The Spotted Hound

November 21, 2022

Shoppers leave with more than the perfect home accessory at this North Shore shop

Text by Erika Ayn Finch

There’s a fine line between collected and cluttered. Leave it to interior designer by day, shop owner by night Caitlin Flynn to curate a lifestyle boutique in Old Town Marblehead, Massachusetts, that teaches us where to draw that line. Inside the bright-white shop, a canister of used paint brushes unearthed in Round Top, Texas, turns a household tool into a lesson in texture. A massing of beakers opens the door to all sorts of possibilities from bud vases to build-your-own mimosa bars. Corkscrews discovered in a Paris flea market and displayed under glass elevate a kitchen staple to heirloom status.

Flynn, co-owner of North Fork Design Co., and her husband, real estate developer Kevin Costello, opened The Spotted Hound in December 2019. The couple had been living in Marblehead for ten years and regularly walked their two dogs by the storefront. (And yes, you guessed it: the shop’s name references one of those dogs, Dax, whose portrait appears in the logo.) When it became available, they decided it was the perfect opportunity to put their passion for treasure hunting to work.

“We’re collectors to a fault,” says Flynn with a laugh. “We love anything antique and with a patina.”

Costello says the couple’s travels act as the impetus for much of what shoppers see at The Spotted Hound. Those beakers were inspired by a trip to Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa. “It’s all about placing items in the right context for a whole new level of appreciation,” he says.

About forty percent of the shop’s inventory is vintage, but Flynn and Costello even know the stories behind the newer items like the candles made in Marblehead and the recycled-wool blankets from Scotland. Flynn has a love of utilitarian items, so The Spotted Hound is where you shop for brass garden shears, ceramic berry baskets, leather-bound notebooks, and terra-cotta herb markers.

“Along with being inspired by the patina on vintage and antique items, we also find the notion of wabi-sabi comforting and feel that the imperfections and natural variations of pieces are what make them interesting,” says Flynn. Items are displayed on furniture salvaged from all over New England, which makes it that much easier to envision them in your own home.

Just don’t ask the couple to sell the well-loved leather couch tucked along the back wall. “I’ll never give it up,” declares Flynn. Shoppers might find they feel the same about the treasures—and the decorating tips—they bring home from The Spotted Hound.

The Spotted Hound, Marblehead, Mass.,

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