Rustic Country Barn is 'a great place to think outside the box'

Rustic Country Barn in New Milford is an inspiration for home decor ideas.

So say Scott Fitch and Karen Soetbeer, who own the business that celebrated its 10th anniversary in October.

“This is a great place to think outside the box,” said Soetbeer describing offerings in the store’s 5,000-square-foot showroom, in an early 1700s house and barn at 101 Park Lane Road. “I like seeing people’s expressions” when they find their piece of furniture that speaks to them.

The business sells American-made, handcrafted solid wood furniture — some from reclaimed wood — as well as home furnishings and gifts for every occasion.

“We’re always evolving,” Fitch said. “We’re very different. We don’t have what you see everywhere else.”

Sleigh beds, upholstered chairs and couches, dining tables, entryway benches, dressers, entertainment centers, night stands, kitchen islands and custom bathroom vanities are among the items sold at the store, at prices for most budgets.

Home accents, such as lamps and lighting features, candles, rugs, reproduction prints, and other accents complement the furniture.

A large wall of wrought iron products made in Pennsylvania are also popular, the owners said.

Goods such as candles, decorative birdhouses and gourds, curtains, Valley Forge flags, Duke Cannon soap for men, oil lanterns, placemats, table runners and furniture polish — made by local and national artisans — are also sold in the shop.

“It’s the best kept secret in town,” said Dawn MacNutt of Bridgewater, who has bought several pieces of furniture and décor from the store.

The owners work closely with a group of craftsmen, many of them Amish and Mennonite, as well as craftsmen who pride themselves in building heirloom furniture. Products come from Pennsylvania, Ohio, upstate New York and the Carolinas.

Many of the items are made from reclaimed and reused wood.

Fitch said staff attends wholesale shows throughout the year, and he travels to Pennsylvania regularly to find new inventory.

The store also specializes in custom pieces. About 15 percent of the wooden products are finished; the rest are unfinished. Fitch and his workshop crew offer custom finishes for all products.

Additionally, furniture alterations can be made on site.

A section of wood table tops allow customers to mix and match tabletop shapes and sizes.

Fitch described how a customer once bought a six-foot dining table, but then wanted extension pieces to accommodate larger parties for special occasions. The workshop crew designed the pieces that doubled the table length.

Gina Vanak of New Milford described the staff as “very friendly and accommodating” when her family purchased a dining table.

“They worked with me to draft a plan for my ideas into a gorgeous dining room table that is both stylish and well made,” she said. “They involved me every step of the way, including sampling stain finishes on the actual materials for my table to be sure the outcome was exactly as I’d like it to be.”

The staff also matched the table stain to her floor and wrapped a beam in matching wood.

“If you don’t know what you want, he’ll come out and look at the space and come up with a solution that will look really great and fit the room,” said Nicole Easley of Bridgewater, who has purchased numerous custom pieces.

“I wouldn’t consider going anywhere else because his work is so beautiful,” she said.

Products come with a lifetime warranty, according to the owners.

Fitch said he enjoys brainstorming with customers.

“One of our problems is we offer too many choices,” Fitch said of the business, citing the many products, wood finishes and upholstery fabrics available.

He said he appreciates how customers mix and match furniture and home accents to meet their style. He noted how one customers bought a reclaimed dining table but then added contemporary dining chairs for a more modern flare.

The store, which first opened in the barn but expanded into the homestead in more recent years, offers an annual tent sale, a January furniture sale and a 12-days of Christmas event, which includes visits with Santa.

For information, call the Rustic Country Barn at 101 Park Lane Road (Route 202) in New Milford at 866-787-7778 or visit http://www.rusticcountrybarn

.com. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.