Putting the perfect country store online

The local, the utilitarian and the utterly chic, now a click away

Sometimes one really misses a good old-fashioned, back-to-basics country store: the sort of place where you’ll find simple, utilitarian items, neatly displayed, mostly at reasonable prices. It’s a concept that gets even better when it’s expanded to include a handful of beautiful products – in interesting fabrics and finishes – sourced from around the globe. Now imagine if it were all online, “packaged” with the same clean, appealingly unpretentious design that defines the store experience. Such is the e-shop of Brook Farm General Store, a Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based business that’s the brainchild of American Philippa Content and Brit Christopher Winterbourne.

Tasteful graphics make navigating the alphabetised product categories a simple (and fast) pleasure. Starting with Accessories – a broadly defined category that covers everything from aprons to screwdrivers – you’ll find a melange of items, from elegant, lightweight Tunisian shawls ($68) to purely practical Japanese notebooks (first picture, $14) with starch-pressed cotton fabric covers. There are unique rosewood folding knives ($45) from Germany that feature beautiful brass inlay, and handmade tanned leather dog collars ($39) with elegant brass hardware that are as sturdy as they are tasteful.

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Both the Bath and Bedroom sections are populated with soft linens – hammam towels (second picture, $68) in taupe hues, and Ghanaian straw baskets ($59) that work as well for toy storage as they do for laundry. Brushes merit their own category, offering a vast array that it would be hard to match on the web or off. Standouts include flower pot brushes ($17.50) and Dutch handbrooms ($18) crafted in Hungary using traditional sweet grass and recycled red twine.

Elsewhere on the site you can stock up on classic British Anglepoise lamps ($250) and gorgeous French market baskets handmade in Morocco (third picture, $40) that are perfect for picnics and the beach.

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What sets Brook Farm General Store apart, however, are the items you haven’t seen since childhood – or perhaps never knew existed in the first place. In the Outdoors section, cyclists will click on the old-school brass bells ($20), while hikers will appreciate a classic Stanley Thermos ($30) that insulates for 12+ hours. This part of the site is also a gardener’s delight, with steel hedge shears ($31) and Japanese trowels ($20).

Old-fashioned classics, beautifully edited and made easily accessible to all; Brook Farm seems to get why we all wanted e-commerce in the first place.

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