Burtis Avenue home decor store celebrates opening, eclectic styles
“Interior decor often becomes heavy and like a process, something almost boring,” said Bikindou, seated beside her partner on Dec. 13 inside the store. “It should be completely crazy and exciting, where you can enjoy yourself and go in whatever direction you want to take it. It’s so fun to let go and explore different styles.”
Bikindou, a Parisian interior designer, previously worked as an attorney in her native France and in movie production with her husband, splitting time between New York City and Los Angeles, Calif. Her tastes, she said, have been heavily influenced by frequent trips to St. Barts, a Caribbean getaway she refers to as a second home.
Maidique, also an interior designer, was born on Long Island, N.Y. to Italian immigrant parents and spent time studying in Florence, Italy. She said her sense of style was influenced in equal measure by her travels across Europe, during which time she developed an appreciation for old-world beauty, and by childhood vacations to the Catskills, which instilled in her a love for vintage mid-century American style.
Both women seek to encourage their clients to merge seemingly disparate styles and take risks in the way they decorate.
“The concept for the store is finding exceptional objects for your home from different eras and places. It’s really interesting to show that you can blend a lot of different styles together and it can work,” Bikindou said.
The store features pieces large and small from different time periods and regions of the world, along with the images of famed fashion photographer Antoine Verglas, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Esquire and Sports Illustrated, among others.
“We see ourselves as guides to that home decor process. We don’t have an agenda; we don’t have an ego; we don’t have a style that we imprint on our clients,” Maidique said. “We really come from a place of passion.”
According to the Bikindou and Maidique, the former yoga studio’s open floor plan enabled them to create a lived-in effect.
“The space created this canvas for us to put in all of these different textures and pieces of furniture in a way that we can envision someone actually living in here,” Maidique said.
Shoppers enter into a foyer, before moving into a sitting room, where plush arm chairs and a sofa surround glass coffee tables, all facing a fireplace. In the back of the store are a bathtub and bed, adjacent to a kitchen.
In addition to the possibilities offered by the space, Bikindou, who commutes to the store from her home in New York City, and Maidique, who lives in town, said they chose to open their store in New Canaan because of the clientele.
“I think the community appreciates quality and the service we offer. We make the experience very personal. We get to know our clients, we source things for them if they can’t find it here. We connect with them on an intimate level,” Maidique said. “And because people tend to travel, also they tend to understand where these pieces are coming from and why they’re here.”
The pair celebrated the store, which opened in early October, with a launch party Dec. 8.
Catered by Elm Restaurant in New Canaan, the party featured Verglas, who was on hand signing copies of his new photo-book “Nude.” Ten percent of the evening’s profits went to Fill in the Blanks, a New Canaan-based nonprofit that fights childhood hunger by providing children with meals on weekends.