Designs for two new Main Street businesses were reviewed this week by the Architectural Review Board and Historic District Commission: At left, a drawing of new storefront for the Faherty clothing store at 26 Main St., and at right, a pavilion envisioned as part of renovations to the building at 190 Main St., where a new restaurant is planned by owners of Nômade.
Designs for two new Main Street businesses were reviewed this week by the Architectural Review Board and Historic District Commission: At left, a drawing of new storefront for the Faherty clothing store at 26 Main St., and at right, a pavilion envisioned as part of renovations to the building at 190 Main St., where a new restaurant is planned by owners of Nômade.

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Two additions to historic Main Street — a New York-based clothing store and the second location of a popular downtown restaurant — are in the works.

Plans for Faherty, a family-owned clothing brand for men and women, and a second, smaller version of Nômade restaurant, both were reviewed at a joint meeting of the Historic District Commission and Architectural Review Board earlier this week.

The panels also enacted a new rule for the appearance of Main Street storefronts, requiring that peel-off decals and signs on windows in place more than 30 days go through the same approval process as any business signs installed at downtown businesses.

The scene at 26 Main St., where a Faherty clothing store will open between the Timothy Oulton store and Clarendon Gallery. 

Faherty clothing store

The Faherty brand, a clothing business started by two brothers according to the Faherty website, has eight stores in New York City and one in Greenwich. 

The Westport store, at 26 Main St., will occupy the space where the clothing boutique Unsubscribed previously was located, between Timothy Oulton and Clarendon Gallery. Unsubscribed moved to 33 Elm St. in December.

Primary changes to the store’s exterior, which were reviewed by both town boards, include the addition of paneling to the storefront and replacement of an exterior glass door, which Historic District Commission member Scott Springer called “an appropriate solution.” 

The new clothing store’s plans were unanimously supported by members of both panels. 

They also complimented Javier de la Garza, the architect presenting the Faherty plans, for hand-painted lettering on the front panels and other aspects of the new design for the front of the building.

More review for a second Nômade

Extensive renovations are planned for a building at 190 Main St., which is to become a second location for Nômade restaurant, which opened in August 2022 at 150 Main St. 

The building has been vacant since the 190 Main restaurant closed there in March 2023.

A photo of the former 190 Main restaurant, which closed about a year ago and where a second Nômade restaurant is now being planned.

At Tuesday’s joint meeting, the Nômade plans for adding two dormers to the structure’s second floor to expand the kitchen and a vaulted outside pavilion for diners, were detailed. 

The kitchen will be remodeled to comply with current health-code regulations and other changes are being made to upgrade the condition of the building, not to enlarge it, officials were told.

The plan for the outside pavilion drew comments from board members, who said they like what they called the relaxed atmosphere it would create, but there were concerns about the size of the structure.

“It’s fun looking,” Springer said. “It’s wonderful that something is being done with this part of Main Street.”

Grayson Braun, chair of the Historic District Commission, said she was concerned the façade, as proposed, might obscure the street-side view of the Westport Museum of History and Culture on Avery Place, behind the 190 Main St. property. “I think it’s a beautiful design, but am concerned about the overall size,” she said. 

The boards decided not to vote on the new Nômade proposal, asking the applicant to return with plans reducing the size and scale of the outdoor structures and main building.

Tighter controls on window decals, signs

On another topic, Ward French, chair of the Architectural Review Board, wanted to discuss what he called the proliferation of peel-off plastic decals and signs being applied to windows of Westport businesses. 

The tattoo studio Rebel & Rose, a women-owned business at 155 Post Road East, for example, recently displayed a large decal, Braun reported.

“I’m worried about the proliferation — it cheapens everything in town when you see them all around town,” French said. “It becomes a very stark feature … Window decals can change the whole look of a building.”

He recommended that paste-on window decals and signs come under the purview of the Architectural Review Board and Historic District Commission. 

Springer noted that decals are translucent, but not transparent, which diminishes the appearance of a building’s façade and is a detriment in a historic district.

To address the proliferation of decals and signs affixed to windows, the boards’ members decided to require review of any peel-off emblems in place longer than 30 days. That would allow for seasonal or sale notices, but not permanent fixtures.

The review process for permanent decals would be subject to the town’s regulations for any signs in a historic district, according to Donna Douglass, Historic District Commission coordinator.

Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman and has taught journalism at New York and Southern Connecticut State universities.