“It has often been said that the New World is deficient in the elements of poetry and romance; that its bards must of necessity linger over the classic ruins of other lands; and draw their sketches of character from foreign sources, and paint Nature under the soft beauty of an Eastern sky. On the contrary, New England is full of Romance…we have mountains pillaring a sky as blue as that which bends over classic Olympus; streams as bright and beautiful as those of Greece and Italy, and forests richer and nobler than those which of old were haunted by Sylph and Dryad.”
-John Greenleaf Whittier
English natives Dickie and Gillian Dillon have made a home in New England and are helping others to do the same with their interior design business,
Dillon & Company
The beauty of which John Greenleaf Whittier speaks is one that Dickie (former Wimbledon tennis star) and Gillian Dillon, owners of Plymouth’s one-of-a-kind interior design shop Dillon & Company, know intimately, having uprooted from their beloved homeland of England to settle in the waterside town of Duxbury, Massachusetts. “I just fell in love with New England,” explains Gill about venturing across the pond. “It actually reminds me a lot of home.”
Dickie and Gill’s venture into interior design began 35 years ago, born from a passion for exquisite furniture and perhaps a tinge of homesickness. “I couldn’t find anything in America that spoke to me,” explains Gill about furnishing her home—one with sprawling views of Duxbury Bay and ample lawn space for grandchildren to test who can roll down the hill faster.
“I started importing containers from England of antique English pine furniture which was very on-trend at the time,” she continues. And the rest belongs to history, so to speak. From that moment, Gill realized a vast love for interior design, and even more importantly, a keen eye for clean lines and long-lasting trends. Today, the couples interior design store is stocked with handpicked items imported from all over the world—trips that Gill and Dickie make a point of traveling themselves—and everything is sold right off the floor, meaning that customers can expect rare and unique pieces.
“We’re always looking for furniture and accessories that are timeless,” says Gill, who makes frequent trips to Europe with her husband to source items for the shop as well as two annual trips to the International Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina. In fact, she hasn’t missed a show in about 20 years.
“We like to find as many one-of-a-kind pieces as possible,” she says, “things that you can put in your home and won’t be tired of 10 years later.” In addition, Dickie and Gill stock what they refer to as “bread and butter” pieces, meaning lamps, side tables, ottomans, and the types of transitional furniture that make up the bones of a home. In the end, the shop is a fluid, ever-changing mix of transitional elements and classic style brought together by the Dillon’s fashionable personalities.
It’s common to see a piece off the floor of Dillon & Company make its way into Dickie and Gill’s own home. “I probably need about five homes at this point,” jokes Gill, “because I so often fall in love with pieces from our inventory and absolutely have to bring them home.” Gill describes her own personal style as cozy but not cluttered, with clean, simple lines and antique staple pieces to add some warmth and character. “I like a look of casual elegance,” she says. “I think that while minimalist styles are awesome for a city apartment, New England really lends itself to warm, inviting interiors.” She describes the delicate, muted color palette that she leans toward for New England homes. “The lighting in New England is so beautiful and soft, and I think more natural colors really bring that out. I like to suggest that clients keep the bones of their design—the major pieces—neutral, especially upholstery. Then, have fun with color with vibrant ottomans, ornamental pillows or an intricate painting.”
Gill’s personal favorite pieces in her home right now are a blue painted antique chest and a beautiful French dining table that dates back about 250 years. “I don’t like everything to match too much, so that when you walk through the house you feel like each piece is worth a second look. Everything I put in my house has meaning,” she says. But while her own home is fit for those types of incredible, storied accents, antiques actually make up very little of the overall style of Dillon & Company. “The store focuses very heavily on current interior trends and transitional style,” explains Gill who, through her years of experience, has built relationships with vendors across the globe and spends much of her time reading up on current interior design movements. Dillon & Company offers custom orders as well as design services and works closely with local interior designers—all of which ensures an inventory and expertise that is modern, yet timeless.
“My customers are the part of my job that I love the most,” says Gill. “That, and the shopping,” she laughs. She and Dickie have built an incredible community of New England clients that look to them for everything from design advice to the perfect ottoman to pull together a family room. The couple have created a beautiful life, as well as countless beautiful homes, on a foundation of trust, loyalty, and the distinct ability to listen to their customers and create an environment where they feel comfortable. “We hope that customers enjoy working with us and leave feeling that we’ve truly listened to them,” says Gill. “Just talking to people usually gives us a good sense of their personality and how best to integrate that into a design. It’s all about making people comfortable in their homes.”
Dickie and Gill’s love for New England, for the irreplaceable community they’ve built here across the pond, the lives and homes they have touched, and their own cozy space they have created together, is one to rival even John Greenleaf Whittier’s passion for the region—a palpable tenderness found often throughout the lyrical lines of his poetry. As he once described winter’s grasp on the region:
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below,—
A universe of sky and snow!”
And as the seasons turn from cold to colder, and stalwart New Englanders look expectantly toward the swirling flurries of frigid snow sure to take the place of colorful burnt sienna leaves and crisp autumn sunsets, it will be from a place of comfort. Cozy by the roaring fireplace while seated on a custom-upholstered sofa or perched on a stately chair at the head of a one-of-a-kind dining table, clients can give thanks to the heart-warming passion of Dillon & Company and Dickie and Gill’s unparalleled zeal and expertise.
For more information visit dillonandcompany.com or check out their showroom in Plymouth at 8 North Street.
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