Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New York, New York part 3: Specialty Shops in the West Village

I love a great specialty shop. It is on record that I loathe department stores. My ADD simply cannot handle overload when I am on the search for the perfect item, particularly when I am shopping for myself (which is rare, by the way). If I need an item, I want to go to a shop that specializes in that item, or at least specializes in a few items, not a store that has a zillion options and a million other things mixed in. As an editor and curator for clients, I appreciate an edited selection from which to choose in a small and charming environment.

I was thrilled to find several excellent specialty shops when shopping last week in New York's West Village. As Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, and the like, have moved in and taken multiple spaces and therefore caused rents to skyrocket, shops like the ones I feature here are becoming less and less the norm on Bleeker Street, Hudson Street, Greenwich Avenue, and Christopher Street, the main byways of the village.

The next time you are in New York, definitely put these three unique shops on your to-do list. If nothing else, it will get you to a wonderful part of town (our neighborhood) and take you on a little adventure in the city! But, more than likely, you will find some things you can't resist!

19 Christopher Street (between Greenwich Avenue & Waverly Place)

I discovered Overbey & Dunn on my last trip to New York in October. At the time, the shop was done up as a gentleman's apartment and was fantastic. Learning on that visit that "Overbey and Dunn is an evolving interior installation space of repurposed and antique furniture and home accents. Every few months Overbey and Dunn's environment will be curated with a specific theme in order to expose our prospective buyer to our unique vision of interior home design. Our inventory is a collection of unique, quirky, elegant, curious and always gorgeous furniture and objects. Whether it's a lamp, a vase, a birdcage or a loveseat we have elected a highly edited and concise collection of goods that not only are stellar stand alone pieces but when merchandised well, these pieces create sharp, fastidious and thought provoking vignettes within our space", I knew I had to go this trip to see what the newest installment was. I am thrilled I did. Claiborne Swanson Frank, whose apartment I LOVED when it was in Elle Decor earlier this year, has transformed Overbey & Dunn into "American Beauty: a pied-a-terre". Tres chic, my friends, tres chic.

here is an image from Elle Decor showing Swanson Frank's living room. You can see her photography work on the back wall and see how her style seen here.....

...has been transferred to Overybey & Dunn, both in the current window display.....

...and from the initial installation (pre mad shoppers buying it all up!) as shown on Overbey & Dunn's website....

American Beauty is the title of Frank's new photography book which is available for sale in the shop:

and here are some of the items that I particularly liked when I was there last week...

..from the above ceramics I really love these three pieces and am proposing the blue and multi-colored vase for a client's foyer..

...and this double candlestick is perfect for the cocktail table in the living room:

I really dig needlepoint pillows done in a funky color scheme or pattern. This round (slightly oval) "Love Birds" pattern in purples, pinks, golds, and black is perfect for the sofa in the family room of a Chicago client. I love it!

"Love Birds" Embroidered Pillow-app. 15" round

On the way out of the shop I snapped a photo of this well-done vignette featuring a Claiborne Swanson Frank photograph, a fabulous pair of lamps, gilded cocktail table, and a GREAT multi-colored glass vase. OH, the candle that is burning is fantastic. I was aware when that the shop had a lovely scent smelled but didn't realize that it was a candle burning until I was leaving. I learned from Molly Kavanagh, the charming co-owner of the shop, that the scent is "Grand Manchou" by Panpuri. I had to have it and so, as I write this, my office is enveloped in the fabulous scent that I found at Overbey & Dunn. It seems that only Barney's (I'm assuming throughout the country) and Overbey & Dunn sell the candle. If any of you find the candle somewhere in the South, definitely let me know!

94 Charles Street (between Bleeker and West 4th)

Two of my favorite things--a striped awning and bath products--can be found here!

the bathroom. (I love how it is lowercased and with a period making it so definitive) is a big guilty pleasure of mine! I've frequented this shop for a few years now and upon discovery of my absolute favorite shower gel about two years ago, always have to stop in to replenish the stock when I am in New York.

This place is chic and very well edited...
the bathroom.
photo from New York Magazine
"If it's beauty you're after, you really have to go to The Bathroom. This airy, artfully shabby-chic nook carries high-end bath and body products--more than 3,000 of them, in fact, on its antiqued shelves."--New York Magazine

In addition to my beloved shower gel which is Spuma di Sciampagna Silk Shower Gel....

...the bathroom. carries two of my favorite candles:

French Tulip by Seda

Rigaud candles--any scent

as well as my favorite liquid hand soap which is Verveine by Savon de Marseille
I'm telling you..if you want to pamper yourself on your next visit to New York, go to the bathroom. on Charles Street! Buy my product recommendations and send me a thank you note once you've tried them and can't resist buying more!

OH, if any of you find my shower gel anywhere in the South, please let me know!

523 Hudson Street (between Charles and West 10th)

Our all-knowing friends Irene and David took us to The Meadow. A shop specializing in salt and chocolate is definitely not anything I would have thought I would love. I could care less what salt I have and I don't love chocolate. So I wasn't so excited to go to this shop. 

I walked in and these INCREDIBLE roses greeted me. Along side other beautiful flowers filling an entire farm table. I was intrigued. Salt, chocolate, flowers?? I learned that The Meadow is a Portland, OR, based shop with only the Portland and New York locations, and flowers are, in fact, a specialty. So think of this as your neighborhood flower market and pick up a chocolate or a caramel (they are yummy but not quite as good as the ones from Cacao in Atlanta) while there.

and then I saw the wonderful figurative paintings by artist Roger Hallin. I was gone.. far, far away from my friends who were gabbing about salt and chocolate. These fantastic mixed media on paper pieces by the Portland artist are just beautiful. I'm very into figurative work right now (more on that in a future blog post) so these made my day.

for more on Roger Hallin's work, visit

OK, back to the salt....
I recently completed a very wonderful and very modern kitchen for a client. All white and stainless and fantastic, I hadn't even pondered what sort of items would be out on the pure white quartz counter tops until my client emailed me an image of a possible cooking utensil storage vessel. When I saw the sort of French Country-esque ceramic piece (very attractive and perfect for an old beach house kitchen but just not right for this kitchen), I realized I needed to specify clean, modern, nearly disappearing functional items to keep the look as it should be.

VOILA! Who knew that Peugeot (yes, the European auto maker) makes fantastic salt and pepper mills?? And the mills pre-date the cars. Well I now know and these are most definitely the ones I will have in our own house and will recommend to all clients from here on out.

"Nancy" Salt and Pepper Mill Set
4.75" high, $ 47.95 from The Meadow

and these are the larger sizes of the "Nancy" model..$ 37.95 for the Salt Mill and $ 37.95 for the Pepper Mill

SO, clients (all of you, but particularly the one with the new kitchen!), get online now at and order your salt and pepper mill!

I hope you are all having a great Summer with lots of travel plans! If your travel plans include New York, definitely visit these shops when there. 



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