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B'ville: Vintage craftsmanship at its finest

Colonial Keeping Room in Baldwinsville offers a trip back in time for its customers.

Run by Susan and Mark Parla of Fulton, the store sells primitive home furnishings and decorations.

Primitive in this sense means timeworn and from the early American period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, said Susan. Their store is set up to model a home of that time period, and everything in it, from the furniture to the paintings to the iron wrought hardware is for sale. The store, which originally was a house built in the 1950s, even features colonial style doors, feathered-edge paneling and windows.

"This is a very New England look," she said. "When you walk through our door, you could be back 200 years."

Susan said that Mark is the craftsman of the operation. He offers remodeling services to renovate customers' homes into the colonial style. His specialties are primitive kitchens and bathrooms, along with wide-board pine flooring, which Susan said is becoming increasingly rare. The couple has teamed with other craftsmen who specialize in areas such as primitive painted finishes.

Because of the uniqueness and variety of their products, the Parlas travel all over to add to their stock. Susan said they have been to Ohio, Virginia and all over New England seeking out items to sell and other craftsmen.

"We're trying to be everything so you could get it all," she said. "If you like an early colonial or primitive look, we have it, and I think we're unique in that area."

Previously, the Parlas had been running a similar business out of their home in Fulton, but soon outgrew their space. When family was looking to relocate to Baldwinsville, the couple went to visit houses with them and fell in love with the area. Susan cites the unique combination of the village's quaintness and accessibility for their move.

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