NYC-based Design Director Tori Jones’ Block Island Outpost Opens for Summer

Antiques, Klaus Gemming photography, and quilts are all part of the breezy vibes by design on Dodge Street


While many Rhode Islanders may take Block Island for granted, it truly is a special place, largely prized for what it doesn’t have. There are zero large-chain businesses, no traffic lights, and no need for public transportation. What it does boast are unspoiled bluffs and beaches, lighthouses, and the seasonal shop of New York City-based design consultant Tori Jones, whose primary retail space is in Manhattan. Over the years, Jones has built a solid portfolio of credentials, working with brands like Schumacher, Veranda, Elle Decor, and House Beautiful.

So why Block Island? “I grew up spending summers here and worked at several shops and galleries in town,” Jones begins, citing admiration for the many small businesses on the island. “I always dreamt about having my own little outpost.” After many years of working in the corporate world as a design editor and creative services director, she was ready to give it a go, and Block Island became her testing ground to see if an art and antiques venture was viable.

“I had this idea to do a three-week pop-up shop selling antiques and vintage finds sourced largely from New England, kind of all the things I imagined in a dream summer cottage,” she says. When the small annex building on Dodge Street became available, she jumped at the chance. This will be Jones’ third full summer in the store she fills
largely with antiques, local art, and one-offs. “We hope there will always be something new to discover with each visit.”

This past January, Jones opened a space in Manhattan at The Gallery at 200 Lex, on the 10th floor of the New York Design Center. The Gallery is a destination for antiques in the city with 33,000 square feet of space and over 50 vintage dealers. Similar to her Block Island shop, Jones’ space is replete with painted furniture, antique textiles, and that summer staple making a comeback: wicker. “In New York, our clients are largely interior designers shopping for client projects; on the island, it’s primarily homeowners, vacationers, people coming in right off the beach. Both spaces are made up of pieces I love and I hope there’s a warm, inviting feeling that resonates.”

On opening the doors of the saltbox shop, Jones smiles and says, “it still feels exciting and full of promise. I love summer, and the idea of an all-American summer in New England is very romanticized in my head.” Plans for the season ahead include the second installment of the popular “Block Island Summer,” an exhibit of 35-millimeter photography of the island in the 1970s by Klaus Gemming, set to debut Memorial Day weekend. “The shop is stocked with everything from fine art to canvas sun hats; we have a range in price points and smaller items that can be easily taken home as a souvenir.” Open through Columbus Day. 441 Dodge Street, Barn Annex,



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