I live in an awesome town. I pinch myself quite often that I get to raise my kids here. In addition to the nice people, great schools and decent proximity to NYC, one of my favorite things about Westfield is the downtown shopping area. It’s filled with great stores ranging from Mom & Pop places like Brummer’s Chocolates (since 1904!) and Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe (they recently made Bruce Springsteen’s life size guitar-shaped birthday cake) to chains like Williams-Sonoma, Gap Kids, and Clare’s (obvs my girls’ favorite mecca of fine accessories!). Our town even won a Great American Main Street Award – the only town in New Jersey to have that honor.
Until recently, our own little flatiron-esque building was left unoccupied after a bank closed it’s doors over 4 years ago. It’s a beautiful building in the center of the shopping district and it really was a crime to have it sitting vacant for so long. But, good news! A week before Christmas, a new Urban Outfitters opened in that spot and I took Lily over to check it out. (I apologize in advance for Little Miss Photo Bomb. She can’t help herself.)
Isn’t the building stunning?
I was thrilled to see that the architect, Dennis Flynn (according to the Westfield Patch) maintained the original look of the bank, including the pillars and tall windows with security grates on them.
Inside, there’s more of the original bank: Industrial beams mixed with detailed dentil molding and a spectacular ceiling medallion under a skylight.
They put some drywall in but there is also a lot of exposed brick and details of the original structure. (I wonder if the clock was from the bank.)
I read in The Alternative Press that the builders had to petition to have some of the windows lowered.
A mix of materials.
The thick, dark stairs are a great compliment to the lightness of the moldings.
I loved the wood paneled room with a marble fireplace in the back, which houses a shoe area. Industrial pipes were added for shelving but the rest of the room is original. The Alternative Press referred to it as the President’s Room and I can just picture an old-school looking bank president presiding at a big oak desk in front of the fireplace. (I’m imagining a comb-0ver, aren’t you?)
I was totally inspired by this cool display in the president’s room. These are the things that make my gears turn and have me wishing that I had a carpenter as a BFF.
The checkout counter is simple and highlighted with industrial pendants. (That small door to the left leads to the president’s room.)
I loved this magnet thing outside of the fitting room on the top balcony where the menswear is carried. (I’m calling it a “thing” because I don’t know what else to call it. Tool-that-tells-the-salespeople-how-many-items-you-brought-into-the-fitting-room? It’s certainly cooler than a plastic sign with a big 5 on it, right?)
Our favorite feature of all was the original bank vault (which dates back to 1922). You can see it in the basement at the bottom of the stairs.
Sale items are kept in the bank vault.
Obviously, this picture was necessary. (Please note that I don’t stage these shots, she just jumps in there and comes up with the pose right from her 4-year-old brain. God help us all.)
A great view of the ceiling detail. And a cute kid.
As for what’s carried at the store, it’s a classic Urban Outfitters with lots of clothes and accessories for men and women plus some gift items. (They even have classic records for sale!) I always find myself wishing that UO stores carried the home items that are on their website. As you know, I have lots of UO home stuff and I think it’s fun, colorful, and best of all, cheap! For some Urban Outfitters home items in my house, check out these links: UO dining room curtains, UO master bedroom curtains, UO master bedroom rug.
Sue at Home