Hidden Hamptons: Laurin Copen Antiques

Beautiful Finds And Unexpected Treasures
Laurin Copen_1

One of the Hamptons’ most popular non-beach activities is antique hunting and Laurin Copen Antiques is one of the area’s best and most unique vintage emporiums. Located in a picturesque 1791 farmhouse in Bridgehampton, the shop is a favorite with local architects and interior designers as well as visitors to the area who appreciate its refined mix of Swedish, folk, industrial and mid-century modern furniture, along with lighting, art and other decorative objects. The store’s unique ambience is a testament to the sensibility of its owner, who established the business 16 years ago.

Laurin Copen initially trained to be a book illustrator, but wound up specializing in painted finishes for top furniture designers before opening her own lacquering business in Manhattan. After selling the business in 1986, she moved to her Sag Harbor weekend home and took up photography. Realizing that her true passion was antiques, Copen bought the former Ruby Beets shop, housed in the historic General Abraham Rose House, and made it completely her own. Set up more like a house than a store, Laurin Copen Antiques is an enchanting place to visit, as much for its atmosphere as for the fabulous finds housed there.

“My general rule of thumb has always been that if I Laurin Copen_2like it I buy it, and presumably someone else will like it too,” says Copen. “Because tastes have changed, we are doing more mid-century than before and I have developed a passion for mid-century pottery in particular. But I still like to mix it up with older pieces, industrial, funky or amusing things and just plain great style. Sometimes I surprise myself with the things I love, which means you never quite know what to expect.” She cites one recently discovered treasure: “A favorite of mine currently is this fabulous Swedish five-legged extension table. It is an unusual early piece with wonderful age patina.”

The house itself has quite a history: the existing structure was rebuilt by Brigadier General Abraham Rose after the original – owned by his parents – burned down in 1791. A surveyor and original owner of the nearby Hayground Windmill, Rose commanded the Long Island troops who successfully defended Sag Harbor during the War of 1812. The house was renovated in 1914, when it was moved 25 feet south due to the widening of the Montauk Highway. The original farmhouse’s wide floorboards can be found in two small bedrooms on the home’s west side.

Says Copen, “I love the house, its age and history, and how inspiring it is to see the pieces in a “home” setting. We are constantly moving things around and restyling the rooms to accommodate our latest finds and keep it fresh. That’s part of the fun.”

One of Laurin Copen’s many fans is decorator Dan Scotti, who found items for actress Molly Sims’ Hamptons home in the store. Says Scotti on the actress’s website, “One of the reasons that I love her shop is because she seems to gravitate towards pieces that have taken on a natural cool grey patina — which I find to be the perfect palette for a Hamptons home. I also find it fun to shop for antiques in an eighteenth century farmhouse.”

So, stop in if you’re in the neighborhood, and browse beautiful objects in a setting steeped in local history. It’s a great place to lose yourself in the past and find new treasures in the process.

1703 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton, 631.537.2802