TRUMBULL, Conn. — Nancy Eckl’s “Tranquility” features stenciled glass panels highlighting its mixed media approach.
Robin Berenson used acrylic and metallic paints to achieve the highly dramatic effect in her “Imperial Treasure.”
Feel like you’re strolling through an art museum?
Except instead of canvas and clay, all of the fanciful creations at I.M. Smitten, a 10,000-square-foot gallery opening this May in Trumbull, are headboards.
The unique studio and showrooms are the brain child of George Holley, who owns the building and was having trouble finding the perfect headboards while decorating his own home in Sag Harbor, N.Y.
“He wanted to make a statement,” said interior designer Holly Sutton-Darr, executive creative director. “And he thought, ‘If I have this need, there are other people who have this need.’”
And thus I.M. Smitten was born in some unused office space at 1 Trefoil Drive.
You’d have trouble guessing that sleek white-walled gallery was once home to ringing phones and copy machines. Holley and his team have transformed it with proper gallery lighting and signage explaining each artists’ approach to each headboard.
Ten local artists and artisans have taken the sometimes one-of-a-kind panels and wooden and iron pieces Holley and his team bring from Thailand, China and beyond to I.M. Smitten’s studio. There they re-invent them, often collaborating to come up with a truly unique finished product.
Though many of the pieces feature vintage and antique panels, they are thoroughly up to date: I.M. Smitten can add lights on dimmer switches and USB ports for modern dreamers.
While the space is dominated by headboards, I.M. Smitten also sells other home furnishings and has a line of giftware, including Eckl’s fine glassware.
The Trumbull resident, who owns Westport’s Gold’s Delicatessen with her husband, said she loves the creative process that goes into designing and completing a headboard.
“It’s not work for me,” she said. “It’s furniture, but it’s art. And your bedroom is your sanctuary, so there’s that part, too.”
Ideally, Sutton-Darr said, I.M. Smitten will provide inspiration for those furnishing or re-designing a home and local interior designers as well. They hope to open the gallery to community events and hope to serve customers from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“We’re trying to be unique. We’re trying new things,” she said. “Anything you can think up, we can do.”
For more, visit the www.imsmittengallery.com .
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