Perfect for Princeton

Amy Karyn home-furnishing store sells its two sites and relocates to Palmer Square

By: Marjorie Censer
   Amy Karyn Lichstein has sold her home furnishings in two stores, one within a large store in New York City and another a small space in Lambertville. But neither one was quite right, Ms. Lichstein said.
   She wanted a location that would see more foot traffic, that would be surrounded by other stores of a similar level of quality and that would provide more space. In Princeton’s Palmer Square, she said, she found what she calls "the perfect space."
   The new store, in the 2,200-square-foot space on Hulfish Street left by Bowhe & Peare, opened Saturday and is the only store operated by home-goods retailer Amy Karyn.
   Best known for its hand-printed linens and raw silks, Amy Karyn also will sell pre-packaged bedding, pillows, baby bedding and accessories and antiques. The hand-printed fabrics, designed by Ms. Lichstein, will be sold by the yard and can be used to customize virtually anything in the home, from drapery to furniture to tabletops.
   Ms. Lichstein said she had been interested in Palmer Square for some time. She had at one point considered the location formerly used by Zoe and now occupied by Kate Spade, but decided it was too small. When the Bowhe & Peare space opened, Ms. Lichstein said she immediately wanted it.
   A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Ms. Lichstein has been collecting antiques since she was 16, and she established her business 16 years ago. As a self-described "antique junkie," she uses many of her collectibles to inspire her designs, and she sells others in her stores.
   "I’ve always brought antiques into it," she said. "They’re just a source of inspiration."
   She said her take on classic pieces will appeal to Princeton residents, who value old and new.
   "We make, I think, a traditional — but updated — product," Ms. Lichstein said. "We have a little bit of something for everybody."
   The store, which Ms. Lichstein and her staff began preparing in mid-January, has a significant baby section, including hand-made pajamas, and bumpers and bedding for cribs that use organic cotton. Many of the shop’s items are unique, Ms. Lichstein said, and she will keep a constant rotation of new products.
   Some of the store’s merchandise, including a line of French soaps and bubble baths and children’s hygiene products, is manufactured by other companies. The fabrics section includes some sturdier cloths from other manufacturers that can be paired with Amy Karyn pieces.
   Ms. Lichstein said the store provides a high level of customer service. Three employees will be on hand to help customers, and the store will provide swatches of fabrics that patrons can take home. Designers with proper identification are eligible for designer discounts.
   "We want this to be a real, working home environment," she said, adding that she will be available for customer consultations.
   The shop opened quietly this weekend, Ms. Lichstein said, but will likely host a grand opening in the spring.