Local Finds — RePOP in Brooklyn, New York

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Russell Boyle sits at his checkout counter at RePOP.

Russell Boyle sits at his checkout counter at RePOP.

When Russell Boyle guides you through his Williamsburg shop, RePOP, he’s in director mode. He points to where his favorite set pieces are, highlights which areas need to be reworked and happily walks through where his themes and vision are coming through. Russell pauses under a taxidermic turkey fanning its tail above a bright blue industrial file cabinet. That area works, Russell says. It’s colorful and captivating.

A gobbler spreads its wings.

A gobbler spreads its wings.

He’s rethinking the entryway where a metal lamp reaches over a Mid-Century leather chair. It needs to be more cozy, he says, so he plans to slide in a low coffee table. His goal: To make people feel welcome to walk around and stay awhile.

A lamp and chair arranged at the front of the store.

A lamp and chair arranged at the front of the store.

“‘Inviting’ is the first word I want to come to mind when someone enters the shop,” he says. “I want people to feel so comfortable hanging out here that they can imagine having this furniture in their own homes.”

Items are moving in and out of the store so frequently that Russell must constantly change, rearrange and test his vision. And the improvisation works for the part-time actor, director, painter and full-time furniture collector. Arranging his shop is another outlet for his creative energy.

Russell got his start when he was asked to design a store in Kansas City. After living in the Midwest, he moved back to New York City to open and co-own a store on Washington Avenue in 2006. He named it RePOP as a nod to his father who used to call reproductions of furniture “repops.” He moved the shop to Williamsburg a year and a half ago.

There's a sense of fun in the shop's arrangements.

There’s a sense of fun in the shop’s arrangements.

“I think of this store as a collective, a revolving exhibition,” he says. “It’s an ongoing collage of found objects.”

The store bursts with color and includes hilarious and sometimes creepy touches like dolls, wide-eyed marionettes and miniature skeletons.

Russell has a sense of fun with his found objects and includes scary and silly items.

Russell has a sense of fun with his found objects and includes scary and silly items.

“I take my store seriously but I have a sense of fun,” he says. “Wherever you look, there’s always something staring back at you.”

Russell sells memory jugs, which have African roots and have been used as ceremonial items during funerals, weddings and birthdays. They were also popular during the Victorian as three-dimensional scrapbooks of porcelain and metal mementos. During the Great Depression, they were decorated with common household items, filled with a child's whispered wishes and sometimes topped with a doll head.

Russell sells memory jugs, which have African roots and have been used as ceremonial items during funerals, weddings and birthdays. They were also popular during the Victorian as three-dimensional scrapbooks of porcelain and metal mementos. During the Great Depression, they were decorated with common household items, filled with a child’s whispered wishes and sometimes topped with a doll head.

Every week, Russell heads out in a van to visit thrift stores, flea markets, and a few regular furniture suppliers in the northeast region. Although he says the popularity of Mid-Century furniture pays the bills, he’s beginning to seek out more Art Deco pieces and colorful, metal industrial pieces.

Russell is also available for design consultation and decorating projects. He has worked on interior design projects, including the Nighthawk Cinema in Williamsburg, where. His items are also available to rent for film and television productions. Those are the deeply rewarding jobs — the work that ties together his passion for theater and design.

This doll might be missing a few limbs, but it's full of character. Russell thinks it's supposed to be Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli.

This doll might be missing a few limbs, but it’s full of character. Russell thinks it’s supposed to be Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli.

Visit the Shop

RePOP is located at 42 West Street in Brooklyn.

RePOP is located at 42 West Street in Brooklyn.

42 West Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
718-260-8032

Open Daily
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Website
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