Living Above the Store
Two flights down and he's at work
For Jim Lamond getting to work every day is easy—down one flight of stairs and into The Fabric Studio right below his apartment. Having once lived in a 10,000-square-foot house, he now resides in a space measuring 650 square feet. Some people would call it extreme downsizing. He calls it heaven.
“I’ve owned the building for a long time and when I got divorced, I decided to scale down—way down,” explains Lamond. “I love being able to run into the shop or run back home if I need to. It’s big enough for me to live comfortably, entertain, and be surrounded by some of my favorite things.” And it’s great for Noah, his poodle, who gets to spend time in the shop and not be left alone upstairs.
A Litchfield resident for over 40 years, Lamond grew up in New York City and attended McBurney Prep School. “I spent all my free time going to museums and galleries,” he explains. “I studied up on paintings and artists and became interested in color, textures, and composition.”
One year the headmaster’s wife, who was an interior designer, got Lamond a summer job in a fabric store. When it came time to leave, he didn’t. By then he was totally hooked on the world of interior design.
Along with gaining a knowledge of interior design, he began to appreciate and purchase antiques and paintings. “I bought my first painting from a dealer under the Third Avenue El,” he recalls. “Something doesn’t have to be rare or expensive to attract me. If a piece has good balance and good quality, then I buy it.” Over the years he has collected 19th-century bronzes, American furniture, silver, brass, blue and white porcelains, and painted furniture.
Lamond has an impressive eye for detail and composition. “I was lucky enough to have Sister Parish as a friend, and I learned just by watching her in action. I don’t offer design services in the shop, but if someone wants me to come and evaluate what they have and rework their rooms, re-cover furniture, or make new draperies, I’m happy to do it,” he says.
The Fabric Studio has been in its present space on West Street for about 20 years. It is a bustling enterprise with hundreds of rolls of fabrics, from cottons to silks to embroidered tapestries. Says Lamond: “We are busy every single day because we have some amazing fabrics at reasonable prices.”
To enter Lamond’s apartment is to be transported to the Left Bank and the ultimate Parisian apartment. The entry hallway leads to a compact living room, where a blazing fire is a backdrop for a comfortable sofa, a massive desk, and several seating areas. Carved tree-trunk chairs from Yugoslavia flank the fireplace.
The narrow galley kitchen houses stainless-steel appliances and a stackable washer and dryer. Just outside the bedroom, there are shelves carved out of a narrow wall where Lamond stores his sweaters. The tiny bedroom has three huge, antique, mahogany doors that reach to the ceiling and camouflage the closet. The dining room table seats ten, and a tea caddy does double duty as a place to stack china.
“Even though I’ve lived in some large houses, I am more comfortable in confined areas. I’ve had as many as 40 people here for cocktails. I also have large sit-down dinners,” Lamond says.
Does living in such a small space prohibit amassing more things? “Well, I don’t buy as much, and I’m really good at editing,” he says.
Because downsizing works so well, Lamond has taken it to another level. He recently purchased an apartment in New York City. At 250 square feet, it makes his Litchfield abode seem like a palace.