Shop Visit: Modern Relik
April 1, 2020
Text by Erika Ayn Finch Photography by Michael J Lee
Anyone who has lived in Boston for more than a minute knows the South End wasn’t always the hip neighborhood that it has become. Interior designer Meg Kimball, who recently relocated her boutique, Modern Relik, from the Boston suburb of Waltham to Harrison Avenue in the South End, recalls an old salvage shop in the formerly dodgy SoWa district where she would unearth finds for her clients. That shop might be long gone, but Kimball’s present-meets-past aesthetic is alive and well in a newly remodeled, 6,000-square-foot space just a stone’s throw away from her old treasure trove.
“I once had a client walk into my shop and tell me they couldn’t tell what was new and what was a relic, and I take that as a compliment,” says Kimball. “I urge clients to blend old and new. Be experimental. Be bold. Don’t be matchy-matchy. Every room should have something old and something new.”
Modern Relik is a sensory shopping experience. Aside from the furniture, accessories, and tabletop items, there’s Mod Espresso, a coffee counter with locally made pastries and snacks curated by Boston restaurant developer Michela Larson. The serving ware and tables and chairs used in the nook are all sold in the boutique.
Across from Mod Espresso, a corner of the shop is dedicated to offering flowers and plants in a decidedly “non-fussy” way, as Kimball describes it. Think potted succulents and orchids, rosemary topiaries, and cut stems begging to be casually arranged in a creative vessel.
Further into the boutique, there’s an Instagrammable display of coffee-table design books to leaf through. It’s easy to get lost in the textures of the pillow corridor, where shoppers will find a line created exclusively for the shop by its design director, the famed designer John Dransfield. There are also candles featuring Modern Relik’s proprietary scents, baskets from Africa, leather trays from Spain, and a huge credenza with drawers full of napkin rings, linens, and other accessories. In the back, you’ll find Modern Relik’s interior design services. When you’re there, look up at the windows above the desks. They come from that aforementioned South End salvage shop.
Modern Relik, Boston