When I first walked into The Dovecote, I swore. Dang it! This is exactly the shop I want to open! As I filled my arms with ridiculously cool things at surprisingly palatable prices, I never stopped muttering like a jealous Othello.
Then I met the proprietress, Ellen Hildebrand, who's one cool chica, and I knew I was going to stalk her.
Let's start with the shop. It's beautiful. A former drugstore and soda fountain, it is well-situated on the busiest corner of Cedarburg, Wisconsin's vibrant shopping district. The bones of the space are just what one would want -- high ceilings, uneven hardwood floors, and big windows that let in lots of natural light.
Ellen has filled The Dovecote with a mix of old, gently used, and new home furnishings that Ralph Lauren would swoon over. Zebra print chairs, kilim rugs, metallic throw pillows, vintage brass, hand-thrown pottery, modern dipped baskets, antique sterling silver, sleek chrome and leather, it's all here. And the prices! Goodness, only in Wisconsin can you find such prices.
Ellen knows her price points are a little low. She has two sisters who work as interior designers who tell her so. But Ellen loves proving her maxim that it doesn't take a fat pocketbook to live graciously.
And that's not the only thing she is trying to prove.
Ellen opened The Dovecote after a midlife divorce forced her out of a husband/wife business. She had to do something to support herself. Her mother used to tell her: "When you leave the house, take your lipstick and your credit card. With your lipstick, you'll always look your best, and with your credit card, you can pay your own way." Retooling her mom's advice for her own generation, she woke up one day and told herself, "Giddy up, Girl!" She determined that whatever she did next, it must be something she naturally loved doing and must allow her to bring her doggie to work.
That was two years ago. Ellen's shop just celebrated its second anniversary.
Now I know my readers are going to ask Ellen the same question they ask me: Where do you find your treasures?
We both share a love of the hunt. Ellen scours the countryside. She attends auctions. She rescues from garbage heaps. And she has some fabulous sources in Europe who keep her stocked in Austrian-German goodies for your alpine lodge.
She knows when she sees something with potential. It doesn't have to be precious or conventionally valuable. She doesn't care about provenance. She embraces imperfection. Just like me!
So without further delay, here is the link to The Dovecote's Facebook page. Do her a solid and click the 'like' button, pleeze! The shop is located at W62 N580 Washington Avenue in Cedarburg and is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11-4:30 and Sunday, 11-4.
Oh, and as a reward for reading all the way down here, how about a chance at a $100 gift certificate to The Dovecote?! All you have to do is write up a little ditty about why you love your home. Ellen is accepting entries through October 31st. Email yours here.
Now when all my local readers stop in to The Dovecote, which I know you are going to do because you like pretty things, you will notice that my stalking paid off. Ellen has generously given me some space for a pop-up shop. She has a strong collaborative streak and likes the idea of us helping each other. Below are photos of one of the vignettes currently available at The Dovecote. It's called The Moody Mariner.
Photos of The Moody Mariner by Renn Kuhnen. All other photos are mine.
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