We’ve all spent too much time chez nous over the last 14 months. As I worked from home, I had ample time to take in my surroundings. As soon as I was able to get out, I grabbed some fabric and got several daybeds reupholstered. That was a start. Then I plucked a bunch of decorative pillows from my couch and upholstered them in fabrics that I had found in London — pre-Covid. Looking for a few pieces of furniture to round out my little design project, I started dropping in on some of my favorite home decor stores where I found some amazing pieces and plenty of inspiration.
Because of rising rents in Manhattan we have lost many of our favorite home goods and antique stores to Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley. That said, there are still lots of interesting places to explore. Here is a small selection of shops, including one across the river. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but it was sure was fun looking!
Coming Soon moved into an expanded space a few blocks from the original, smaller, location. Owned by two friends, the store is full of many decorative objects for the home, vintage furniture, and gift ideas.
The furniture throughout the store (also for sale) is used to display some objects. The owners work with artists and artisans to create unique pieces for the shop. There is a good selection of modern rugs and runners with a vintag-y feel. There are also many pillows, blankets and throws in the mix.
Why not enliven your bathroom with some interesting towels and tissue boxes. Coming Soon has a good selection of unusual games and cards. Art meets objects with whimsy, and great for gifting.
Need something to liven up your kitchen or dining room? Trays, dishes, glasses and bowls abound. There are many vases, candles and candlesticks. It is always fun to browse and buy here, as the items change frequently. You won’t find most of these objects in other stores.
Add one or two pieces, or furnish an entire room. Coming Soon also has a furniture showroom with a slew of vintage pieces that work with the objects in the store. Find something to brighen up your life and your home.
Coming Soon, 53 Canal Street at Orchard Street
A few blocks away, Top Hat offers a different kind of modernist approach with items for your home. Sourced from around the world, the pieces are intriguing. From vintage metal tool boxes to funny Asian fans, fragrances and candles from Astier de Villatte and Corso Como 10, there is so much to chose from.
The back of the shop has an austere, garage-like feel. Though, this is not your normal garage. A rack of funny greeting cards, pillows, throws, and re-designed brooms and other cleaning supplies are along one wall.
Another wall holds childrens’ clothing and toys. There are books scattered around the shop.
Writers needs are taken serioulsy. All sorts of notebooks, diaries, folios and pads fill the popular storage trunks. The trunks, perfect for tucking under beds. come in many colors.
Do you need a baguette or a roll that doubles as a light? Along with mugs from around the world, Top Hat has a good selection of dinnerware, glasses and cutlery to grace your table. The boutique is small, but it is filled with intriguing and useful items with a sense of humor.
Top Hat, 245 Broome Street between Orchard Street and Ludlow Street
Several blocks away in Soho, BDDW is a home furnishings store, a clothing boutique and an art gallery all in one. It is a huge space that flows through many rooms. This small room has unusual wall coverings, and some of the smaller decorative pieces offered for sale.
The furniture is designed and made by the owner, Tyler Hays, and his staff of craftsmen. The studio is located in Philadelphia. The pieces are made of different woods, leathers and finishes. The clothing line, M. Crow, is sold at the front of the furniture store.
The art is hung above displays of furniture. The gallery represents many different artists, and the works are for sale. The furniture designs are clean and contemporary. They are built to last.
There is a full range of furniture, from upholstered pieces, to lighting, beds, desks, chairs as well as dressers and chests. Ceramics and artisanal turntables round out the selection.
The entrance to the furniture showroom, located in the same space as the gallery, features unusual lighting in a well lit space. The scale of the rooms enhances the pieces of art and furniture in them.
Aside from upholstered pieces, there are other kinds of seating, as well as coffee and occasional tables. Rugs made from silk and wool, hand knotted in Nepal, are also for sale. Ask to see all the patterns.
Most of the pieces are made to order. There are set heights and widths for the storage pieces, and different sizes on upholstered pieces and dining tables. Woods, leather and fabrics come in other colors and finishes. Business was so good during the pandemic that the workshop needs a year(!) to complete an order. I guess good things come to those who wait. During the week, shopping is by appointment only.
BDDW, 5 Crosby Street; BDDW Gallery, 29 Howard Street
Across the river in Greenpoint is a small shop filled with mid-century modern furniture and objects. Porter James has a continually rotating collection of interesting and well-priced pieces.
They offer a nice selection of glassware, barware, serving pieces and accessories, along with period furniture. Because it is actual vintage, everything is one of a kind. Pieces can go quickly.
Most of the vintage sofas and chairs have been newly upholstered. Porter James makes new pillows and mirrors to compliment the furniture. They also offer upholstery services for your pieces.
I rarely see vintage beds as interesting as this one when I go antiquing. Along with new pillows, there are artisanal blankets and throws. The owners also offer a curated decorating service to clients.
You never know exactly what you will find here. Taste and humor are important. During the week shopping is by appointment only, so it is best to call ahead.
Porter James of New York, 116 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Clic is the brainchild of Christiane Celle. She started and sold Calypso St. Barth years ago. As her husband is a photographer she has a feel for pretty much anything visual. This branch of Clic was the first she opened as a gallery and bookstore. Furnishings and clothing were added soon after. The small neon dog in the window is actually a lamp, and the sheep are stools. Cute stuffed toys are tossed around.
Photography is a very big part of the mix, and what sets Clic apart. It is a gallery, so you can feel free to come in and browse the art. There is an abundance of pillows and throws, made from all sorts of materials, too.
There is a large selection of books on a wide variety of subjects. Art, photography, biography, travel and design and more. There is a good mix of tabletop pieces, and fragrances for the home.
Decorative skate decks hang alongside photographs. There are plenty of stools, poufs and small tables too. There are other Clic galleries in Tribeca, on Madison Avenue and in the Hamptons as well as in St. Barth. Each one is similiar but different.
Clic, 255 Centre Street at Broome Street
One of New York’s sentimental favorites has just opened again. Pearl River Mart has been a fixture in New York since 1971. Offering all things Asian, it had to close its department store like, multi-level space on Broadway some time ago. It had located to a smaller space on Broadway below Canal Street, but as Covid swept in, that store closed in 2020. Luckily the family found another space on Broadway.
Altough the space is slightly smaller, it is full of the same things that made everyone love the original Pearl River. Of course there is a good selection of Lucky Cats and Oxes, as this is the Year of the Ox. Do you need an ox piggy bank?
There is plenty of tableware and serving pieces. Patterned and solid. Shelves of vases and figurines flow along the walls. There is also a great section of cookware and kitchen supplies.
If you’re a tea lover, there is a large selection of Chinese teas here, as well as all sorts of snacks and treats. If you need a new home fragrance or want to get rid of your new home (i.e. construction) smell, look at the wall of incense and incense supplies.
Along with these figurines, the store stocks a full range of martial arts equipment including shoes, suits, tai chi sticks, daggers, and swords. Books are part of the mix; fiction, non-fiction, and cookbooks are in stock.
Lanterns and lighting fixtures are in the back of the store. Traditional parasols too, and more fans than you will ever need. A small clothing section rounds things out. Welcome back Pearl River Mart!
Pearl River Mart, 452 Broadway between Grand and Howard Streets
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.