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Lori Leven on Amagansett's Love Adorned

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There's a new and very good reason to stop at Amagansett Square: the recently opened spinoff of Nolita's Love Adorned, itself an offshoot of the upscale East Village tattoo shop New York Adorned. There's a real sense of discovery at Love Adorned East End, a cleverly curated collection of worldwide finds, including handcrafted and vintage jewelry, tools, rugs, leather goods, and ceramics that are as useful as they are beautiful.

The 1,100-square-foot shop, which opened Memorial Day weekend, is the unique vision of Lori Leven, who grew up spending time in Amagansett and now has a house in Springs. This week, journalist/blogger Cara Greenberg speaks with Leven about the new shop and her plans for the future.

How did you come to own three shops?

I've had a tattoo shop, New York Adorned, for 16 years. When we first opened, tattooing was illegal in New York City, so we had a jewelry store in the front. Within the year tattooing became legal, but by then the jewelry store was doing well and it was so much fun. At the time, there weren't a lot of places for young designers to sell their wares. I dreamt of opening a store independent of the tattoo shop, because no matter how good your product is, if you're connected to a tattoo shop, there's a demographic that is not interested in seeing what you have to offer. I looked for years before I found a shop on Elizabeth Street in Nolita [opened in December 2010].

And how did you come to be in Amagansett?

My stepmother has a store here, Decorum, selling French furniture, antiques, and home wares. The store used to be her house, and when I was a kid, we used to stay there. As a young adult, I started coming back to Montauk and then different spots in Springs and East Hampton. I bought a house in Springs last winter. It wasn't too hard to find this place. Last year it was a gift store, and before that, art supplies. I knew they weren't going to re-up. I love that it has three entrances.

How would you describe the sensibility of the store?

I'm interested in what I call luxurious utility ? stuff that's unusual and has a purpose, even if the function is pure beauty.

Who's responsible for the shop being so well-designed and merchandise so ingeniously displayed?

The shop design is a collaboration between myself and Vincent Martinelli, the operations manager. I go out and buy all the props, and he figures out how to use them. I found a glass display case from the geology department at the University of Michigan and old trawling hooks from a flea market, which we use as a counterbalance to keep the case open. I spend a lot of time collecting driftwood and Vincent spends a lot of time hanging it from the ceiling!

What are some of your favorite items in the store?

The peyote stitch pins and leather goods with perforations by Rene Holguin of RTH, who was the creative director for Levi's and has his own store on LaCienega in Los Angeles. I begged him, please let me sell your stuff! Moroccan rag rugs called boucherouit ($600-3,600). Shiburi (Japanese-style tie-dye) scarves and kimonos made in Brooklyn ($80-400). Alison Evans ceramics and Michele Quan pottery bells.

It must be fun to shop for the store. Where do you go?

I spend a lot of time in India, shopping and collecting. I buy components there for my own jewelry line. And I've been dreaming of going back to Indonesia. I wanted to open a store to have a reason to travel around the world.

Are there many items made in the USA?

Yes, a lot of small designers and makers. I'm really behind the makers. We represent 50 different jewelry designers in the city, fewer here. All of our designers are making it themselves, not farming it out, in materials from silver and gold to fossilized ivory.

Will you be open year-round?

Yes. In the off-season, we're going to do some classes for kids, teens, and adults ? collecting gray water, pickling, survival classes for kids. We want to offer something different.

Love Adorned, Amagansett Square, Main Street, Amagansett, is open 7 days. Monday-Thursday 11-7, Friday 11-8, Saturday 9-9, Sunday 9-5. 631-267-7720