Eclectic by Design
By Tara Kelly
Photos by Ryan Lavine
Montage is the kind of store that people love to browse. Sort of like your favorite bookstore, it’s always worth a visit to check out what’s come in since you were last there. Situated on Main Street in Millerton, Montage has been at that location for years. Owners Fritz and Dana Rohn, along with their daughter, Chloe Crofut-Brittingham, have a devoted following, probably because of the eclectic and expansive nature of the furniture and decorative objects in their store.
This didn’t happen by accident. What might look like a mash-up of styles and even centuries worth of goods is in fact, quite knowledgeably curated. Dana and Fritz both grew up with an awareness and appreciation of antiques. Dana comes from generations of antique dealers. Her parents sold Americana in their shop, Buckley & Buckley, in Salisbury. Fritz grew up surrounded by nice antiques and studied art history. He’s always been interested in the decorative arts. If you talk with him, you might get the full history of a particular piece. Given the multi-generational aspect of their backgrounds, it’s only fitting that both of their daughters are involved in the business. Chloe is a co-owner of Montage, and her sister Phoebe, who lives in Germany and has an antique shop there, coordinates shipments for Montage from Europe to the U.S.
Chloe admits to drawing on her “Pop” as a resource, but she’s developed her own eye and aesthetic. “I get asked a lot, ‘How do you know if something is good?’ I’ve had to learn to trust my own instincts. We help customers figure out what they want. Are they interested in the aesthetics of a piece? Its age, or history? The integrity of the object? We get the full scope.”
“One thing we try to do is inspire people by offering things they love and have an affection for. We want people to say, ‘Oh, I love this!’” says Fritz.
They also want what they sell to be useful and usable. “We stay away from tables and surfaces that you can’t put a cup of hot tea down on. Antiques will lose their relevance if you can’t live with them,” says Chloe. Fritz agrees, “Use, but not abuse. We sell a lot of English mahogany Georgian furniture. The whole point of opening Montage was to find a way to make these old things relevant.”
Dana and Fritz are fixtures in the community. They like the area so much they have a house in the Ellsworth section of Sharon, and a cabin on Lake Wononpakook (also known as Long Pond) in Lakeville. “Of course, our houses are pretty jam-packed. You can’t be in this business and not be a collector,” she says. Their sources come from handling estates and buying locally out of private homes. “Plus, we have a network of dealers across New England that we’ve developed over the last 35 years,” says Dana. “And we all take turns shopping in Europe. We do five to six buying trips a year, returning with three to four containers of goods.”
One of their warehouses, The Montage Annex, is in Salisbury. Shortly after a container arrives from Europe, they open it up as a pop-up shop. ”It’s the freshest inventory available at wholesale prices to everyone who attends. It’s very fun and lively. Bring your shopping list and your measurements,” says Dana. To find out when the next one will be, sign up on their website. “We never know exactly when the containers will come in. We’re at the mercy of the sea.” —montageantiques.com