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Finding the Beauty in Understated Objects With The Primary Essentials

If you’re on a sourcing spree in Brooklyn looking for small artisan goods and a meticulously edited selection of objects and curiosities, stop into The Primary Essentials (TPE) on Atlantic Ave. TPE makes sure to source pieces that people will actually use in their daily lives. Whether it be an asymmetrical piece of ceramic, or a unique vase, TPE has subtle yet distinctive pieces that will make a room feel put together.
The gift shop and boutique owner, Lauren Snyder, always knew that she wanted to open up a shop. She couples her interior design education, experience in fashion, and passion for running a business to manage TPE. Here, Lauren shares the lifestyle behind The Primary Essentials, her favorite local creatives, and tips for sourcing the right objects for a space.

The Primary Essentials has a highly edited collection of items – what’s your sourcing strategy?
I try to source items that are functional yet unique, and always of good quality. Every time I buy something, I ask myself if I can see it making a way into someone’s home and life. I’m always looking for elevated classics.

Natalie Weinberger Red Stoneware Vase B, Photographed by Lilly Jonsons

How would you describe your aesthetic in 140 characters or less?
Understated with unique aspects.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time, Photographed by Lilly Jonsons

Who are some local independent artists and interior designers that you admire?
I love working with Natalie Weinberger and Doug Johnson. They both have a really clear and pure vision that I admire. Sheena Murphy of Sheep + Stone Interiors lives right by my shop and she is one of my favorite clients. My husband, Keith Burns, is an architect and definitely my biggest spatial influencer.

Lilly Jonsons

How does being based in Brooklyn influence your business?
Being in Brooklyn is great because you are constantly surrounded by amazing artisans and designers. On the flip side, it is a saturated market, so you have to constantly be on your toes to source new and exciting things.

Large Black Splatter Spice Bowl, Photographed by Lilly Jonsons

What are some spaces featuring TPE products that you are particularly proud of?
Whenever I see people post about things that they buy at the store, and how things find a way into their homes, that always really excites me.  I love seeing people use objects from the store in their everyday life.

Lilly Jonsons

Based on your knowledge of the industry, how was technology and social media impacted the design industry?
Everything always being at everyone’s fingertips makes it that much easier for trends to circulate so much faster, and for things to become kind of stale looking.

Natalie Weinberger Polka Dot Vase A., Photographed by Lilly Jonsons

How do you typically work with interior designers? What do you enjoy about it? 
I love working with the interiors designers who shop at my store because they know what they want and have a clear vision.

Enoki Bowl Sandstone/Snow White, Photographed by Lilly Jonsons

In your opinion, what’s the most essential element to a room?

Lilly Jonsons

How important is staged and styled photography for the success of your business?
It is definitely important for photographs to look good in this day and age.  When you see an image online or on Instagram that doesn’t look great, it is more obvious now because the competition is so good. We always aim for our photographs to be styled, but only to a certain point. We want images to be inspiring but not unattainable.

Espresso Confetti Bowl, Photographed by Lilly Jonsons

Can you offer 3 tips of “best practices” to interior designers for choosing the right furnishings when decorating a space?
Don’t force it. A home takes time and it’s the layers of things. The time that it takes to get those things is what makes a place special.
Comfort and practicality should always be a factor. You should always be thinking about how somebody is going to use a space. I generally believe that less is more.

Lilly Jonsons

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