In Christophe Pourny’s Industry City studio and storefront, in Brooklyn, artisan home goods from France mingle alongside cans of wood stain. In the front, there are pairs of ultra-cozy charentaise slippers, colorful soaps from Marseilles, and hand-mixed furniture tonics. Walk to the back, there’s a plastic curtain that leads to a studio space where you’ll find craftsmen in the process of restoring and elevating all sorts of furniture. Spend 15 minutes there and you’ll begin to wonder why there aren’t more storefronts where you can both interact with a storied form of craftsmanship and also buy a stylish little sun hat that you can wear to your trip to Deauville this summer.
For Pourny, mixing French home-goods staples with his everyday work as a furniture restorer makes perfect sense. As a restorer, he works with high-quality materials. He wants his work to last, be passed down, transform a space. When it came time to open his storefront in Brooklyn, he had the same attitude: giving his customers access to high-quality items that have longevity. “I wanted people to come by and find these things only here,” he says.
Originally from the South of France, Pourny grew up with parents who were antiques dealers, and recalls a childhood where the history of objects was important. As a child, he’d occasionally come home from school and discover a price tag on his bed, or find out that his parents had just sold his desk. “Everything was old. Everything was for sale,” he says with a laugh.
When it came time to leave home, Pourny pursued a degree in classical studies in Nice. Learning Greek and Latin led to a brief post-grad stint working in his uncle’s antiques store, in Paris, and in the 90s, Pourny moved to New York and found work as a furniture restorer, transforming his lifelong appreciation for antiques into a career. Not too long after, he launched his own business under his own name.
Over the past 25 years, Pourny’s business has expanded immensely. Shortly after starting his own restoration company, he opened a studio in DUMBO to meet demand from clients all over New York City. Fans caught on fast, including Martha Stewart, who featured Pourny in a “How To” segment on her eponymous talk show. Shortly after, he began to sell a furniture tonic that was sold all over the U.S. at local stores. It turned new people on to his work, and exposed them to the pleasures of furniture care. In 2016, Pourny wrote a book, The Furniture Bible, with a foreword by Stewart. In 2019, he moved his studio to Industry City, Brooklyn, where he began his retail expansion.
When I visit the studio, he shows me a straw-marquetry project on a pair of huge doors that he and his team are in the process of adding, as well as a beautiful old couch that he’s in the middle of restoring. We walk around the storefront part of his studio. It’s beautiful, full of impeccably curated objects that feel just like home. That’s Pourny’s goal, after all: to elevate spaces, to make a house feel like home.
Sophie Kemp is a Brooklyn-based writer