Seasonal affective disorder starting to grind you down?
Until spring becomes a little more obvious, there’s a pocket of sunshine hiding in plain sight just outside of Stockton, New Jersey. Equal parts nursery, bar, and design inspiration, Black Shed opened last October along an otherwise sleepy stretch of route 519. Though that all-encompassing description still falls short. On Instagram, Black Shed describes itself as a “destination,” which is even more ambitious, yet also more accurate.
Beyond its own compelling inventory, Black Shed hosts – or plans to, at least, pending the pandemic – markets on a regular basis comprised of small, artisanal vendors who share its beautifully curated aesthetic. A recent Facebook post, captioned “southwest spring vibes,” features soaring cacti; a low-slung, light brown leather sofa punctuated by a Santa Fe-style throw pillow; and a cowhide rug.
Even if you’ve never visited the southwest, it’s a living room arrangement you’ll envy.
Tucked into another corner is a dimly-lit, equally stylish bar. What, you never considered having a drink while plant shopping? Therein lies the unique lane Black Shed has created for itself. While it considers itself a “garden center,” you wouldn’t come here to load up the back of the Highlander with pansies and petunias the way you would at just about any other nursery.
Shopping at Black Shed is more like scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram. First you fill up on inspiration. Then you start to wonder how you can pull off certain looks at home. Then you begin to shop accordingly. With maybe a drink along the way to keep the creative juices flowing.
The stringent distancing guidelines have hampered Black Shed’s hangout vibe to some extent, but the Christmas Market last December offered a glimpse into what it could be once we stop considering our outings based on the local infection rate and CDC warnings. Under an impossibly starry sky, kids and parents huddled around a firepit and gazed at the Christmas lights. It was the closest most got to a festive, communal experience last Christmas.
The next market at Black Shed will be April 10 and 11. While the forecast may indicate still more winter ahead, there’s no doubt that Black Shed will bring the spring that weekend, and that it’ll be filled with a distinct brand of inspiration that will instantly feel fresh and completely compatible with your home.