Sometimes when one door closes, another one opens. “I had to move a lot for my ex’s job, so I had to reinvent myself every year,” says Brooke Lane, founder of the eponymous interior design studio and home goods line. Some of her past selves include executive director of a nonprofit, men’s stylist, and special ed teacher.
“Every year, we moved, bought a new house, and renovated,” she says. “I was never in a place long enough to make anything happen, but when I got divorced I had to ask myself, ‘What is it that I really enjoy?’” As she thought through the many moves and many houses, she realized that this lifestyle had afforded her the opportunity to discover and nurture her own love of interior design.
So in 2019, recently moved to Kingston, Lane opened an interior design studio, operating for several years without a brick-and-mortar. But, now her new storefront space on Field Court in Kingston, across from West Kill Supply, will have its grand opening on August 19.
The space, with its high tin ceilings and moody, plastered blue walls, is a cross between workshop and retail shop, office and showroom, and a calling card for Lane’s aesthetic. It is where she and her all-women team of employees create their custom line of soft goods ranging from pillows to placemats, purses to table runners, earrings and eyeglass cases in deadstock fabrics, which she keeps by the bolt leaning against the walls. Shelves show off finished products for sale plus a curated selection of thrifted goods and items from local makers.
It is also where she plans to host weekly DIY workshops on Saturday mornings in everything from reupholstery to furniture restoring, felting, and ice dying; pop-up sales on Friday nights featuring local makers and designers; and other fun community-oriented events like a drag clothing swap.
The workshops, like the bolts of fabric in the corner and the floor-to-ceiling patchwork wall of salvaged denim scraps donated by Cone Denim, where Lane’s grandfather rose from merchandiser to vice president, all speak to the core tenets of Lane’s approach: durability and sustainability.
“Circular design is the focus here,” says Lane of her preference for recycled and eco-friendly materials. “And teaching people how to do it themselves—ideally people are using what they already have or repurposing if needed.” When she sources pieces for an interior design project, Lane looks for second-hand furniture, scouring auctions, vintage shops, and local resources like the ReStore or the New Paltz ReUse Center.
Whereas many interior designers tend to focus on sweeping projects that incorporate an entire home or commercial interior, Lane is just as happy, perhaps even happier, to take on smaller-scope projects that she and her team can execute entirely in-house. Projects might range from a simple paint color consultation to artwork selection and installation, shelf styling, or a one-room makeover.
“My target audience is vast—I am trying to be accessible, “Lane says. “Everyone deserves to be in a place that they are comfortable with, so I’m trying to offer different levels of services. Most contractors in the area are booked out two years, so I’m trying to help people as soon as I can and change things faster.”
With her three employees, Lane’s team can handle light carpentry, painting, and plaster work. “I love rolling up my sleeves and getting into it,” Lane says. “I am really great with colors. I love picking out the tile and helping with all of the finishes. That is my forte—all of the details.” A fresh coat of paint and a thoughtfully styled console can transform a living room in not a lot of time for not a lot of money.
The weekly two-hour workshops will aim to give community members the skill set they need to transform their own spaces and give their own pieces new life. The class series kicks off on Saturday, August 26 from 10am-12pm with Upholstery 101, led by Peggy Kujawski of Stitches Custom Drapery. Other future workshops include a felting class on September 9, furniture refinishing on September 23, and Sashiko mending on October 7. Classes will be capped at 10 participants and range in price from $25 to $65.
“The number of people interested in these workshops is crazy,” Lane says. “I think because of COVID, everyone is really interested in DIY. People want to be part of something. And I want this to be a resource for the community.”
She will welcome the community into the brookelane Design Studio on August 19 with a grand opening party from 6pm to 9pm that will feature her own products for sale, plus Champagne, small bites, a live DJ, and an exclusive prize drawing.
“Yesterday, seeing my team here creating these [patchwork denim placemats] out of an idea I had and the relationship we all have—I just can’t believe I created something like this,” Lane says. “I waited so long for it. I can’t believe the dream is a reality.”