HŌM ON HUDSON
Britt Summers's life looks a lot like a Nancy Meyers film lately. A former florist here in New York City, she and her husband relocated 30 minutes north of the city to Hastings-on-Hudson in 2016. Now after two kids and a refresh of their restored Victorian home, Britt has opened a concept store in her adopted community. hōm market is a local artisan-stocked home and design marketplace right on Spring Street. With a focus on sustainability and mindful living, the store also offers classes to the community - one of Britt’s favorite parts of the new venture. See Britt’s beautiful home - worthy of a @nancymeyersinterior honorable mention - and learn more about her journey opening hōm and what life is like outside of the city.
Congratulations on last year's opening of hōm! Starting a business is such a bold and courageous step - can you tell us a little about the impetus for the company?
Thank you! I love being an entrepreneur and working with creatives, I owned my own floral design company when I lived in the city and I really missed working! During the pandemic, I gave birth to our daughter, Georgia, and I think the isolation with a newborn and our 2-year-old son, Teddy, was the impetus behind starting the shop. I wanted some me time! The store really planted a flag within our community, and being responsible for bringing beauty into people's lives has been such a joy. I have always wanted to own a store in the town where I live, having been fascinated by shop owners and their curation since I was a kid, so this is a dream come true for me. I am meeting so many wonderful artisans, vendors, and community members in the process of filling our shelves and through our collaborations. hōm is a place to come and find beautiful handmade global goods, vintage finds, and gourmet pantry items. We also host classes led by artisans and chefs that are run by my partner Sandra, and we are starting a club –– The Rivertown Leisure Club.
What was your journey within the floral industry in New York City like?
I loved being a florist! I learned so much from apprenticing with other amazingly talented floral designers and taking on work that was new and challenging. I learned about compositions, colorways, tablescapes, and how to make something look like it's growing as if it's still in the ground. Floral design was a lot of fun, but really, really hard work. It taught me how to hustle - I learned how to drive a cargo van in Manhattan and parallel park, and learned how to build large-scale floral installations dripping from the ceilings. It's pretty physically demanding being a florist, there's a lot of heavy lifting and the weekends are long with weddings. The move to Westchester made me reflect, and it was time to step away even though I loved it. I loved the hustle so much. And I really, really love flowers. Now I grow my own at my home and make arrangements for every room in our house, I also teach floral arranging classes at hōm!
What was the experience of opening the store like for you? Were there any unforeseen challenges?
It was so much fun, a bit of stress, and it took a lot more capital than I initially thought, but here we are! We completely gutted the rental storefront and had it built out to look like a home - complete with a kitchen, dining room, and living room. We are pivoting often and trying new things and seeing what people respond to, need, and ask for while having a blast doing it. We tried interior design for a hot minute and quickly discovered that wasn't for us. There was so much to learn starting a business - from creating a website, to learning how to ship, to inventory management. I have loved it all, every step - for me this is true happiness and there is nowhere else I would rather be. It feels like my second home in the heart of town and I get to meet cool new people every day.
hōm’s philosophy resonates so much with us at LES, but we know building a business with intentionality can have its challenges. What does hōm's philosophy mean to you personally, and how do you incorporate that intentionality into your life as well as the business?
Building a brand centered around sustainability, supporting artisans, and carrying heirloom quality goods does have its challenges. Artisan-made goods tend to cost more than what big box stores are selling and people have grown accustomed to paying lower prices. We let the artisans choose what price they sell their goods at so they can make a living and we're proud to support them. In terms of my own home, I live by the same philosophy. I have to truly love the things I bring into it, and I mostly choose quality objects that are made to last - many pieces are vintage or artisan-made. I believe in slowly building your house into a home that's centered around things that truly bring you joy, so it feels collected rather than staged.
You and your husband were ahead of the curve - the two of you made your exodus from New York City with a move north to Hastings-on-Hudson a few years prior to the pandemic, before so many others left the city for quieter ground. What has that transition been like for you and your family?
A few years back in 2016 we started talking about moving out of the city and checking out different neighborhoods in Westchester. I fell in love with the first house we saw on this cute dead-end street that was walking distance to the train with views of the Palisades. I told my husband I can’t believe it but I think this is our home and he shockingly agreed - we closed two months later! It was the best decision we ever made. We love our town and our home, and the life we've built here in the Rivertowns of Westchester with our two children. Now our house is filled with the pitter-patter of little feet, I can walk to my store 5 minutes from my home, and it’s only 30 minutes to NYC - it’s wonderful.
Your home is beautiful! What was the design process like? Do you and your husband collaborate on design decisions?
Thank you! Our home has been a very fun work in progress that we have worked on with Becca Casey from Becca Interiors. Becca is a friend of mine and when we moved into the house it needed a lot of work to make it our own. It was renovated in 2008 to look like it did when it was built in 1899 - very Victorian with deep reds, yellows, and a lot of dark wood. Becca helped us re-envision everything - she designed custom built-ins, a mudroom, incorporated a lot of white paint, and taught me the key to layering and scale. During the design process, Becca would present a few options, then I would choose one and we would noodle on that design for a bit, and then I would show my husband. He would always love the design, but look a bit stunned about the price. In the end, he loved everything we chose and trusted the process. We've done it slowly, over the course of 4 years. The last phase is going to be the kitchen which is set for next year. My daughter's room turned out to be my favorite!
In the process of creating our home, I fell in love with finding decorative items and art. I love going on vacation and finding objects to bring home to remind us of our time away, and that’s the vibe of hōm as well.
What has been your favorite part (so far) of this new chapter for you? Both your move out of the city and opening your store?
The best thing by far has been becoming a mother. That’s been a wonderful and profound experience, and also shockingly hard! Becoming a mother is a wild ride and living through the pandemic as a parent of young kids presented some challenges. - which is why I love going to our shop! From 12-4 pm I get to sell beautiful things where the pillows stay fluffed, it smells amazing, and I can have a continuous thought! The store is my third baby and my sanctuary. I am loving this new chapter of my life and having a fun balance between being a mother and a shop owner.
What's next at hōm?
We just launched our online website a few months ago and we are adding new products all the time! Sandra and I just got back from Paris on a sourcing trip, and our goals are to continue to travel and find amazing artisans and brands, grow our blog, and I would love to start doing pop-ups with our Rivertown Leisure Club.
hōm market photography by Dane Tashima
Britt's home photography by Rikki Snyder for a photo shoot with Becca Interiors