Design Destination: Delicious Designs, Hingham, Massachusetts

January 10, 2014

Text by Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz

In the movie You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly, played by a winning Meg Ryan, rails against Fox Books, a megastore that threatens to overshadow Kelly’s small, independent bookshop. Seeing that movie, we rooted for Kelly as fervently as any sports fan roots for his home team. And it wasn’t just because she played the charming underdog to Tom Hanks’s Joe Brooks. No, we got riled up because the 1998 movie confirmed our growing suspicion that small shops—the ones with personality and point of view—would soon become obsolete, swallowed by outsized retailers willing to pay higher rents and sign longer leases.

To our minds, one of the many charms of a healthy town center is its ability to attract shops that appeal to neighbors and visitors alike. Shops that understand the needs of their customers by selling goods that haven’t yet become commodified. Shops that dare to take chances, even if it means the occasional mistake, in order to keep inventory fresh.  (And as with all good retail, exceptional customer service doesn’t hurt.)

A recent road trip revealed some good news. Town centers are experiencing something of a retail revival. And though we don’t like to generalize from the specific, Hingham, a charming coastal town about forty minutes south of Boston, proves the point.

Take Delicious Designs. The small shop is chock-a-block full of just the kinds of things customers clamor for. During the brief time we were there, both neighbors and out-of- towners popped in to admire, among other things, a linen club chair whose sinuous shape was highlighted by bronze nail heads; a copper-colored, drum-shaped coffee table; a beaded chandelier; slightly overscaled white porcelain table lamps; and charming graphic art works with a message that seems to celebrate the essence of small independent shops: “Don’t forget to be awesome.”
88 North Street, Hingham, Mass.


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