Off the hook: Coastal New England Designs’ handcrafted coat hooks have real character
A few years ago, Steve Cook took a trip to Cardiff, Wales, where he noticed that his friend’s beachy home was missing something. “The house had all this nautical décor, but they had no place to hang a towel or jacket,” he explains. When he returned to the states, he started making coat hooks and key holders using boat cleats—the perfect design for a nautically inspired home like the one he visited in Wales—and thus was born Coastal New England Designs.
With Coastal New England Designs, Cook utilizes his designer’s eye to create custom coat hooks, using real stainless steel or bronze cleats. Cook’s creations include aged wood coat hooks as well as polished mahogany hooks for those who prefer a sleeker, more finished style. The racks are perfect for mudrooms or outdoor showers and add a unique rustic look to any room.
Cook also owns a successful design company for remodels, additions and custom builds. Not only can Cook pull from his experiences with construction, he also has the opportunity to come across plenty of rustic wood through his work on older homes across the Cape. “This wood has been aged years and might have some knots on it and character,” he explains. Cook is able to use his imagination to repurpose that historic material into something attractive and functional for the home. The best part is that his designs not only look great but also function well both inside and outside, since the products are hardy enough to stand the test of time and weather.
Old homes aren’t the only place Cook is able to find wood to repurpose. He also spends plenty of time combing the beach for one-of-a-kind pieces of driftwood. The resulting pieces that he creates are rustic, nautical décor with a story to tell. Each piece is different, with its own unique style and history. “Sometimes after a storm there will be a piece of wood washed up, and it could be a piece of wood from a boat. It could be from a building along the shoreline. You don’t know where it drifted from,” says Cook. “It’s all really interesting to look at—the shape and the material.”
For Cook, bringing his designs to life is a fun hobby—whether he’s finishing a gorgeous piece of mahogany or searching through the dunes for that special piece of driftwood. It’s something interesting and different that a purchaser can enjoy for years to come, and it’s easy to feel the passion and creativity he puts into each piece. It radiates from the designs in a way that makes each individual hook fun for his customers as well. “It’s something totally different that somebody might like for their home,” says Cook.
Coastal New England Designs is also a project that Cook’s wife Betsy, a pastel painter, can get involved with, inserting her own creativity and marketing skills into the process to ensure that the company is a true, local family-run business. Just as Cook’s designs are built to last, so too is his company, with products that exude character.