Gore Dean, my new shopping obsession

by Kristin on July 30, 2010


I did NOT drop off of a cliff while out of town on a wonderful adventure.  My wonderful adventure consisted of two back to back lacrosse tournaments and the pleasure of watching both my sons play fine lacrosse in blazing heat and humidity.  I stayed at only the finest Motel 6 style accommodations and shared a bathroom with each boy.  Oh the joys of sharing bathing and grooming space with an adolescent! We dined at only the best pizza and burger restaurants, with one notable exception being a wonderful evening with old friends in Maryland.  However, I did manage to have a great time at each tournament, as I was surrounded by some seriously fun parents at one of them, and was in the shopping capital of the world at the other – Baltimore.  I know that the Baltimore-shopping-capital-of-the-world thing has been kept under wraps for a long time, but I am blowing the lid off of that, baby!  Actually, well, no, it isn’t the shopping capital of the world, or probably not even the state, except that a visit to Gore Dean in Baltimore makes you feel like it’s so.

This wonderful shop is located in a former mill.  It sits along a stream and is part of a complex of reclaimed industrial buildings.  It is an incredibly charming setting, although one that Deborah Gore Dean would find fateful.  Deborah opened her original store in Georgetown and it was a shopping mecca for DC’s interior designers and their clients.  She branched out to Baltimore.  Life was good.  Then she made a decision that a lot of us can relate to, she moved her family to Baltimore so that her daughter could attend a school that would further her athletic talents.  Again, life was good.  The the bucolic and extremely innocent looking stream that burbles behind her Baltimore store became a torrent, then a flood and then disaster.  The entire store was eventually a loss, although Deborah and her husband didn’t realize it at the time.  Painstakingly, they rebuilt the inventory and have consolidated all of their treasures into this one amazing store.   While this shop does not have a tony Georgetown address, the character and charm of the building is irresistable. Take a walk with me.

I have a hard time describing Deborah’s store, because she has curated a wonderful selection of so many things.  Beautiful china, crystal and flatware?  Check.  Gorgeous linens for the table and bed? Check.  Garden accessories and pots? Check.  Candles and home fragrance? Check.  Antiques and art?  Double check.  It sounds like it should be a veritable hodgepodge, but it is not.  Deborah is a wonderful stylist and all her merchandise flows from one vignette to the next.  She was apologizing to me for the disorder of the shop as she had hosted a book signing with Barry Dixon the night before.  To my eye, all looked lovely, but nevertheless as we chatted Deborah strolled and fluffed.  To say that she is a charming person and incredibly knowledgeable is an understatement.

Deborah is a shopkeeper after my own heart.  She does not have an inventory that is trend obsessed.  She buys what she loves and she hopes that you will, too.  So she has a delightful mix of high and low, European and Asian, rustic and refined objects on display.  It is possible to buy ready made curtains here of the highest quality while at the same time considering the purchase of an antique crystal chandelier.  I love that.

Here some vintage garden statues perch atop Asian inspired tables with a wonderfully crusty cabinet in the foreground.  Yes, that is screen mesh on the doors.

Old Chinese doors frame a vignette of Staffordshire and pottery.

Wonderful vintage table is for potting, I seem to remember.  It is festooned with an array of old wooden tools and that incredible root.

This table housed molds for candlemaking.  Just so full of character and charm.

I am stealing this idea.  This pretty Swedish style chair is covered not in linen, as we are seeing everywhere these days, but in a scrumptiously colored and buttery leather.  It is utterly lovely.

This quirky chair caught my eye.  How could it not?  Wonderful for a study or library, obviously, but it could also look fantastic in an entry hall with an umbrella stand (filled with walking sticks, naturally!).

This Moroccan lantern has been turned into a light fixture and I love how she has paired its bulbous shape with the topiaries.  Look at the wonderful walls in the background.  The whole store is just so evocative and it is a wonderful backdrop for Deborah’s selections.

The selection of pillows at this store is just fantastic.  They are perched everywhere and then still line shelves.

Just fantastic, aren’t they?  So, why am I showing you all this truly covetable (pun intended) merchandise when you don’t live in Baltimore, won’t have the pleasure of going soon, or frankly can’t imagine setting foot there?  Well, because Deborah has painstakingly added every single item in the store to her website, here.  So if you see it and love it, hop on over to the website and check it out.  Plus there are so many things on the website that are not on the floor of the store.  You could spend hours on this site, my friends, I promise you.  Deborah also writes a blog, which veers from incredibly informative pieces on antiques to quick descriptions of one of her evenings.  She is also working on a website strictly for the trade.  Deborah, I wish I had your energy.

I had the most wonderful time in the store, chatting with Deborah, getting some scoop on Barry Dixon, (Did you know that he is designing a new line for Fortuny?  Think all their traditional designs, but with some twists like trapunto stitching), looking at things for clients, taking all the above photos, and in general losing complete track of time.  I spent TWO HOURS there!  Which really takes me out of the running for mother of the year as my 10 year old son was with me the whole time, patiently waiting to go to the Inner Harbor.  However, he never once complained, as this was his pose for the entire time.

He wanted one of these basket chairs for his room.  I half wanted to buy it for him as a thank you to him and to Deborah!!  And here is the generous, warm and lovely Deborah Gore Dean.

She looks crisp and amazing, after being up until late the night before.  Somehow I think that this is the way she always looks.  However she is the friendliest person on the planet, so if you hop to the website, again here, and have any questions, don’t hesitate to call her or e-mail her.  She is a gem.

I will be back soon with another shopping opportunity.


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