The Urban Farmhouse Has a New Owner
Sarah Allen is putting her stamp on the Bluemont boutique.
Sarah Allen, the newest owner of The Urban Farmhouse in Arlington’s Bluemont neighborhood, likes to joke that she comes “from a long line of very serious shoppers.” In addition to having a mother who adores shopping, Allen has some legitimate ties to the profession.
“My sister was a buyer in New York at big department stores,” says the former lawyer, who refreshed and reopened the shop at the end of January. “My step-grandmother owned a boutique in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when I was little, and I used to love going in there. So I’ve always just wanted to own a shop.”
Last October, that dream finally came within reach when the store’s prior owner, June Tait, announced she was moving to Richmond and selling the beloved boutique located below Covet. Allen considered changing the name—but then realized The Urban Farmhouse was already so close to her vision that doing so seemed unnecessary.
“I’ve always thought of opening a home and gift shop, which is what this is, so I don’t think it would have been terribly different,” says the new proprietor, who lives about 2 miles from the store.
She is making a few inventory tweaks, though. Customers can expect more home décor items, such as throw pillows, rugs and blankets; and she’s leaning on her husband to try and beef up what they call the “dude section,” with things like barware in an effort to attract more male clientele. Plus, the general vibe will now skew in the direction of Allen’s personal style, which she calls classic, functional and “sort of Scandinavian coastal.”
Items range from $1 bumblebee stickers to vintage furniture pieces in the hundreds of dollars. Allen says she aims to keep prices fair and accessible.
“I do think our furniture is priced very well,” she says. “I think that’s part of why people love us. We’re not selling $5,000 antiques. We’re selling well-loved, vintage pieces that will work in any family’s home.”
Allen understands that loyal fans might worry about losing the essence of what made the place special before, but she says the dynamism from seasonality, local artisans and the owner’s perspective is what makes boutique shopping interesting.
“They’re small businesses, so they’re unique,” she says. “You’re going to find things there that you’re not going to find in the big-box shops or even in downtown Clarendon.” //The Urban Farmhouse, 5140 Wilson Blvd., Arlington