Worth the Tripp: Antiques Get a Modern Spin in Oak Hill
I.U. Tripp is a hidden gem in the Catskills. It's more of a destination than the average antique shop, and it's well-worth a weekend road trip into the quaint town of Oak Hill. Housed in an ornate 1888 Victorian, the store blends old with new. The stylish mannequins and scented geraniums in the storefront window are the first clues that something special is going on inside.
The long walls of the sizable store are filled with enough pretty old things to provide a long afternoon of browsing, starting with color-coded vintage china, subtly marked by Scrabble racks.
Looking at these photos is like staring at one of my son's Where's Waldo books -- the more I gaze at them, the more I see. In the lower-left corner of the photo above, there's an unusual knotty-looking box that's described on I.U. Tripp's shopping site as "an exceptional French faux bois cedar chest covered in paper mâché and cedar panels on all six sides," circa 1880.
They've also got a well-curated and pristine collection of glassware. The whole store seemed to sparkle, and the source of the glow was Chris Gordon, a partner in this family business. Soon after we started chatting with him, he was leading us on a tour of his magical, meticulously renovated home next door. (I'll share that tour -- and more about Chris -- in a future post.)
Though this place is a treasure trove of antiques, I.U. Tripp is beginning to specialize in items that bridge the gap between old and new. For instance, Chris crafts gorgeous indigo pillows, "made with antique indigo engineer stripe cotton circa 1870, with a new Belgian linen back and new feather down insert." He also makes scented geranium candles, pouring the wax into pretty little shrimp cocktail glasses (pictured at right). The glasses stirred some nostalgia in my mother-in-law, a life-long shrimp-lover. She bought six.
Chris's sister crafts lamps from her collection of vintage thermoses (pictured above). If you're interested in a thermos lamp with a particular color scheme, ask someone at the shop, as they might be able to build exactly what you need.
The shop owners are still working on the back room of the house, which is decorated with ancient paint and moulding that has been preserved through many generations. The room feels like a step into the past, and I love that the staff is working hard to keep it that way. I can't wait to see how the display changes as all these beautiful objects come together.
I.U. Tripp also stocks more playful items, like vintage toys, games, and children's books in the back of the shop's main room.
And I loved their selection of cups and mugs, particularly the Pa and Pop cups (pictured below), which are the names my children call my father and my father-in-law, respectively.
Speaking of the kids, I wouldn't recommend bringing little ones here. On our visit, the kids were warmly welcomed, but I was so worried about them breaking stuff that I didn't get as much shopping in as I would've liked... but I'll definitely be back!