at your service: Proprietors Ellen Tackowiak and Jeff Palmer are surrounded by some of the treasures in their Gladstone shop.
Along with rare tiger-maple wood furnishings, Gladstone Country House’s inventory features goods from small-scale manufacturers that will tailor designs to the customer’s needs.
Step into the charming butter-yellow building that is Gladstone Country House and you are sure to be inspired by Jeff Palmer and Ellen Tackowiak. The husband-and-wife duo are the owners of the store, which specializes in American-made furniture.
Tackowiak opened the shop in 2000, near Gladstone’s town center, following in her father’s footsteps—he owned the now-defunct Chatham House—and planned to sell rare tiger-maple wood furniture exclusively. “You can’t grow tiger maple on purpose,” Palmer says. “It just happens at random in less than 1 percent of maple trees. You don’t know it until the wood gets to the lumber mill and you start cutting it and see this ripple in the grain structure.”
The store “just kind of grew from there,” Tackowiak says. In addition to the extensive tiger-maple collection, Gladstone Country House now carries other wood furniture, oriental lamps—a collection of at least 150 at one time, Palmer says—upholstered chairs and sofas, wall décor and accessories. All of the furniture, which the couple characterizes as classic and slightly transitional, is solid wood, with no veneers. “That sets us apart from a lot of other stores right now,” he says. “Staying small lets us keep that focus.”
The couple selects their inventory from small-scale manufacturers. “We’re up to nine different makers just of tiger-maple furniture alone,” Palmer says. “Some of them are just one-man operations. Our biggest [supplier of wood furniture] is maybe 15 to 20 people. I can call up and talk directly to the owner or his daughter.” This familiarity with the craftsmen allows Palmer and Tackowiak to offer customizable furniture. “If you want this table two inches shorter, they’ll make it two inches shorter—you’re not going to get that at most other places,” Palmer says.
Location: Gladstone Country House Contact: 230 Main Street, Gladstone, 908-781-1300;
Store Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; evenings by appointment