As a boy, Barry Jordan – the mastermind behind William and Edward Mercantile – loved to draw and paint. Being creative simply came naturally to him. Another passion did as well: farming. The family plot in Northumberland, England where he grew up had his heart, and it was in his blood to be outside working on projects, making the most of the day. There came a time, though, when Barry had to choose between art and farming. It was bittersweet, but as he came of age he left the farm to study and work in fashion design in London and then New York City, two places that couldn’t be more different from where he grew up.
After years of living and working in Manhattan, however, Barry grew restless and began to long for the simpler lifestyle he once had back in England. He needed to get back to farming and the connection with nature that he remembered from his childhood. All in all, he was very homesick. To help with this, he went out and bought himself a fixer-upper cottage in quiet Dutchess County, NY. The 1830s-era cottage had been in the previous owner’s family for 150 years when Barry took it over, and the work it needed was a little intimidating. But Barry wanted a project, and since buying it he’s turned the space into a rustic, warm retreat for himself and his friends.
Barry did the majority of the work solo — yes, solo. It was a labor love and one that he enjoyed every second of. “The overall feeling as I started stripping the house back [was that] it was guiding me, and it cooperated with each turn,” he explains. No matter the undertaking, the house just worked out. The original beams he uncovered after a ceiling renovation were stunning, a second bathroom’s necessary location just happened to align with the original plumbing, and the list goes on.
On a roll, Barry then went about decking the halls and filling the cottage with hearty antiquities and sentimental decorations. White china tossed messily in an open cupboard and a draping Union Jack give the space Victorian charm while also reminding him of home. They are joined not only by flea market finds, but the lucky Craigslist gem, too. Clearly it doesn’t matter to Barry where his home’s decor came from. Barry says the key to achieving his decorating style is instead “… to find pieces that were once loved, need a new home and have a sense of time about them.” Click through to see all he’s collected and all of the fabulous work he’s done bringing a bit of England to NY for himself. Enjoy! —Garrett