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daacDesigns owners at home on Bay View St.

By Susan Mustapich | Jun 12, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich daacDESIGNS owners Rene Mathews and Daniel Neumann, are at home with blending vintage and new furnishings, fabrics and functional pieces.

CAMDEN — daacDESIGNS on Bay View Street features unique hand-crafted and vintage items for the home in creative collections that make the store a fun place to explore.

Owners Rene Mathews and Daniel Neumann enjoy collecting antiques, artwork and pieces for the home, and have relocated from Florida, to make Maine their year-round home and business location. They opened their Bay View Street store last year, and are in the process of bringing all of their inventory up to the Camden location

They buy things they like and grew up with, Mathews said, and look for pieces that are one-off, or something people may not have seen in a while. Nautical, seaside and local scenes feature in a number of the store's stylish vignettes. A large array of oyster plates, spans a century, from white china from the early 1900s, and to a colorful collection from the 1960s and 70s. A wall display of framed linoleum prints by U.S. Navy Admiral Jack F. Bowling depict interior scenes within the USS Constitution, a naval ship named by George Washington. In another corner of the store, painter Pat Nelson's images of Belted Galloways draw the eye to a collection of vintage furniture and glassware. Barware, white stoneware, yellowware, once a popular household item, and other collections are featured throughout the store.

Mathews brings crafted designs to the store, finding fabrics from around the world for  unique pillows and cushions, which she also uses to refresh vintage rattan furniture she loves to collect. The rattan is complemented by sets and single pieces throughout the store, including a woven bar tray with glass and pitcher holders, runners made by Cactus Silk, and baskets, some with colorful tassels and designs. Shells, vintage glass, and beads add color to the seasonal theme.

Neumann, a life-long artist, shows some of his large paintings at daacDESIGNS, including several from his "Drop of Life" series, which blend representational images with abstractions. Another of his large paintings captures the sunlight warming the red board exterior of the Rockport Marine building on Rockport Harbor.

Home has been a theme for Mathews and Neumann. It inspired the name of their business, "daacDESIGNS," and a habit of collecting pieces for their Maine home, years before they bought it. Years ago, when they were out with friends or family, and needed to head home, Mathews would say, "we have a dog and a couch waiting for us."

"So that became our code word for home," she said. When they opened their first home decor store in Florida, a few years ago, they decided to name it "dog and a couch" or "daac."

They started vacationing in Maine, in 2002. Afterwards they would find things, and say they were for their Maine house, though they didn't have one yet. This led to a collection they began storing in a warehouse unit. In 2012, when they bought and renovated a home in Maine, they hauled up everything from their years of shopping.

"It was like Christmas," Mathews said. "We were unpacking things we hadn't seen in years."

They filled the house, and had more than they could use, and decided to open a daacDESIGNS in Camden.

Originally the idea was to go back and forth with the seasons, from Florida to Maine. Neumann was running the Florida store, and Rene, who is an engineer, had her retirement in sight. Last year was the first she had more time to dive into their business, and they opened up on Bay View Street in May.

They had a terrific summer, and instead of leaving for Florida in October, they decided to stay open until the holidays, Mathews said. Then they decided they didn't want to go back to Florida, and to instead have one home, and one store, in Maine.

daacDESIGNS is located at 49 Bay View Street in Camden.

For more information, email or call 561-202-8718.

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