Shop Visit: Slate in Burlington, Vermont
May 3, 2021
A Vermont boutique launches an interior design business.
Text by Robert Kiener Photography by Lindsay Selin
For Sarah Baroni Phaneuf, more isn’t necessarily merrier. The owner of the Burlington, Vermont, home-and-lifestyle store Slate sums up her design aesthetic as “timeless, not trendy.”
As she explains, “We believe our customers should invest in good and beautiful products that will last and make them happy for a long time, instead of choosing fashion-based or trendy products that will end up being given away or in a landfill. That’s why we choose all of our products, from our candles to our couches, with a ‘buy less, buy better’ idea in mind.”
The 4,000-square-foot shop on Burlington’s dynamic Church Street Marketplace offers everything from modern furniture and handmade dinnerware, to rugs, original art, and fashion accessories. Its comfortable, unfussy aesthetic has proven popular with homeowners and interior designers alike. Indeed, some customers have admired Phaneuf’s product curation so much that they have hired her and her staff to decorate their homes.
“We love getting to know a client’s design preferences and choosing pieces that will thrill them,” she says. For a recent project, the Slate team furnished a family’s entire second home in Vermont, facilitating not only the big purchases, like beds, tables, and chairs, but also the little details, such as coffee-table books and games for the children. Phaneuf, a Cape Cod native who operated her own home-and-lifestyle store and jewelry-design business in California before returning to New England and opening Slate in 2017, reports that interior design is the fastest growing sector of her business.
Visitors to Slate—and its website—quickly learn that one of Phaneuf’s skills is sourcing products that fit in seamlessly with her store’s vision and values. “I am always searching for new sources, from furniture to food to art,” she explains. “I am especially thrilled when I can find a local supplier. But everything has to be aesthetically unique and mesh with our brand.”
And, as she notes, the brand is even reflected in the store’s name: “One of the reasons I chose the name ‘Slate’ is that the material itself is organic and simple, yet beautiful—perfect qualities that help make a house a home.”
Slate, Burlington, Vt., slatehome.co