Japanese Furniture Showroom Shibui opens in VH

There’s a new furniture gallery in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. Shibui brings with it the largest collection of antique Japanese cabinetry on the East Coast as well as a large selection of Japanese Folk art items, ceramics, textiles and other original antiques. Items range in price from $2 – $20,000 and up. Proprietor Dane Owen, and restoration specialist David Jackson are co-authors of the book “Japanese Cabinetry – the art and craft of Tansu” (Gibbs Smith Publisher-available on Amazon) the first new book on the subject of Tansu in over 20 years. Dane Owen comes from Santa Fe, New Mexico is also looking to open a retail store in Manhattan and chatted with him about Dumbo and his relocation.

Why did you choose Dumbo/VH area for your business after 14 years in NM?
My decision to move to NY in general based on several factors: We had a large customer base in the NY area. No one else was doing Japanese Antiques like ours in NY. Wood shrinks less at sea level than at 7400 feet (Santa Fe) so our restoration would be less intense. When the credit market dried up so did our ability to finance the business in a seasonal tourist town despite being profitable for 14 years.

As for the DUMBO/ VH area, I looked at a lot of warehouse space in Brooklyn/Queens before picking this space. Much of what I saw was less expensive, but it did not look like our customers were in any of those neighborhoods. I have customers from Santa Fe who lived in DUMBO and more who live in Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill. It is only one stop from NYC. I liked the neighborhood from the first time I saw it. I felt comfortable here.

What do you like about being here?
I love food and although I did not know about Vinegar Hill House when I signed the lease, I am very glad it is right around the corner. I like the character of the neighborhood, it has patina like our pieces. The neighbors have been great. I like that Admiral Perry’s house is around the corner also.

Does the showroom have regular hours or is it by appointment?
We have been open 7 days a week from 11 am -6 pm and we will try to stay with those hours until we open the Manhattan Store, after which we will be open in Vinegar Hill 5 days a week and by appointment, because some staff will move onto the store.

When will the Manhattan store open?
When we find a lease and landlord we can work with. We negotiated with a landlord for 1.5 months on a SOHO space. We gave up when he would not insert the word “reasonable” into the sublet clause. I am hoping that in the spring when all the pop up stores are gone we will have a better chance at finding a reasonable landlord.

Thank you Dane and welcome to Vinegar Hill and Dumbo!

Shibui joins other furniture makers in Dumbo, including: Baxter & Liebchen (33 Jay St), BoConcept (79 Front St), West Elm (75 Front St), Prague Kolektiv (68 Jay St, Suite 415), City Joinery (20 Jay St, 2nd fl), Journey Home (72 Front St), Jay East (67 Jay St), From the Source (65 Jay St), and others (please email or list them in the comments if I missed you.)

As of December 2014, Shibui’s new location is:
38 Washington Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 (corner of Water Street)
306 Water St.

{Asian Antiques That Outgrew Santa Fe, 06Jan2010, NYTimes}

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