Creel and Gow is a Curated Boutique of Exotic Rarities
By Zachary Schwartz
Photos by Ryan Lavine
A decorator’s raison d’être is to weave an original design narrative imbued with personality that no one else can mimic. Since the proliferation of big-box stores, e-commerce, and national homeware expos, it has grown increasingly challenging to curate a distinctive space full of original objects. One solution is to shop locally. Another is to source globally. Millbrook-based boutique Creel and Gow does both.
The brainchild of Jamie Creel, Creel and Gow is a peripatetic treasure chest filled with one-of-a-kind curios. Creel grew up in New York, and spent his childhood weekends and holidays in Millbrook. His stepfather owned a large farm in Millbrook with hundreds of cows that Creel visited regularly. Fast forward to adulthood, Creel’s family decided to purchase a nursery in Millbrook, then converted it into two retail stores: Creel and Gow, and Orangerie next door owned by Anthony Bellomo. “Growing up, Millbrook was always my happy place. It’s nice to be back and have a store here,” says Creel.
Creel, who resides between Manhattan, Millbrook, Paris, and Tangier with his husband Marco Scarani, dreamt up his retail concept while on an excursion in the Galapagos Islands. He was inspired by his international travels, artisanal wanderlust, historic bric-a-brac, and colorful objets found in nature. “Animals and nature have always fascinated me. I find inspiration everywhere, especially in Paris. Morocco, as well. Seeing things, visiting places, going to museums, and all my life experiences,” says Creel. He opened the first Creel and Gow boutique in New York City, after which followed the Millbrook location in 2021 while he was living upstate during the pandemic.
His Millbrook shop is a cacophonous coffer packed with furniture, table cloths, taxidermy, coral, precious stones, and more. “My aesthetic is eclectic. I’m not a period person. I can take the best of each style and mix it all together. I don’t have one particular style,” he explains. “These are all things that talk to me. Everything has to have something fun or different. Anything here has a bit of a story or makes me smile.”
A perusal through Creel and Gow is to get lost in the labyrinthian wunderkammer of fanciful bibelots. From nature, there are mounted ostrich eggs, stuffed exotic pheasants, rare fossils, sparkling mineral geodes, and silvered seashells. Depending on the shopper’s taste, materials can be found lacquered, iridescent, embroidered, carved, or feathered. Man-made items include custom Moroccan wicker and rattan furniture designed by Scarani, Uzbek suzani textiles, Pakistani baskets, French statues, and American antiques.
Creel’s favorite part of running his store is the treasure hunt of tracking down and learning about decorative objects. He cites his time spent volunteering in Kisumu, Kenya during his youth as one key moment when he was exposed to global influences and design. “I enjoy finding unique objects, objects that come from all over the place, anything that I find interesting and a little different,” says Creel. “It’s not what you find in all the other stores. That was the idea when we first opened, was to have a store where you can find things sourced differently.”
Creel and Gow in Millbrook serves a local clientele, as well as customers who visit on holiday from around the world. Whether shoppers are attracted to a hand painted Moroccan wedding chest, framed plant specimens, pom pom pillows, photography books, or calendula and tea candles, the store has homeware and gifts for everyone.
Creel and Gow offers an unusual and eccentric perspective to home design in Millbrook, and simultaneously provides an opportunity to shop locally and globally.