The Outside In: in nearby Piermont

I think I owe Bill Walsh and Joe Serra an apology. When I recently visited their store, The Outside In, in Piermont near Nyack, I know I behaved strangely. It’s just that their eclectic greenhouse/gallery/boutique made me so happy. I trotted around the place rather spastically ooh-ing and ahh-ing, I did a little jig. I even turned a few excited cartwheels, managing, miraculously to not break my neck or any of their beautiful items. Along the way, I snapped photos of just about everything they have for sale.  Though I’m sure I overstayed my welcome, Bill and Joe were excellent hosts and graciously accepted all my freakish gushing.

Here’s the thing: I like unique housey items. My taste skews quirky. In my book, a conversation piece has more utility than something more conventionally functional.  Why have a sink when you can have a gurgling copper fountain? Why have a chair when you can have an abstract bronze sculpture?  Why have a hairbrush when you could have this:

(I mean no disrespect to this piece of art by the way. I think it is wonderful.) Most of the pieces here are created by Hudson Valley artists and artisans.

Here’s the other thing: I like spaces that are well-curated and thoughtfully arranged. The Outside In offers a wide array of items from art, to furniture, to greenery, to handcrafted pottery. Lots of different things are in one place yet they have made it all work together so well.

In the greenhouse, sunrays served as the perfect spotlights for all kinds of colorful pottery.

Stone-faced mask sculptures congregated in one corner.

My husband made himself comfortable on an attractive bench nearby and basked. He said this area reminded him of California, where he lived 10 very good years.

A few steps inside, the vibe was more gallery than greenhouse. This room featured gorgeous wood furniture and the vibrant paintings of Brooklyn artist, Charlotte Mouquin. In fact, while I was fluttering around, the proprietors were getting ready for an opening reception celebrating her work. The show is up until the end of August and is called, “Organic Romance: Unveiled.”

I also liked many of the paintings elsewhere in the store. Though I didn’t purchase it (yet), I have picked just the spot in our house for a piece called, “Four” by Nyack artist Polly King (below, upper right hand corner). My husband took a shine to a series of chicken paintings (bottom right).

There was an entire wall of earthy mugs that would surely make any good coffee, tea or cider taste even better.

In a sunroom off the front room, I met a handsome but very tired owl. We gossiped about the penguin teapot and his quirky friends.

I was drawn to a spiky plant in a heavy square pot (below, left). I learned that shelf mushrooms can be dyed crazy colors (upper right) and that air plants can pretty much subsist on air alone (bottom right).

Outside, it was succulent city. My husband and I both loved the variety and arrangement.

In fact, we decided to get a pair of these tiny planters to add to our own little succulent city. As far as caring for them, Bill and Joe suggested that we “neglect them properly.”  In other words: don’t water them very often, if at all. That will not be a problem for me.

On our way out of the parking lot, we waved goodbye to a beautiful ballerina.

It took a few days, but I have finally recovered from all the excitement of this trip to The Outside In. (Read: I have semi-organized all the photos. The ones above are but a small fraction of what I took in my “if-I-can’t-buy-it-all-then-at-least-I-will-document-it frenzy.) If you haven’t been there yet, I highly recommend. 249 Ferdon Avenue, in super-quaint Piermont, just south of the center of town.

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