Shop Visit: Michael Trapp’s Barn

April 19, 2021

Want to shop global artisans without venturing beyond New England? Make an appointment to explore Michael Trapp’s barn in Sharon

Text by Tovah Martin     Photography by Kindra Clineff

Michael Trapp’s version of “vacation” would exhaust even the most fervent shopaholic. Since 1990, the famed interior and landscape designer has presided over his eponymous shop in West Cornwall, legendary for its eclectic and singular style.

Meanwhile, Trapp’s annual winter escapades crisscrossing Northern Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and other far-flung destinations were originally slated as time out from working seven days a week. “But every place I go, there’s always a shopping opportunity,” he pleads his own defense. As a result, when Trapp “goes fishing,” warehouses fill to overflowing.

That was Trapp’s dilemma ten years ago when he found a massive Dutch barn for sale in nearby Sharon. Not only was the cavernous former dairy barn begging to be stocked, it also boasted an adjacent thirty-by-100-foot concrete slab perfect for serving as a stone yard. Trapp made an offer, acquired the barn, and showered the oversized labyrinth of spaces with the love an old structure deserves.

Suddenly, those global “fishing trips” gained new importance, and now design lovers benefit from Trapp’s overdriven work ethic when shipping containers bursting with textiles, metalwork, tribal jewelry, colonial furniture, pottery, and every manner of curiosity known to mankind are unloaded into the barn in the wake of his expeditions. Even when the pandemic paused travel, overdue containers from previous forays continued arriving. And customers can now make appointments to explore and purchase from the dizzying warren of temptations stored in the barn’s depths.

It’s mindboggling, for sure, but the array is also neatly organized. Every item is meticulously chronicled and categorically stored beside similar items from crafts-people in exotic locales. Linens are numbered, folded, and stacked into glass cabinets within climate-controlled rooms. Dozens of colonial teak benches that could double as daybeds are lined up like pews to fill most of the two-story structure’s top floor. Jewelry is displayed in cases, while curated collections of statuary, sculpture, terra-cotta, baskets, urns, oil jars, and you-name-it neatly line the aisles. “There’s something for everyone indoors or outside,” Trapp muses of his cache, “it’s like
Aladdin’s cave.”

Open by appointment only. Call Michael Trapp’s office at 860-672-6098 or visit michaeltrapp.com for more information.