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Design Solutions Provides the Unique

Pauline Dora is the owner of Design Solutions and native of New Canaan. Her Elm Street shop, a mere seven minutes from her home, is filled with things you don't usually find at other stores. From figurines to couches to clocks to wall hangings, unique is what this store dabbles in – and has been for 18 years.

A mix of Moleskine notebooks, iPod docks, flowerpots, couches, paintings, framed quotes and many other things are displayed throughout the store. Underfoot are floor mats made to look like sewer grates and a welcome mat adorned with a finish line. "It makes people laugh and makes people happy," she said. "I put all the products out there, and if you can't react to them, that's not my problem."

Dora admits her taste is a bit different.

"I think people are very traditional. Everybody is doing the same thing. I've always been involved in design, so that's why this appeals to me." As for where she finds her merchandise, she says she's always on the lookout for something new and different. "It's like being Sherlock Holmes," she said. "I'm always looks for new things at stores. That's the fun part."

She was proud to show off a recently released book, "Design Research," with images of the store of the same name, showing the company she started working for in retail. "I've always been in retail. I've been doing this forever. I have three kids, and when we had our third child, we moved out of the city. And I started this store because I love retail."

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