Lorin Hesse is an artist and owner of Be Modern, a specialty boutique that sells Mid Century Danish Modern furniture, vintage fine art, ceramics, lights and textiles. The store front stands out on South Main Street in Ipswich, which is known for its impressive collection of antique homes, and the breath-taking Crane Beach.
Hesse has lived in Ipswich for 20 years, and her love affair with Danish design started when she attended school in Denmark as a teen. “The clean lines of Modernism blend with the Danish concept of “hygge,” which means cozy, comfy, satisfying, and inviting. The uncomplicated organic designs, together with the materials used, really satisfies the desire many of us have for furnishings with comfy-coziness and modern beauty,” she explains.
In the beginning, Hesse would visit Denmark two to three times a year, scouring estate sales, flea markets and second-hand shops to find the perfect item. Now, she says “most of it finds me!”
I confess, there is something intimidating about purchasing mid-century furniture for an antique home. Lorin admits that at first she worried the furniture would not be embraced locally but, “good design is good design,” she says. And, she encourages, think outside the box. Perhaps start with a sideboard, dining room table or just a few chairs. “Matching everything is overrated. Live with things that make you feel good – that you can love and relax with.”
Over the past four years since opening the store front, several new retail shops have moved in to Ipswich’s downtown. She mentions Anntiques, just a few doors down from her own shop, as a new favorite. And if you visit and are looking for something to eat, Salt Kitchen and Rum Bar or Ithaki are tops on Lorin’s list. For the lover of the great outdoors, don’t forget to stop at the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary on your way out-of-town. Bring birdseed, and marvel as chickadees, titmouse and finches land in your hand to eat.
And of course, we asked Lorin our favorite question, what are you grateful for, “I feel like there are few people who really seem to love what they do. I’m grateful that my friend and ex, Carl, supported me in building my own business back in the beginning. I’m grateful that my boyfriend, Rob, goes to work with me every day. I’m grateful I have an assistant, Jess, who I can *always* count on to hold down the fort when I’m traveling. Because of them, I get to do what I love, at a pace that I love, and on my own terms.”