Fri09192014

Business & Real Estate

A touch of Gray : Former Cottage Green owner returns with European-inspired furnishings store


Gray opened her newest venture, Atelier Gray last week after a three-year hiatus from Los Altos.

A familiar face returned to downtown Los Altos last week.

Sylvia Gray, previously the proprietor of the Cottage Green on First Street (now the site of Bumble), opened the doors to her newest venture – Atelier Gray – Aug. 6 at 358 State St.

Similar to Cottage Green, owned by Gray for five years before closing more than three years ago, her new retail location offers an “edgier” blend of new and vintage European furnishings and decor, as well as handcrafted items from California artists. Gray described her shop as an “ongoing, changing workshop” and told the Town Crier that one of her goals is to stand out from the standard antiques store.

“Part of this business for me is (that) I really want to specialize in finding the unusual,” said Gray, who noted her penchant for repurposing vintage items, including a vintage French butcher’s rack that she fashioned into a bar in her showroom. “I want people to walk into the store and say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that.’ … I don’t want to be formal – I want to be livable and current.”

Gray added that with a mix of old and new, as well as the repurposed, describing her new business isn’t always easy. She noted that while she has always been fond of European antiques, she also sought to support local artists when she started hunting for a new retail location a year ago. She said Atelier Gray accomplishes both of those desires.

“I’m not quite sure what I am. … I guess I’m just a unique, creative person,” said Gray, who worked as a corporate consultant before undergoing a career change and purchasing Cottage Green eight years ago. “This is eclectic. I’ve always wanted to be that way.”

For Gray, returning to the confines of downtown Los Altos is also a homecoming of sorts. She noted that while she hopes her wares appeal to a broad audience in Los Altos, she’s also seen many former Cottage Green customers walk through her new doors in the short time Atelier Gray has been open.

All in all, she added, the early results on her return to Los Altos have been positive.

“I’m here and I have a great following – which helps,” said Gray, who noted that she will occasionally feature items on consignment and enjoys finding specialty items requested by customers. “I’ve made a lot of great friends here. It’s just great to see some of my old customers.”

For more information, call 917-9788.

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