Photograph: Gloster Furniture

Psst…it’s safe to come out. The weather in New England is fine, and very few pleasures beat the moments  spent with friends and family on the back patio, either poolside or up on the deck with that gorgeous view you paid a mint for to have as a backdrop. Patio.com supplies the chairs, tables and accessories that make lounging and parties more comfortable. Choose teak, wicker, iron—the styles vary to suit every taste and need. Founded in 1984 by Westporters, the shop and online site offer choices that will have you relaxing in moments.

600 East Putnam Ave., Greenwich, 203-869-3084 58 Largo Dr., Stamford, 203-353-9663
919 Post Rd. E., Westport, 203-222-1620
See other locations at patio.com


Lillian August

Photograph: Julie Bidewell

Shoppers at Lillian August have only one choice: good style. But each shopper can define what that style is, because there are numerous collections, each with a personality that is vibrant. Go traditional or urban chic or country farmhouse—or a combination thereof if you’re a mix master. It’s your home, and Lillian August is the local destination to help fill it with furniture and décor that tells your story. Sofas, chairs, tables, lighting, vases, artwork, rugs and more, including outdoor furniture. Turn to the store’s top-notch interior design services to help you pull together your favorite pieces, fabrics and colors. The flagship Norwalk store is enormous and invigorating—have a good time shopping.

26 East Putnam Ave., Greenwich, 203-489-3740
32 Knight St., Norwalk, 203-847-3314
85 Water St., South Norwalk (outlet), 203-838-0153



You try to be so good, but every once in awhile you just have to splurge—maybe it’s a throw pillow or a pretty tray that you just know your guests will compliment. Join your fellow Gold Coast shoppers and home lovers at Splurge in Greenwich. The shop has items from Julia Knight, Mariposa, Beatriz Ball and more. You know the power of one little addition to a home, the final touch. Splurge is devoted to finding the best pieces from which to choose. This is a gift shop, too, so treat a friend, treat yourself.

39 Lewis St., Greenwich, 203-869-7600; splurgegifts.com


Crate & Barrel

Stylish kitchenware, furniture, dinnerware, outdoor lighting and more at the fresh and contemporary-leaning Crate & Barrel. Reimagine a seating area to kick back after a long day or a chic new dining room set to entertain close friends long into the night. Gold Coasters’ pick for top contemporary furnishings has all the house trimmings—pillows, candles, dishes, frames, vases, lighting, etc.—that complete a look to fit your lifestyle and reflect your personal flair.

1200 Post Rd. E., Westport, 203-222-9500; crateandbarrel.com


United House Wrecking

Fuel up, home shoppers—you’re headed to the hunting grounds that is United House Wrecking.  What began in 1954 as a humble demolition company is now a treasure trove of furniture, architectural salvage, lighting fixtures and garden statuary that are well short of their prime. Craving something completely unique? You’re in the right place, because you’ll never be quite sure what you’ll find among the more than two acres of displayed items. High-end or entry-level, the price points cover the whole scale, as is the case with styles—traditional next to contemporary next to downright unusual but amusing statement pieces. Ready, set, go shopping.

535 Hope St., Stamford, 203-348-5371; unitedhousewrecking.com



Next time you’re abroad, enjoy the scenery and adorable shops. If you spy a little something—from an accent table to decorative statuary to flashy mirror or sedate and cozy throw—leave it be, because Sarah Kaplan has something even better. She’s the owner of Dovecote—a home decor and jewelry boutique in Westport—and Gold Coast design-minded homeowners are accustomed to finding unique furnishing there. The arrangements in the store exhibit the appeal of mixing vintage and contemporary and global influences in a fresh, modern way.

56 Post Rd. E., Westport, 203-222-7500; dovecote-westport.com


Safavieh Home Furnishings

Ralph Lauren, Christopher Guy, Tracey Boyd, Jean-Louis Deniot. We suspect we have your attention now. Such designer lines are all found at Safavieh. While the store has a huge selection of furnishings, from sofas to chandeliers, by name-drop-worthy brands, the rugs are scene-stealers in their own right. They come in every style, including traditional, vintage and contemporary—and all are high quality to last for years. Consider a transitional rug, which revives traditional looks with vibrant colors and finishes for a twist today’s homeowners crave.

230 Atlantic St., Stamford, 203-327-4800; safaviehhome.com


The Linen Shop

Setting the dining room table for a holiday meal, setting out pretty guest towels, even the daily shower or slipping into bed after a long day are regular events that are elevated to a mindful ritual when you indulge in the luxury of high-quality linens. The Linen Shop knows that something utilitarian becomes pampering with fine fabrics for table, bath and bed. The luxury linens and home furnishings at this bright and airy forty-three-year-old boutique in New Canaan are the best of the best. Selections from here make every day special.

21 Elm St., New Canaan, 203-972-0433; thelinenshopct.com


Hoagland’s of Greenwich

Eighty years ago, in 1937, Hoagland’s opened its doors and embarked on a journey to become an indispensable part of Greenwich. Through the years, the store has served as the place for engaged couples to select their china, as well as a destination for anyone who likes to entertain at home in style. Perhaps a traditional family pattern for lovebirds just starting out, and a return visit in a few years for a second set of china with a contemporary flair for confident hosts and hostesses. Hoagland’s has a range of styles and expert advice to make a selection.

