“It’s the overlap of the cultures that turns me on,” says Scott Hill, a veteran of Ralph Lauren and Gant, of his fascination with the early American republic. “The French, the English, the colonists, the Native Americans.” The proof’s in the pillows (and textiles, chairs, and bags) that Hill creates: French country toiles are silkscreened over images of iconic Americana, like from-the-archives images of Whitman and Poe, and the Declaration of Independence. His new home design shop, Old Village Hall, sits on a particularly metropolitan block in the East Village—two doors down from a boutique that will custom-make vampire fangs, no less—but looks like a clapboard store from a rural country town, which is exactly where it used to be. Following his business (Graydon Carter and Kate Winslet are two high-profile fans), Hill recently packed up his store in Andes, New York, a Catskills burg of less than 300 residents, and returned to the city. He’s brought the country air with him: In addition to custom orders, silk-screened pillows, and reupholstered armchairs and couches (starting around $400), he’s selling antiques and specialty goods picked up in his back-roads travels. That includes everything from vintage tin toy soldiers to landscape paintings to moonshine jugs of maple syrup. Everything that’s not nailed down in his homey shop is for sale…with one exception, that is. I admired a taxidermied red fox keeping a glassy-eyed watch over all the merchandise. “That’s Foxy,” Hill told me. “My daughter Coco would beat me up if I sold her.” As if summoned, Coco appeared next to me, as fiercely protective as any den mother. I went with a balsam-stuffed pillow instead.
Old Village Hall, 170 E. 2nd St., NYC, (212) 677-7307, Old Village Hall, 170 E. 2nd St., NYC, (212) 677-7307, www.theoldvillagehall.com.