Brooklyn’s New Home Goods Shop, The Assembly Line, Is A Do-It-Yourselfer’s Dream

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In our Ask a Shopkeeper series, we’re calling on the coolest shop owners we know for a tour of their space and asking them what items are trending right now and beyond. For this episode, Sarah Zames and Colin Stief, the founders of General assembly and now Assembly line in Brooklyn – take us to their new reno-friendly boutique.

Why go from a design studio to opening a retail store?

Sarah Zames: It’s an idea we’ve had for a long time, ever since I started the General Assembly and moved from architecture to doing more interiors. I felt like there was this weird disconnect with people not having access to certain brands, especially people who weren’t doing full renovations but only targeted areas, like a bathroom. And we felt like there was no perfect place for them.

Colin Stief: For example, the D&D Building is awesome and has such a long history, but it can also seem very intimidating, especially if you’re not working with a designer. It is even difficult for us to go there sometimes. So the idea was to bring some of these materials to people.

What brands do you sell that customers can’t get anywhere else?

Zames: Another Country is a British brand that we sell. You can get it online, but you can’t see its finished samples, and most people don’t know about the company. And then there are smaller artists like Hannah Bigeleisen, who does lamps, so it’s a nice mix.

Stief: Fern is another. The founder had a showroom in Hudson, New York, but now we’re the only place in town where you can see his furniture.

Away from the hardware store - this new Brooklyn boutique is a remodeler's dream

If you’re a casual shopper walking down Atlantic Street, what do you walk in and buy?

ZamesLike drawer pulls from Fort Standard or a shower curtain from Quiet Town. Maybe a Tantuvi rug.

Away from the hardware store - this new Brooklyn boutique is a remodeler's dream

What has working with customers taught you about what customers want?

Zames: When it comes to buying furniture for our customers, we always want to make things more digestible. So, for example, with Fern, you can get any size and any finish you want, but the way we present it to people in the store is more like: Here are three sofa sizes and the fabrics which we recommend. We do not have full lines in the store.

We also want to show design opportunities. We put a giant mural of Faye Toogood for Calico in the living room that customers would see and say, “Oh, wow, that’s so cool, but I don’t know if I can have that kind of thing.” But when you see it set up in our store with fairly normal furniture, it definitely seems doable.

Away from the hardware store - this new Brooklyn boutique is a remodeler's dream

Talk about the store

Music still playing in the store: Sade and soft jazz.

Instagram accounts we draw inspiration from: @marccosta, @thefutureperfect, @brownstoneboys.

Dream person to enter our store: Ethan Hawke.

Favorite store nearby that is not ours: The Primary Essentials and Mud Australia.

Favorite restaurant nearby: Louis French.

Favorite parts in stock right now: Fort Standard knobs and In Common With Dome table lamp.

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