FIELD TRIP- June 2012 – Rokai
BY VERONIQUE MCAREE | PHOTOGRAPHY AMANDA KOWALSKI
Rockport is known for its boatbuilding, historic lime kilns, cultural destinations, the famed Andre the Seal, and the Belted Galloway cattle at Aldermere Farm, among other things. Yet historically, the town has left shopping and style scouting to the neighboring towns of Camden and Rockland. But Rockport is changing. And now, on Main Street, the new and highly stylish shop Rokai—meticulously curated by interior designer Deborah Chatfield—is setting a new bar for style destinations.
Louisiana native and design-school grad, Chatfield has had her work featured in numerous magazines and blogs, and she’s made a name for herself as one of Maine’s most sought-after designers. Although her style is often described as classic with innovative touches, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that she is a brilliant design mixologist who blends styles, eras, fabrics, and textures to create a stunning signature look.
Today (drumroll, please), clients, tourists, residents, and day-trippers can experience a touch of her style at Rokai. The shop is stocked with so many lovely treasures—“uncommon luxuries,” as Chatfield calls them—that it’s difficult to walk even two steps without oohing and ahhing over another fascinating object.
Chatfield sells the work of local artisans while also showcasing beautiful objects, both vintage and new, from around the world. Take the contemporary paintings of local artist Scott Davis, whose work hangs in the Guggenheim and the Farnsworth Art Museum, among others, or the handcrafted, almost otherworldly, Canadian dolls that immediately caught my eye.
It was also delightful to discover the copper kitchenware collection of Virginia Tuttle, whose sharp curatorial eye (she’s a former curator with the National Gallery of Art) is evident in the gorgeous selection. The antique pots glow against the more subdued furniture and accessories.
Prints, decoupage plates, art, leather journals, vintage flash cards, and even an exquisitely framed Tibetan pouch—it’s all here. Every item is selected as much for its uniqueness as for its beauty. And—perhaps the best part—most items would fit well into any style of home.
“The foundation for Rokai comes from my love of interiors, art, French style, and uncommon luxuries,” says Chatfield, who adds that the name of the shop derives from the French word rococo, the name for a style that was the rage in France during the reign of Louis XV and which refers to the use of stones (rocaille), shells (coquilles), and decorative asymmetry.
Rokai is not only a great spot to find gifts and furnishings, but the shop has become a part of Chatfield’s design process by helping her ignite her clients’ imaginations. And for those needing even more inspiration, Chatfield’s design studio is around the corner on Central Street. Design challenges welcomed.
1. Deborah Chatfield at her new shop, Rokai.
2. Decorative zebras lend graphic flair to a display.
3. A rabbit block print becomes the focal point of this lovely linen pillow.
4. A French bookcase filled with “uncommon luxuries.”
5. Antiques yes, but you’ll also find beautifully packaged soaps and other small gift ideas.
6. Whimsical flash cards double as art.
7. Vintage signs, tabletop items, and treasures galore make the Rockport shop a great destination.