The Dapper Dwelling Elevates Homemaking to an Art
One of my favorite Instagram pages, As We Live and Eat, captured The Dapper Dwelling perfectly when they compared it to the fictitious — but dead stylish — Rose Apothecary on TV’s Schitt’s Creek.
The modern-day general store in Omaha’s Countryside Village shares a lovely, spare aesthetic with its make-believe Canadian counterpart, and even sells a similar type of thoughtfully-produced, small-batch product (though you won’t find any cat hair scarves here). But the inspiration actually comes more from a different television era. “I grew up in South Dakota watching Little House on the Prairie,” says Brooke Keele, who opened The Dapper Dwelling in December, 2018. “I wanted a store that was like Olsen’s Mercantile: a trusted place, where I knew my customers’ names and people could come together and build connections.”
Strengthening these human connections became even more important to Brooke four years ago when first her mother, and then her beloved aunt, were diagnosed with cancer. She was already on the road all the time with a demanding job in medical sales, and the many trips she took to South Dakota during their illnesses gave her time to really evaluate what mattered. When she lost both women within two months of each other, she resolved to open a business that encouraged people to spend more time at home with their loved ones, cooking together, sharing meals and passing down treasured heirlooms like wooden spoons and enamel Dutch ovens.
But, first, she had to work. Brooke, who put herself through college by working on a South Dakota road crew, and her husband are committed to being debt-free and it’s important to them that their two young daughters see them working for everything they have. “The whole family has been involved from the very beginning,” Brooke says. “They helped set up the products and paint the tiles. They’re very proud of our little store.”
Having been educated as a clinical lab scientist, Brooke loves doing the research that makes her an expert on the products she sells. Whether it’s small gift items like candles and tea towels, artisanal food and drink products, kitchen wares, or even the more quotidian tools of tidying up, everything at The Dapper Dwelling has a story that Brooke can tell you; is made in a way that’s healthy for the person using it and for the earth; is built to last, and… will look fabulous in your home. “People don’t realize this, but scientists need to be very visual thinkers,” Brooke says. “I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging.”