The space, crammed full of one-of-a-kind pieces handmade from 1800’s reclaimed barn wood from Lancaster County farms, displays Cain’s original designs and handsome, custom-made farm tables.
The business of transforming antique wood into handcrafted, custom furniture Cain started more than a decade ago has established her as the local expert on architectural salvage, Amish antiques and custom vintage creations.
As an interior decorator who grew up in Lancaster County, Cain’s work has always been influenced by her childhood memories. Although she left Lancaster to pursue a career in Manhattan and Montclair, where she now resides, she found herself frequently bringing clients Amish antiques from her travels back home. Their popularity among her clients convinced Cain to go into business for herself.
“All my life I’ve loved beautiful farm tables.” So when Cain opened her business she said, “I built my store around them.”
Now she travels to Lancaster once a month to “crawl around” in barns searching for treasures for her store, Gypsy Farmhouse.
And Lancaster County has never led her astray. The county as Cain pointed out is the oldest inland settlement in the country, and as such they have some of the oldest barns in the U.S.
“I love old, worn wood,” said Cain. She continued, “I’m proud to help these old barns live on in cherished pieces of furniture.”
The furniture cherished most by Cain’s customers are her farm tables and for good reason according to Cain. “Kids grow up around them, and they are a great family heirloom to pass down.”
The tables are made to the customer’s exact specifications, Cain explained with customers selecting the length, width and thickness of the wood for their tabletop as well as the style of leg crafted from sturdy barn beams. They also choose from five different finishes and can add leaves and drawers.
“The customer makes all the decisions.”
Aside from all the custom features, something else make’s Cain’s farm tables distinct: The craftsmanship. Each table has a hand-rubbed and hand-waxed finish.
“There are nine different coats that go into them.” Cain emphasized, “They have a wonderful feel to them.”
While farm tables are Cain’s main business, she noted she makes 50 other pieces of furniture as well.
“We do everything.”
Wandering through Gypsy Farmhouse customers will find her statement true enough. Every room is piled high with sideboards, hutches, coffee tables, desks and vanities. She also builds custom kitchen islands, designed to fit any space and can include such custom details as shelves, wine-racks or even a built-in bottle opener.
Cain’s own furniture line, Red Farm Girl Furniture, is made from antique barn wood and old, found objects. Just recently she made a sideboard from the base of an armoire using 1800’s ceiling tin for the top surface and industrial pipe for legs.
If it’s authentic antiques customers are after, Gypsy Farmhouse has that too.
“It’s full of antiques from Amish farms,” she said, pointing to the worktables, cupboards and dry sinks – the type used before running water – hidden among the custom furniture. She also carries tons of architectural pieces from corbles and brackets to windows and shutters.
Cain uses her 30 years experience as an interior decorator to help clients convert cool architectural details into unique pieces of furniture.
“We’re like the idea people here.” If customers can’t find a use for her reclaimed pieces, Cain suggests one. She recommends converting old shutters into sofa tables or using an old window frame for a mirror or as a picture frame. For a headboard Cain shows clients the door. She has tons of them and says old doors make perfect headboards or tables. With a woodworker on site customers can have the door trimmed down into a coffee table, kitchen table or desk the same day.
“Each door is different because it has the original paint and key holes in it,” Cain explained.
As unusual as the tables are, Cain carries another item that’s even more unique. Outhouses. Approaching the store’s entrance from the small parking lot in back, one strolls down a path lined by outhouses. While the outhouses are the largest item Cain carries, they can go unnoticed as the eye is overwhelmed by the bounty of old fences, gates and bird baths scattered about the yard. But passing by an outhouse would be a missed opportunity.
“Gardeners love them as potting sheds,” Cain said, explaining that once outhouses are painted over and adorned with a wreath they make lovely additions to landscapes. The other modern use for outhouses, Cain remarked, is as a poolside cabana. She noted four of her outhouses have found homes right next door in Montclair.
With all that Gypsy Farmhouse has to offer, if customers still can’t find the perfect piece of furniture, Cain will make it. Cain encourages customers to bring in pictures from magazines, and she will reproduce the piece for them.
But it’s doubful customers won’t find a gem among Cain’s finds and creations. Interior design shows certainly have. HGTV recently visited Gypsy Farmhouse for a new series the network is filming called “Mom Caves.” While Cain’s not sure if her store will be featured on the show, she did note the producers bought several pieces. Even if Cain’s store doesn’t make the cut, her store has turned up on other television shows like “Trading Spaces” and the BBC’s “Moving Up.”
But community members don’t need to wait to see Cain on T.V. They can stroll right in and see the goods for themselves.
106 Pompton Ave.