By Abby Tegnelia
When Fernanda Niven and Alexia Leuschen launched their home decor business, they were passionate about finding beautiful, timeless pieces. After two years as a pop-up in Bridgehampton’s gourmet market L’Épicuriste, they’ve hit their stride. “We wanted to sell things that we loved and thought were special and unique,” says Niven, whose fashion background includes a stint with Vera Wang, designing handbags and her own line of sun-protective clothing. “We never wanted people to buy our things just to have them. We wanted them to buy what they love because they’d have those pieces for a long time.”
Shoppers can swing by The Bouwerie after procuring global delicacies for their next dinner party at L’Épicuriste, and pick up items needed to make the soiree really pop. Niven says this summer’s must-haves include little LED lamps that have become popular for both indoor and outdoor at-home dining—The Bouwerie sells them along with fashionable shades, in green, white and neutral. “This summer we have wonderful napkins that we just cannot keep in stock,” Niven says. “They have a pretty fringe, and come in blue-and-white gingham, a bold green and white floral pattern. They make your table come to life.”
Niven and partner Leuschen, a decorator, make some of their own items, such as fireplace screens named after streets in Southampton. The women have been friends for about a decade, and enjoy perusing the internet for unique items to sell, and doing some buying on the road—they both love to travel. “That’s how this business came about,” Nevin says. “We both love finding these little special things around the world.”
When it came to choosing their company’s moniker, the businesswomen liked the Old World spelling of “Bouwerie,” the name of a once-beautiful, now long-gone house in Southampton. To bring it back full circle, they happen to know the grandchildren of the house’s owners.