Scott Hill Toes the Line Between Preppydom and Tatters

Scott Hill started his career in the art and music scenes, working at galleries and playing guitar and keyboard with his band, the Heroine Sheiks. He took on freelance carpentry and lighting gigs building the retail windows for Ralph Lauren, and rose through the ranks to become the brand’s director of creative resourcing and design (he also currently designs window displays for Gant and the Metropolitan Opera shop). After years dressing windows for Ralph Lauren, he detoured in 2004 to launch his own home-design store in upstate New York, Old Village Hall. This winter, he opened a second location in the East Village (170 E. 2nd St., nr. Avenue A; 212-677-7307), selling everything from reupholstered furniture and screen-printed pillows to deer antlers and vintage toy soldiers. We sat down with the artistically minded shop owner to talk about his affinity for tattered sofas, unwashed jeans, and classic cars.

How would you describe the stock at Old Village Hall?
I screen-print fabrics and I reupholster vintage furniture. I like to mix antiques and vintage objects with newer things, like candles and style books. I have this dinky shop in the East Village, but I imagine stocking things for all these different rooms.

Where do you find all the vintage objects?
I spend a lot of time in upstate New York, so I’m always scouring the world of the Catskills, whether it’s on the side of the road or at an auction.

Who are your favorite designers?
I like Japanese denim guys like 45rpm and Kapital.

What’s the first designer item you bought?
My first designer item was passed down from my dad. I used to wear his old Alden penny loafers and skinny striped ties.

Where do you like to shop in New York?
I like some of the vintage places, like Paula Rubenstein and Melet Mercantile. I don’t buy a lot of clothing — I like old stuff. I buy Levi’s and don’t wash them until they fall off my body.

How would you describe your personal style?
I’m a bit tattered, like an old sofa. I work in this world of preppydom, but I don’t really wear those clothes; they look weird on me. I look more like someone who’s stuck in the seventies, a long-haired hippie kind of guy. People have said that I look like a salt miner — I have these ripped-up denim coats.

How do you identify with the styles of Ralph Lauren or Gant?
I was turned on to classic clothes by my dad, and I grew up playing golf, so I was always intrigued by the country-club culture. It’s not my personal path, but it continues to be a source of inspiration.

What trends are you appreciating right now?
I’m treading the dark nostalgia trend. It’s not about being old; it’s about using the past to make something modern.

What’s one item you’re saving to buy?
I’d like a new chainsaw. I make these chainsaw sculptures out of logs, and my old one is falling apart. I also want a vintage Mercedes. I’ve had two in the past and they both fell apart on me.

What should every guy have in his closet?
Good rain boots, like Muck Boots. I also like Blundstone boots for the city, this Australian worker-boot company.

What’s something you never leave the house without?
A lighter. You never know when you might need to light something.

Old Village Hall, 170 E. 2nd St., nr. Avenue A; 212-677-7307.

Scott Hill Toes the Line Between Preppydom and Tatters