Local fans of Alison Evans’ sea-inspired ceramics no doubt noticed some big changes at Ae Home last June and throughout summer. The business began diversifying in linen and cashmere clothing, home furnishings from sofas to tables and lamps; unscented, no-drip candles, candlesticks, mirrors and more.
And it had been part of the plan since Evans and husband Chris Fritz bought the building that houses Ae Home at 93 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor.
“We knew we wanted to grow it into a home store; we wanted to keep it interesting for the public and us and bring in more gift items and home decor,” said Evans. “But we had planned to do it organically, as we found items we liked and were a good fit for the store.”
The expansion plans were accelerated when Evans and Fritz’s friend Lisa Wilde told them she was interested in offering her interior design services in Boothbay Harbor and asked if they would be interested in carrying her line of upholstered furnishings, and provide Wilde with an office space at Ae Home. Wilde’s business, Wilde Design Home, has been based in Farmington, Connecticut since 1989.
“We agreed,” Evans said. “We have been pushing ourselves out of our working space in the store and knew we needed more space for the pottery.”
After the Ae Ceramics store in Yarmouth sold last January, the need for a larger, more efficient production space with storage became paramount.
And last spring, they found that space at 132 Ocean Point Road in East Boothbay. Evans and Fritz have been working on the Ae Home Production warehouse most of the year. Renovations have included new insulation and heating – both completed – but there is still quite a bit left to do.
Because the Yarmouth store had been where pottery seconds flew out the door, and to let everyone see what they’d been up to, Evans decided to hold a Seconds Sale at the warehouse on Sunday, Dec. 8.
Seconds have slight imperfections and cannot be shipped to wholesale customers. “There may be a small bubble in the glaze, or if the glaze is slightly different one way or another way ... or sometimes there’s a craze in the glaze (a very fine crack in the glaze surface), but the pieces are still completely functional,” Evans said. “I end up having a lot of seconds and there isn’t space here (93 Townsend) to store them.”
Before the progress on the warehouse reached the point it’s at now, Evans has been storing pottery and other items here and there. One space is her parents’ garage in East Boothbay, where it all began for Evansas her first pottery studio space.
The seconds sale will include a little of everything in the Evans line: Round plates, sea urchin bowls and platters, clam bowls … to be sold at incredible prices. For example, an Alison Evans plate that would normally sell for $95 sold for $30 during the sale.
Evans plans a second seconds sale in the spring.
The Ae Home production studio will be in one half of the two-story warehouse and the other half will be for storage and receiving. Evans said 99 percent of the pottery will be made there. Eventually, Evans and Fritz plan to open up some of the storage area to others who need a place for freight delivery or need more storage space.
While production is going on in the new studio, Evans will use Ae Home Store for design work. Time for that has been temporarily stilled during this year of huge growth and expansion.
“I think it’s exciting we have all of these other offerings,” said Evans. “I wouldn’t have gone down this road without a pro like Lisa in the field who can teach me how it all works. We’ve also been on a couple of buying trips with her. There is so much out there. Deciding what is unique and is a good fit for our store has been interesting!”
Wilde’s designs are high end – manufactured by Lee and CR Lane. Every chair, every sofa can be ordered in a choice of fabric and the options are plentiful and beautiful, patterns and solids in an array of colors.
Since the addition of home furnishings and décor accents, a few pieces have been sold. “It’s not like you buy a couch every day,” Evans said. “Many people have come in and said they just bought one or that it’s good to have a place to buy furniture in town.”
Irene Gerney stopped by during Boothbay Register’s interview and couldn’t say enough wonderful things about Ae Home. “It’s the first time I’ve been in here and … it’s just so beautiful! I co-chair the Garden Club home and garden tour. This (space) is like walking into a model house on the tour. You’ve opened it up to be modern, but not too modern. If this was a house, we would definitely want it on the tour.”
Visit for yourself and join in the complimentary chorus. Ae Home hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday.
For more information and to keep up with the Evans-Fritz business, visit www.aehomestore.com