It’s likely that one may be greeted with coffee, waffles, even a pork roast, and the warmth of a wood burning stove when stopping in at the Frayed Knot, a vintage store that is distinctly the opposite of your grandmother’s favorite antique shop.
“We try to give people here what they are looking for,” said Tad Eaton, one of the shop’s co-owners. “It’s no accident that the store has the stuff it has in it.”
Eaton’s partner Chris Morelli has a background in design, but it wasn’t until moving to the Mile Square that the pair discovered a love for recreating found furniture.
Hoboken became home for the duo almost by accident. Morelli had been a textile designer for 17 years before venturing in a new direction and opening up a restaurant in New York City. When he decided to sell that business, Eaton helped him, but never planned to open up a vintage store. He was then attending Columbia to advance his education as a litigations consultant when a bread van struck him and forced him to quit what he was doing.
After moving to Madison Avenue in Hoboken, they started to rehab found furniture and sell it on Craigslist. That grew from working out of their landlord’s basement, to working out of a two-car garage, and then renting a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Union City before finding their present location which the pair opened in the spring 2008.
“Now we do everything ourselves,” said Morelli. “People come to us and sell us stuff, we look for pieces we can make our own.”
Located at 601 Newark St. in the building that once served as the Hoboken Police Department’s horse stables, one will find vintage items that are one of a kind, from totem poles to updated 1950s furniture that has been reupholstered with funky prints like snakeskin. It’s a mixture between found treasure and fresh design.
Part of the experience for browsers is the conversation. Each piece you see has a story – a story that Eaton is happy to share.
Over the years they have had some unique finds, such as a huge 300-year-old Torah box that Eaton found.
“It was in pieces, I didn’t even know what it was when I came across it,” he said. “I had to put it all back together and polish it up. It was magnificent.”
Eventually, the two would like to find a second location and open up a coffee shop that would serve Paninis and feature more of their high-end pieces. They also hope to work with more designers in the future.
“I honestly eat, sleep and drink this, I really do,” said Eaton. “When people ask me what I do for fun, this is it. To find an old chair, to funk it out and paint it and design it and totally come up with a new concept, to me that is fun.”
Morelli agreed, saying that their business has become their life. He also said that the reason they live and work in Hoboken is because it is “fantastic.”
“It is a beautiful place, who wouldn’t want to be here?” asked Morelli.
The shop itself has been a location for television shows and recently Morelli and Eaton were featured on HGTV’s “Home by Novogratz,” in which they helped design a Hoboken apartment.
“We’d like our own show,” said Morelli. “Everybody else has one and I think we are as great as a lot of those other shows or better. That would be the ultimate.”