During the first week of November one of Trip Barnes’s moving trucks pulled up to an empty store on Charles street in the Beacon Hill section of Boston. For years the space had been the home of a quaint children’s clothing store, but that had recently gone out of business. Now, from out of the truck came a flotsam of items, including numerous rusty bikes, old doors and assorted oars.

“There goes the neighborhood,” someone commented.

In a way the person was right. The neighborhood was going somewhere, because someone was moving in.

That someone is Michael Hunter, owner of PikNik Art and Apparel, located on Dukes County avenue in Oak Bluffs. Mr. Hunter began PikNik 15 years ago and during that time he has transformed the store from a place to find off-beat funk for the home and yard into a full-on art gallery and design store. This year, during the quiet off-season months, he is checking out the Boston scene with a two-month pop-up store located at 70 Charles street.

He received the keys on Nov. 1 and opened three days later.

“I had some really dear friends who helped me like army ants,” he said.

The idea began last summer and along the way he faced a few hurdles but never looked back.

“The biggest thing is I didn’t stop to question anything along the way,” he said. “So when people were like, ‘Where are you going to stay? How’s it going to work?’ it never crossed my mind. I’m like, I have to eat, I eat anyway, so I’m going to be eating in Boston. I mean I’ll find someplace to live.

And so where is he staying while working in Boston?

“I’m staying in Cambridge this week, and then I’m going to be in Dorchester. I’m kind of doing the Barbra Streisand thing with a big key ring back in Brooklyn in the sixties,” he said.

70 Charles Street has arrived. — unspecified

The space is much smaller than the Vineyard PikNik, yet it feels uncluttered and, if anything, shows off Mr. Hunter’s design skills as much as his eye for quality art and clothing. He is a master at using the ordinary or overlooked household item and by giving it a new job to do, transforming it into art.

Pendleton coats, not your grandfather’s keep-me-warm type of winter wear, think more rock star lumberjack, hang from a suspended oar and paintings are mounted on a rusted door.

“I just pulled that out of the garbage last Friday on the Vineyard,” he said.

Consider also how he hangs his leather goods.

“I didn’t know how much I could hang from the ceiling and I wanted some height and I was at the plumbing store and they always make fun of me because this is steel plumbing pipe and it’s three different nibs that go to nowhere and they’re like, what are you doing? I’m mounting a bike seven feet in the air to hang $20,000 worth of leather goods.”

Much, but not all, of the art has made the trip from the Vineyard store too, including pieces by Ann McGhee, Dan Vanlandingham and Max Decker.

“It was like Sophie’s Choice with Trippy at the last minute with the paintings,” he said. But more work is coming.

One of the added benefits of the store and experiencing Boston during the busy holiday season as opposed to the more sleepy Vineyard off-season is a chance to reinvigorate the artists he works with, Mr. Hunter said.

“People are painting for me again. I mean artists who normally go underground [during the winter]. Traeger Di Pietro did a full series of these marvelous boats. Ann McGhee just brought some new works and Carrie Mae Smith just sent some in. She’s known for this cutlery and food, she does a lot of meats and weird things; her dad was a butcher. She had a painting of steaks that a vegetarian would put in their house.”

Paintings swim with the fishes at PikNik art and apparel. Pictures Courtesy Michael Hunter — unspecified

On the day the store opened Ms. McGhee stopped by with some work. The new paintings were more seasonally inspired, pine cones and ribbons, and she worried they might not fit with the look of the store.

“They’re beautiful,” Mr. Hunter assured her. “I love these, it’s something for everyone.”

Ms. McGhee lives on the Vineyard during the summer and teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Design during the winter. She had just come from class.

“I’m teaching students today and Tuesday to see angles with plumb lines,” she commented while walking around the store admiring Mr. Hunter’s angles, created not with plumb lines but an experienced eye. A class trip might be in order, she said.

Other Vineyarders represented at the store are Emily Fischer’s goat’s milk soap and State Road Restaurant’s chocolates.

“I bought this yellow bike specifically to hold the State Road chocolates at Tuckernuck Antiques,” Mr. Hunter said.

And, of course, there are the clothes. Mr. Hunter is having fun exploring the world of winter wear, something he doesn’t usually get to do at the Vineyard store. In one corner are a stash of forearm warmers, leather with straps and soft fur underneath, might as well look good when training your falcon, and nearby a neck warmer, again leather with fur, think Genghis Khan at rest from pillaging and kicking back with a martini.

There are also holiday party dresses from New York city designer Alexander Berardi who spent his summers on the Vineyard.

As luck would have it, Mr. Hunter’s first paying customers were, coincidentally, Vineyarders. The store is located just a few blocks away from Massachusetts General Hospital. The couple had stumbled onto the store by chance while out walking in between sessions at the hospital and trying to distract themselves from a very difficult diagnosis.

The woman purchased a new pair of sunglasses, bright pink with light green shadings, the man a pair of tortoiseshell reading glasses. They looked transformed in their new eyewear, smiles overtaking a more serious countenance. But that shift had occurred even before the purchase. The store itself, and the infectious good cheer of Mr. Hunter, had been just the tonic.


PikNik Boston is located at 70 Charles street. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day through Jan. 1. For information visit, piknikmv.com, there is no direct phone line.