175 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, 203-869-2127; hoaglands.com



What would we do without home appliances? Dishwasher, grill, refrigerator, dryer and air conditioner, and on and on—our homes run on them every single day. And these days, appliances are getting as much design attention as furniture and home accessories. Consider the options at Aitoro. This local family-owned store has the brands—such as Sub-Zero, Wolf, Bosch, Whirlpool and Sony—that outfit the best homes in Fairfield County. The selection is huge for every room and every budget, to not only keep your home running like a well-oiled machine, but also a daily pleasure (check out the TVs).

401 Westport Ave., Norwalk, 203-847-2471; aitoro.com


McArdle’s Florist & Garden Center

The power of flowers is astonishing. They make joyous occasions that much more special, and somber ones more bearable. With their natural beauty and fragrance, flowers have a way of affecting us, and no one understands that better than McArdle’s. The flower shop and garden center create arrangements that perfectly suit the occasion—whether for celebrations, remembrances, or expression of love and gratitude. McArdle’s offers expert advice.

48 Arch St., Greenwich, 203-661-5600; mcardles.com


Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses

Sam Bridge Nursery was founded on forty-eight acres that, since 1686, have been used only for agriculture. From this fertile soil burst forward lush plants, bushes, grasses, flowering trees and more. Walk the grounds to enjoy a relaxing shopping experience that feels like a garden tour. After, head inside the nursery to choose from a wide selection of plants and gardening extras, including pots, hangers, work gloves, decor, hoses and essential tools. Creating beauty may be natural, but it also takes work and experience—something the pros at Sam Bridge know.

437 North St., Greenwich, 203-869-3418; sambridge.com


Hoyt Livery

Perhaps it has escaped your notice, but some people in Fairfield County and beyond have been complaining about distracted drivers. Something to do with texting… Anyway, you certainly don’t have to choose between your phone and driving a car—call Hoyt Livery. Sit back and relax while someone else takes the wheel and gets you to the airport, the office or your home after a night out. You’ll be safe and on time, and, who knows, maybe get extra work done.

21 Cross St., New Canaan, 203-966-5466; hoytlivery.com


Westy Self Storage

Which comes first: stress or clutter? Our experience says that where there is one, there is the other. So, it follows that if you move all those wonderful things that you simply can’t live without to a Westy Self Storage unit, you will notice a decrease in your blood pressure. When you desperately want that extra “thingamabob,” you can just go get it. Westy is a longtime winner in this category, for its ease, multiple locations, cleanliness and customer service, which also decreases your stress level.

80 Brownhouse Rd., Stamford
50 Keeler Ave., Norwalk
65 Danbury Rd., Wilton
2070 Kings Hwy., Fairfield


Pray Body Shop

You did your best to zig and zag, and yet that bad driver still found a way to hit your car. It may wreck your day, but it doesn’t have to damage your car permanently. Make your way over to Pray Body Shop, a family-owned and -operated auto-collision repair shop that works on all makes and models. Since 1982 Pray has been listening to your pleas to fix the car and repair damage from fender benders as well as annoying dings. The car returns to you polished to perfection.

336 Elm St., Stamford, 203-359-3025; praybodyshop.com


Splash Car Wash

Once cars started to become individualized, in small and major ways, people started to notice (read: judge) one another’s vehicles. Sorry, but it’s kind of true. So you can keep your car’s reflection of your good taste and attention to detail true by pulling into one of the nearby Splash Car Wash locations. Opt for a quick wash or go for the complete package, “The Works,” for a wash and all the extras. Taking care of your car goes beyond tune-ups; it’s also how you drive it and where you go for regular washes.

1-888-697-7527, see all locations at splashcarwashes.com


Sugar & Olives

If you’re a foodie, you’ve been to Sugar & Olives. It was the number of Best Of votes that gave you away. You know, then, that this place is a popular eatery, private venue space and just about anything you need, provided it has to do with good food. Being a fan of the place, you probably also know that you can learn its culinary secrets with a cooking class. Relaxed and very friendly, with a secret ingredient (good humor!), the environment is ideal for home cooks who want to add zing to their culinary skills.

21 Lois St., Norwalk, 203-454-3663;  sugarandolives.com


Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning

Well, Gold Coasters, consider us impressed. When you choose a personal chef you shoot high: Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning. You can hire the accomplished team to cater any event, of course, but did you know that they will make for your ready-to-serve dishes that are delivered right to your door? Just order online. Of course, you’re preparing to polish your cooking skills, but, it’s wise to have an emergency back-up plan, trust us.

65 Research Dr., Stamford, 203-353-8000; marciaselden.com


Fabricare Cleaners

Whether it’s your investment piece or a favorite shirt, some clothing is special. So when you bring it to the cleaners, it shouldn’t feel like you’re holding your breath, throwing the dice and hoping everything will be OK. You should know you’re handing off your clothing to a pro. Such is the case with Fabricare Cleaners. Our Gold Coasters don’t just bet on it, they voted on it. Plus, Fabricare Cleaners delivers.

312 Heights Rd., Noroton Heights, Darien, 203-655-3381
5 Holmes St., Norwalk, 203-229-0001
2130 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-256-2725