Tucked along Lambertville’s tiny Church Street—which, block for block, may be the densest concentration of design-minded resources in the Philly suburbs—sits Preservation Fine Goods, a small-batch furniture and home goods store without a peer in an area steeped in small-batch home goods stores.
Kate Short, its owner/curator, is a native Midwesterner.
She opened Preservation a couple years back when she started to sense a need, first within her own household and then among others like her, trying to forge a modern existence in homes that run 100-, 200-years-old.
“I have a real interest in material— ceramics, metal, wood, for sure, and textile—so everything here is based kind of in craft discipline,” Short says. “And then I just try to find, besides ourselves, people that are making elevated design decisions with those materials.”
Preservation Fine Goods is Short’s first store, but not her first business. She ran a graphic design company in New York for about a decade before she left to pursue a furniture design graduate degree at the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. There, she met her husband, David, who’s from the Lambertville area and is a cofounder of the savvy, Philly-based furniture and home goods line, Edgewood Made, whose pieces make up much of the store’s evolving inventory.
Preservation Fine Goods is spare by design—white walls and shelves, dark wood floors and tables. And the subdued palette carries over to the featured pieces. The thinking goes, according to Short’s logic, the less you have, the more you can invest in it, financially, sure, but emotionally, too. To her, an Edgewood Made porcelain pitcher’s staying power is as important as how and by whom it was made.
“I passionately wanted to promote a certain life, a lifestyle brand or something,” she says.
When she opened the store, Short’s own home, an old farmhouse, was mired in a major renovation. They’d gutted their kitchen, built their own cabinets (because they’re woodworkers), and then kind of lost their momentum.
But the store, almost from the moment it opened, became the realization of not just her aesthetic but something even more; the catalyst for her returning to school to study furniture design and, eventually, the store. It’s her philosophy: That life should be lived with meaning. So choose thoughtfully who and what you surround yourself with.