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Good’s Paul Niski Shares a Few of His Favorite Things

The owner of the local boutique talks traveling to Maine, Giorgio Morandi paintings, and more.


Photograph by Cody O’Loughlin

Paul Niski never expected to love New England as much as he does. When he first moved to Boston from New York—by way of Florence, Milan, and Bangkok—in 2000, Niski assumed he’d end up back in Manhattan eventually. But a fateful walk through Beacon Hill the following year changed everything. “At the time, I was feeling fairly peaceful, but restless for the next phase,” says Niski, who’d just returned from a months-long trip to India. “I was walking down Charles Street and saw a ‘For Rent’ sign at number 88, so I just called and took it.” That space, of course, became the first of his beloved Good boutiques, where Niski has been slinging locally made accessories and homewares for the past 17 years. Now, on the heels of relocating his business to new spaces on Charles and Myrtle streets, the shop owner has fallen hard for New England sensibility. “I feel that here, there’s a history of a practical, pure, non-design design aesthetic,” he says. “To me, that includes clean lines and natural color palettes associated with the region’s landscapes: sea, sand, and mountains.” Ahead, Niski shares a few of his favorite things.

Photo by Nate Levesque

COASTAL MAINE

I’ve lived in Boston for 18 years, but I only recently discovered the beauty of Maine. The natural beauty and creative communities along the coast continue to lure me farther north, where there is a pure and common-sense approach to craft, food, and life.

HELVETICA
This Swiss midcentury design was developed 60 years ago and still looks fresh. I use it on our logo and all our typographical extensions: I love the four perfect ovals in our lowercase “good.”

Photo by Timothy Brown/Flickr

LOUIS KAHN’S YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART
Kahn is one of my favorite architects. Never have I experienced such an elegant marriage of New- and Old-World. A majestic combination of space and light creates an ideal setting for viewing art.

© 2018 Artists Rights Society, New York / SIAE, Rome (Natura Morta)

GIORGIO MORANDI PAINTINGS
When I lived in Milan, I visited the Pinacoteca di Brera and discovered the subtle beauty of Morandi’s paintings. Milan changed my design perspective, and the colors and combinations in Morandi’s compositions have followed me through life.

Photo by John Davenport

WABI-SABI
This design philosophy comprises traditional Japanese aesthetic values, including asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, and austerity. I often find beauty in the imperfect. One thing I love in my Myrtle Street shop is a simple garden bench that my grandfather made; it’s a self-designed necessity that shows the wear of time and use, which has made it more beautiful.

ON FILE

What I’m Reading

My partner gave me a copy of Paul Auster’s The Red Notebook after experiencing an unbelievable coincidence. It’s a collection of true stories, each detailing a coincidence that illustrates extraordinary meaningfulness in life.

What I’m Watching

I enjoy immersing myself in one director’s work, lately that of Luca Guadagnino. I just revisited I Am Love, the first film in his “Desire Trilogy.” Tilda Swinton’s performance is brilliant.

What I’m Eating

I’ve been obsessed with perfecting the French omelette. After watching an early episode of The French Chef with Julia Child, I’ve learned that it’s all about pan movement and keeping the eggs fluffy.

What I’m Wearing

I’m a creature of habit and love a uniform. Recently I’ve reinvested in a stack of Lacoste polos, which I’ve been wearing since my teens.

What I’m Buying

I’m at a point in my life where I’m getting rid of more than I’m buying. With that in mind, I still collect midcentury ceramics but have upped my game by focusing solely on New England designers such as Bennington Potters and Andersen Design Studio.