Refresh it at Curated Home & Living, Eat it at Van Hook Cheese & Grocery (Robin’s Nest)

Danielle Zinn, Owner of Curated Home & Living on Walnut Street: “Styling is a skill that people can learn and how to mix modern and contemporary objects. (NEIL GRABOWSKY / FOR LOCAL MONTCLAIR)

For the Montclair local

The year has passed in the blink of an eye and the end of year celebrations are looming on the horizon. If you’re planning on having friends and family over for Thanksgiving or Hanukkah dinners this month, you’re probably looking around your house thinking, “I need to do something to make my living space more beautiful. “

Head over to Curated Home & Living to meet owner Danielle Zinn and stroll through her boutique to find decor and design items for your home. After a smooth opening of the store on May 1, it was fully opened in June. A resident of Montclair for 17 years, Danielle received an interior design degree from Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) and was a product librarian in an architectural firm.

I assumed Danielle had a fabulously decorated and furnished room in her childhood home because she has such a strong passion for design. Surprisingly, she said, “I didn’t live with a good design and my mom shopped at Sears. My mother is in the craft industry and in sewing. This is how she shows her artistic side. I want my kids to enjoy the pieces they sleep in.

Don’t think that you have to completely remodel your home, because you can just change your bed linens or add colorful throws to your sofas and chairs to brighten up and freshen up a room. Danielle keeps the store decor neutral, as some customers like a lot of colors and some don’t. She loves and appreciates Indian and Japanese design, as well as the work of German industrial designer Dieter Rams, who created consumer products for Braun and Vitsoe for many years until his retirement in 1997.

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As we discussed our likes and dislikes in furnishing and decorative pieces, Danielle said, “Storytelling is a huge part of sales, as is learning more about my customers. Styling is a skill that people can learn, and how to mix modern and contemporary objects and edit what is in the room. Match everything in threes, placing different objects and books on shelves or tables.

“Flowers are an integral part of the decor and I love the aesthetic of ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) and the table landscapes created by Amy Gofton of Studio Nectar on Bellevue Avenue. It makes things a little more special.

Curated Home & Living also offers handmade jewelry designs by Sarah Macfadden, a New York-based craftswoman. Macfadden creates bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings in sterling silver and 14k gold, adding faceted diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires in unique modern designs. An artisan evening with Macfadden designs took place in his shop on November 5th. Dazzle, decorate and shine in the New Year.

Robin Woods chats with Carl Chastain, owner of Van Hook Cheese & Grocery on Grove Street. “I taste everything we sell and know all the flavor profiles,” says Chastain.

Scheduling food to serve guests or snack on our own is on our to-do lists. If you’re a grazer like me, appetizers and small plates are calling me. It’s a short drive from Curated Home & Living to Van Hook Cheese & Grocery on Grove Street. Owner Carl Chastain opened his first boutique in Jersey City in 2016, with the Montclair location opening on July 26. Residing in Montclair since 2019, Carl entered the cheese world through the wholesale food distribution of local farm-to-table products.

I shared my vegan and dairy free dietary needs with Carl, one by choice and one due to severe allergies. I know I’m not the customer of his dreams because I can’t eat a lot of what he sells, but I feed my family and entertain as often as I can, even in my little pod. Carl rose to the challenge, since he sells more than meats and cheeses.

With the help of my loyal tasters, who eat just about anything, I found nearly a hundred types of cheese available at VHC & G, as well as sliced ​​cold cuts, dried fruits, nuts. , oils, preserves and chutney.

Carl considers himself a cheese maker and said: “We specialize in small batches and make our own mozzarella in-house. Learn about cheeses you might not find in grocery stores and sample a few varieties. Fall cheeses have just been released, with a higher fat content in milk, such as Rush Creek Reserve.

“I taste everything we sell and know all the flavor profiles. There is something for all tastes, families and children. We focus on local products and local handicrafts. For two years, the charcuterie, which usually consists of cold meats, has exploded.

You can order pre-made deli platters a day in advance, choosing from tiny cheese platters for four to six people without meat, which include crackers, dried fruits, nuts, pickles, raisins, and olives. Nut-free platters can also be prepared.

Make a large cheese and cold meats platter for 16 to 20 people, including a wooden board. Bring your own chart if you wish, and VHC & G employees will fill it out for you. Maybe one day I will avoid the vegan route rather than the charcuterie, which tempts and fascinates me.

Did someone say grilled cheese? Yes please. Served on Pullman sourdough bread. Call a few minutes ahead to purchase Prairie Breeze Classic Cheddar with Fig Spread, Hot Honey, French Ham or Soppressata, French Onion with Gruyère and Candied Shallots, or Truffle, Gouda and Honey.

Nibble on a fresh baguette provided by Le French Dad Boulangerie, and garnish it with a new discovery of cheese for an impromptu picnic in the car on the way home. We are hungry and ready for companionship and for all the fall and winter delicacies.

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Robin Woods is a local girl’s town, writing about the things to do, shops, restaurants, and interesting people that catch its eye. She has written personal memoirs and essays, as well as music and fashion columns for various New York City newspapers. Her writing awards include the Shirley Chisholm Award for Journalism and the Director’s Award for the Essex County Legacies Writing Competition.

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