyond. Uniquely Natalie, a retail outlet for home furnishings and accessories, has grown. It began last year as a designer driven shop on Lake Avenue in St. James adjoining the new larger headquarters of Natalie Weinstein Design Associates. The vacant original building, a landmark vaudeville theater built in the early 1900’s directly across a municipal parking lot, still beckoned. With the continued goal of enabling everyone to enjoy a beautiful home no matter what their budget, Natalie decided to expand into the world of consignment furniture, thus going full circle from home, office, and public space interior design to quality pre-owned furniture.
HOUSE caught up with Natalie at her corporate offices to find out more:
House - Natalie, what prompted you to open a furniture consignment business?
Nat – Actually there were several “signs” since we relocated. It was almost as if I were guided to make the decision. I love the old vaudeville theater. Bernie and I started his company there in 1985 and it has special meaning to me. Whenever I thought about selling it, something always stopped me. Also, since my design firm started in the 70’s, many of my former clients are now relocating and downsizing. While I’ve been having fun with “re-do’s”, they have many beautiful things that just don’t fit. Finally it was my wonderful staff who have been so supportive of the idea, some who are experienced in retail and consignment, and all who are willing to take on a new challenge.
House – How will this consignment store work?
Nat – As a design firm, obviously you can’t take the “decorator” out of our mindset. So we’ll only be receiving furniture and home accessories that are “like new” or very good condition and we’ll be setting up vignettes. We’ll be open to the public Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a special time for designers to shop and merchandise will be picked up and delivered over the weekend or evenings, so people can buy and sell on their schedule.
House - Will there be other things for sale?
Nat – We will also have quality handbags and jewelry as well as sports memorabilia, art, antiques, collectibles and some new items. As time goes on we’ll see what the public wants. Since this is a new venture, we’re excited about the future and what it holds.
House – Natalie, you've been a designer for more than 40 years. In the last few years, you've expanded your firm, continued your association with WALK Radio, debuted a new total home rug collection under your own brand, celebrated over a decade with your free Home Decorating Club, speak and write about good design often and undertaken so many other new projects, including this new Uniquely Natalie consignment store. I can hardly list it without getting tired. How do you actually do it?
Nat – Truthfully, I wouldn't be happy any other way. I live my passion, the world of design, every day and every day something new and exciting seems to pop up. I just get up, face the world with a smile, and go! Of course the wings beneath my feet are my work family, my dear staff, who encourage me. I often leave them exasperated, but they are always there to support me. Uniquely Natalie is one project each and every one of us views with great excitement. We love seeking out great merchandise and finding it a new home and we love the people we meet along the way.
House – Does this mean your design firm will take a back seat to your “new baby”?
Nat – On the contrary, my clients, who become my friends and extended family, are the reason I love what I do so much. The creativity and stimulating challenge of their projects are the wonder of my day. That diversity keeps me and my team always on our toes. Uniquely Natalie is really a project born from many years of contacts, clients and sources. Now we can bring something “unique” to the public in the way of consignment shopping and expand our horizons in creating beautiful surroundings that bring people to the level of their personal best.