Branford mom and designer wanted to create a boutique, studio like you’d find in Fairfield County

BRANFORD — The space has the new-car smell of creamy leather, a subtle hint of fresh paint, a hint of woodiness and the sensual aroma from a select variety of accessories and bath products.

The opening of Branford native and interior designer Stephanie Herzog’s Bespoke Home, which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday with First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove, brings a unique new retail store to 1008 Main St., the former Myers Flower Shop. It’s the latest in a spate of new stores on Main Street: Archie Moore’s, Splash, BACA Gallery, China Garden.

Herzog calls it a home boutique and design studio, a hybrid offshoot of her successful design business SVM Design, LLC (, which has been based out of the Branford home she shares with her husband Jesse and three children, whose names inspired the business name.

The former shop has been gutted and completely renovated in a soothing palate of creamy tan and off-white with custom work by her uncle Erich Ruder of North Branford. It’s anchored by a white-washed floor with a vaulted ceiling, complementing, but never competing with, the high-end furniture, accessories, lighting and rugs. There’s even a selection of coffee-table books to match a client’s décor, and a corner art gallery, which will feature an artist-in-residence each season.

This spring, it’s Haley Brown, whose The Haley Brown Collection will have a launch party 5-9 p.m. Friday, March 25 with a Prosecco truck.

Timing played a big part in the venture.

“It was time to move the business out of the house,” Herzog says. “My youngest son went to kindergarten last spring, and I told my husband I wanted a space,” says Herzog. “I was schlepping throws and rugs to clients’ houses. He wanted to get a space in a business park,” she says with a look of horror. “Frank Vigliotti, who is a friend, said he had a perfect space for me, because the Myers florists were retiring. I went to see it and thought, ‘This could work.’

“My friends can’t wait to see it. When you say it’s on the Green, people kind of think it will be a retail establishment,” which is her way of saying, it might be a store selling retail, but it’s not just a store selling retail.

Herzog, 40, is not immune to the buzz that the downtown could use more buying choices. In fact, it’s one of the things she’s most happy about with the new venture.

“I felt it was up to me to do it. I felt I was bringing life back to Main Street. … This is five minutes from Tisko (School), and a stone’s throw from our house. I wanted to be in the town we live in. Everyone’s been sooo incredible.”

The store is filled with the kinds of furniture and accessories that Herzog says shoppers would normally have to travel to Fairfield County or buy online to achieve their look of clean and creative with peeks of whimsy: Gray Mallin’s unique aerial photography, Jonathan Adler pottery and home accessories, Arteriors lighting and accessories, Made Goods accessories, Voluspa candle line, works by Brooklyn potter Hazy Mae, colorful, playful table linens by Furbish.

“I aimed to have price points for everyone, so that no matter what the budget, everyone can achieve the perfectly curated look they desire for their home,” she says.

With the genes from a mother in the art business and a father who went to art school, Herzog, though she was a political science major at University of Connecticut, veered toward the creative career path early, selling art and designing commercial interiors for Corporate Image for 10 years. When it’s suggested that she has the gift of an “eye” for design, she modestly demurs, “I’m reluctant to say I have a gift …,” but, before she finishes her thought, an associate adds from the back of the store, “Yes, she has an eye.”

Her friends recognized and sought out that “eye” for help with their homes, and, without conventional design training, Herzog made her career official by starting SVM Design, LLC, six-and-a-half years ago, concentrating totally on residential design. A local design was featured on the January cover of CTC & G magazine (Connecticut Cottages and Gardens).

The vignettes Herzog has created around the store showcase a look and the furniture and accessories that can achieve it, though she likes to stay exclusive by not sharing her furniture sources. Everything is in stock and ready to ship. Herzog will be meeting clients in the rear of the store at a large work island with a TV screen for design presentations, a fabric swatch library and other samples.

It will mean no more “schlepping” for the busy mother, who, with her husband Jesse, devotes a lot of time as a board member of the Cure Rare Disease nonprofit, which develops custom therapeutics for rare diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which her youngest son is battling.

“I told my kids, who are 12, 10 and 6, that the moment this impacts your life, I’m done,” and she makes the face one imagines her kids did. “But they’ve been coming in, and it’s a lot of fun for them. The benefit of being on Main Street runs the gamut … I hope it allows me to grow my design business, which would be the ultimate goal, but I’m honestly enjoying the ride for now.”

For more information:, 203-208-0768, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

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