Interior Design Firm Fast-Tracks Move to Charles Street

Jeff and Joan Grady had originally not planned on opening the second location of J. Grady Home, their full-service interior design firm and studio, for another six months to a year, but when they saw the retail renaissance now happening on Charles Street for themselves, and then the ideal space for them opened up at 133 Charles St., it was an opportunity they knew they couldn’t pass up.

“We got started and got some traction a little earlier than expected, but our long-term goal was always to have a presence in Boston, so Charles Street and Beacon Hill made sense,” Jeff said. “We thought now might be the time to take a leap. As we started looking at spaces, a couple stood out. Certainly, this one did.”

Joan added, “We were optimistic, knowing that the pandemic wouldn’t last forever, and as things are coming back, we saw an opportunity to jump in.”

Encouraged by the success of their original location in Annisquam, which opened in June of 2019, Joan soon set her sights on Beacon Hill when they started looking to open a second outpost.

“I always loved Beacon Hill,” she said, “and felt like it would be a really good fit for us as we were looking to expand.”

Joan had lived in a home she owned at the top of Pinckney Street before she and Jeff were married in 1995, and since then, she said, they both “have felt a connection with Beacon Hill and Charles Street.”

Joan also said she has always loved to shop on Charles Street and had patronized the two business that previously occupied 133 Charles St. – Ouimillie, where she used to buy clothing for her three daughters, and before that, good, where she would source products for J. Grady. (The business has also regularly sourced items from Linens on the Hill at 52 Charles St., she said.)

While J. Grady Home’s Annisquam location offers retail seasonally from about May through October, as well as through the holiday season, it’s a much smaller space than on Charles Street, which dedicates the entire front of the store to retail. So, when the Gradys wanted to find someone with the experience to handle this expanded operation, they hired Waldo Gibson as the store manager.

“We were lucky to get Waldo because we couldn’t have done this without him,” said Joan, who has known Gibson for about the past five years after meeting him while she was shopping on Charles Street. “I have some retail experience, but not like he does,” she added.

A South End resident, Gibson previously worked at E.R. Butler & Co. at 38 Charles St., but when the opportunity at J. Grady Home arose, he said he “decided to move to the other side of Charles Street.” An architect by trade, he also ran his own interior design firm for 15 years in Northern California, so this latest opportunity, said Gibson, “is more in my wheelhouse.”

Gibson, who is also handling all custom orders for retail pieces, including upholstery and casegoods (i.e. furniture), has been receiving three to four shipments of new retail goods each week. An order of highly sought-after Swedish vinyl rugs was recently delivered (which can also be ordered from the store in any size), as was a shipment of hand-blown glassware, including wine decanters, glasses and pitchers, among other items – all made in Essex, Mass.,

Some of the retail goods now arriving at the store were ordered in March, said Joan, such as a shipment from England, or some baskets from North Carolina that aren’t expected to arrive until next month. “We sell things we like, or are on brand and reflect our tastes and what we represent and vice versa,” said Jeff.

And so far, the neighborhood’s response has been very encouraging for the Gradys.

“People coming in are excited to see a home goods store on Charles Street, and the response we’ve gotten has been really positive,” said Joan on July 6 – exactly one week after the store’s soft opening. “People are happy we have color -people like to see color because is optimistic – and people like the mix [of items for sale].”

Likewise, the Gradys are thrilled to have expanded to Charles Street.

“We’re really excited to be here, and we want to be part of the community,” Jeff said.

J. Grady on Charles Street is now open Monday to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the studio in back should be “rocking by early August,” Jeff said.

For more information, visit www.jgradyhome.com, or call the 133 Charles St. location at 857-277-1133.

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