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.
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.
“‘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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
Visit the Shop
42 West Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222