From the outside, the 1849 antique farmhouse that is Cory Farms Past & Presents is the epitome of New England quaint and cozy. Between the main house with its patio and side deck, three barns, chicken coop, outhouse and two open acres, it’s more of a vintage compound, really, with original eaves and trim, pristine hardwood floors and all the nooks and crannies one might find in a private home. And although it has a kitchen with a farmer’s sink and buttercup cabinets, and “formal” dining and living spaces and entryway, this “home” is anything but.
Dream job; dream location
Proprietor Denys Eftekhar has always known that she would one day own a shop; a dream for over 20 years that came true when this Portsmouth, RI, residence came on the market. Denys jumped on the opportunity to buy the property quickly – negotiating a deal in just three days — and began preparing for what was an extensive overhaul. Over the course of a year, Denys and her husband, an avid clock collector, refurbished the home to create a welcoming retail space, making sure to maintain the charm and character of decades prior; salvaged floorboards were made into a farm table, an old fireplace was moved and reused for decoration.
Offering a carefully thought-out collection of unique hard-to-find items, local artisanal goods and newer, trendier finds, Cory Farms sells items from all over, including Rhode Island, New York, Georgia, London, Denmark, Italy, China, Frankfurt and Paris. “I tend towards the old, but I love the new,” says Denys. Always seeking to find unexpected uses for things, Denys admits “I’m crazy for stuff. I love it. I love doing it.”
Setting the stage
Her enthusiasm and passion shows. Items are staged beautifully to show their application or purpose within a room: the farm table is set with chargers and teacups, napkin rings and glasses; end tables hold vintage frames complete with photos of Denys’ own family members for authenticity; the hall is adorned with cute coat racks and throw pillows, seating (“I have a thing for church pews,” she says) and oversized tote bags. “I’m very visual,” says Denys. “I do my inventory by vision. I need to feel everything.” Other inventory includes a “Welcome Aboard” sign from Savannah, a large wooden boat, delicate marble clam shells, quirky chandeliers, herringbone throws, tea towels, outdoor lanterns, affordable jewelry, Dash & Albert rugs, Biot blue glassware, bird art and many items with a nautical theme or twist. “I want people to have a good time,” she says of her customers and their experience at the farm.
A good time is had by all
Already “very event oriented,” Denys hosts book club meetings and social events at the shop, drawing in bystanders by showcasing her husband’s vintage 1930 blue Ford pick-up and 1939 John Deere tractor, two cool conversation pieces. As items change with the season, Denys is always seeking out new merchandise and has big ideas of where she’d like to see Cory Farms someday. Perhaps the expansion will include her other dream of having a bakery or separate kids’ shop. Or maybe both.
Photography by Darren Pellegrino
Article published in 2013-14 issue.