‘The Summer House’ on Cherry Street To Close as Owner Launches ‘Modern Antiquarian’ in Stamford


Margaret Schwartz fell in love with antiques a few years ago.

She didn’t expect to buy anything during an antiques tour of the United Kingdom—“I thought it would just be a kind of cool experience,” Schwartz recalled—and then found that she’d filled a 20-foot container in one day.

Margaret Schwartz, owner of The Summer House, which is winding down Dec. 23 as she launches Modern Antiquarian in Stamford. Credit: Michael Dinan

“I never looked back,” Schwartz, known to locals for six years as the owner of The Summer House on Cherry Street, recalled Wednesday morning from the bright, roomy shop decorated with art, jewelry, furniture, accessories, lighting, pillows, throws and barware.

Starting next month, Schwartz is formalizing her now-fully developed interest by launching a new shop at The Antique and Artisan Gallery in Stamford. She had already sold out of a booth there and secured a larger space in the spring.

The move means that on Dec. 24 Schwartz will close The Summer House, a fixture of downtown New Canaan for 10 years, initially on Forest Street in the Sleepy’s space and then the old Griffin Ford building.

It’s a bittersweet moment for Schwartz, who calls her customers “amazing” and is rewarding that amazingness with a 45-percent-off (everything except art and antiques) sale starting Thursday.

“We really love our clients, so we are going to miss being here,” she told NewCanaanite.com. “I’m going to miss talking to people every day and hearing what they’re looking for, what they’re finding and what excites them about the industry. I’m also looking forward to Stamford and being able to focus on antiques. We were bouncing from Europe to Texas to Stamford to New Canaan. It was just getting crazy. So I want to be able to focus on one thing and do it to the best of our ability. That is why it’s the best move for us.”

The new shop, Modern Antiquarian, will open in January (stay tuned for website info).

A Ridgefield resident who spent four years working for Martha Stewart prior to acquiring The Summer House, Schwartz has taken what already was an established and well-respected brand and garnered a loyal following. Her customers have availed themselves of Schwartz’s keen eye as she has moved increasingly toward antiques since that U.K. tour.

“People have been supportive of our move toward antiques,” Schwartz said. “People are moving back to that mix. Mid-century had reigned supreme for a while. And people wanted to get back to warmth and comfort. These pieces are a little more timeworn and a little bit more cozy and welcoming.”

Modern Antiquarian will operate in a way that’s more in line with Schwartz’s need to be both buyer and seller of antiques, she said.

“We do not need to be there every single day, so it gives us the flexibility to go out and buy things locally if we need to, to service our clients,” she said.

A website-to-come will include inventory as well as editorial from Schwartz—a member of LAPADA, an exclusive arts and antiques association—on industry trends, posts on her travels and what people are buying and showing an interest in, she said.

“Antiques picked up a lot for us over past couple of years,” she said. “That is where most of my furniture sales now are coming, is through antiques.”

The Summer House at 107 Cherry St. is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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