…And Everything in Between

Sandy through us all for a loop this week (nothing creepier than a New York that does sleep…in total darkness), but as we all get back to the frivolities of daily life and the modern wonder of electricity, I’m glad to be able to focus on something less troubling and more cheerful. Halloween is over and my mind is officially free to drift to thoughts of the holidays and colder days ahead.

Wish lists, gift wrap, holiday movies, sweaters, and peppermint chocolate are all in the mix and I can’t wait! And if there’s one store that I can’t wait to browse and window shop, it’s ABC Home. For anyone visiting New York with a love of design and in search of a unique gift, this store has it all. ABC Home offers a retail experience that is so quintessentially New York, so exclusive to this city and so refreshing in a world homogenized by globalism.

Jewelry, in-store designer clothing boutiques, stationery, tablewares, vases, lighting, upholstery, candles, it’s like this store was made for me! Even after walking into the store a million times, I only noticed how saturated the ceiling is with lighting fixtures a couple weeks ago once I started taking pictures. I never bothered to look up before because there’s already so much to look at on every other plane! Dense with goodness, ABC Home is the type of store where you know you’ll walk out with something entirely individual, exotic, and likely, handcrafted.

There’s an air of wonderland about the place as everything glimmers, glass sparkles and becomes pearlescent, delicate boxes reveal aromatic secrets, and everything hides, waiting to be discovered. This feeling only becomes amplified during Christmas time when fantasy completely takes over and glitter coats everything your eyes fall upon. Magical.

And all this only describes the first floor of this mega-boutique, since I have yet to thoroughly explore anything beyond that. In due time, I’m sure. The next time I attempt it, I’ll be sure to take a pit-stop at ABC Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants, if not my number 1. The only reason I haven’t posted about it yet is because the mood is too intimate and candlelit and the food too succulent and savory to spoil with photographs. For a special occasion, there’s no place better.

Visual inspiration, shopping thrills, and a culinary epiphany: I can think of few ways to better spend a November afternoon;)

Home Sweet Home

It’s been another two week long absence and I’m feeling more blogger guilt. I should have known that moving would have been more than a two day time commitment. It’s been two weeks since we spent our first night in the new apartment, and we’re still unpacking! But as I regain my bearings, I’m also beginning to lust after new interiors, pinning into the wee hours of the morning and poring through back issues of Domino (oh, how I miss thee).

Excited to finally purchase a sofa (albeit a loveseat) for the first time, all I’ve been doing is scouring sites online and re-imagining my new space. Minimalist, colorful, quirky, cozy, I’m trying to find a way to meld all of my tastes into one stylish apartment. What I have noticed, though, is that the minute our artwork went up and all my little tchotchkes and books were out, the apartment instantly had character. While I don’t advocate clutter in any sense, these accessories and keepsakes give personality and life to a home, and they are an instant way to update a space as well.

Even if you can’t afford a new chair or a brand new rug, you can always shop for little things to spruce up your place. New York has no shortage of mini design emporiums, as I’ve illustrated here, and John Derian is just another go-to for the design savvy. The brand has been in my subconscious for a while, ¬†yet it was always a highly elusive name that I only ever saw in magazine credits or on the bottoms of the decoupage trays that have become the company’s signature. I always meant to check it out, but never made an effort to look into it.

Finally, one day without looking for it, I stumbled upon the store in East Village and was excited to finally see what made John Derian such a renowned design name. Rather than making a big statement, the store lurks behind shady trees, inviting those who know what they’re looking for to step in. Once you’re in, though, there’s an instant sense of being overwhelmed by the density and plethora of collected objects. Trays, paperweights, ceramics, candles, fixtures, linens, there’s so much of everything that it’s better to not even try to take in everything. To be honest, although it feels like an intriguing cabinet of curiosities, it’s a bit much for me, so I prefer to head next door to the sister shop devoted to textiles and furniture, a cozy little home posing as a store with a giant stuffed horse to greet visitors at the entrance (so that’s where I can find one of those…).

Neutral, organic, with a rustic antique charm, the store makes me wonder whether I want to live in a sparse Soho loft or a cottage in Provence, as the goods would look equally good in both places (a girl can dream!). In any case, this is just the type of store where visual interest is created through accessories and layering, and even if you leave with just one of those emblematic trays for your trinkets, I’d still say you’re one step closer to making your house a home.

Life as a Haus

My love of design and interiors goes hand in hand with my love of fashion. A resolute homebody, my space is my sanctuary and source of inspiration, no matter how small, so it has to be just as pretty as my wardrobe. Which is why I love discovering new interior decorating and lifestyle stores. Just like your wardrobe, your home should be a balance of big-chain retail staples and thoughtful touches that reflect your unique personality. Haus Interior has just the thing.

A boutique interior design firm that also offers its warm, minimalist aesthetic in the form of two retail outposts, Haus Interior is chock full of design goodies for such a petite space. Neutrals, organic elements, rustic accents, and some serious chevron love make the shop feel like a gift from the designers for those who can’t receive the full Haus Interior treatment. Not too shabby a consolation prize if you ask me. I particularly fell in love with the surprising touches like black candlesticks and wooden shadowboxes with scenes of marine life inside. Lighting is also used to great effect, with caged Edison bulbs suspended or propped throughout while a smokey orb lamp takes center stage with a warm glow.

Walking through, examining the wares, you get the sense that whatever you take home from Haus, it will be special but it will also become seamlessly yours. These pieces are so carefully selected and styled, but they are meant to quietly enhance a room, rather than overwhelm it. That’s what I took away from my shopping experience here– a focus back on quality and details, as well as an urge to purge and redecorate everything!

Plus, I entered a raffle during my first visit in the store and I won a candle! I’ve never ever won anything before, seriously! So excited to take a bit of Haus home :)

Love the diffused glow and shape of this lamp, no shade necessary!

The best armor for a girls’ night out at the bar. Straightforward and absolutely hilarious. I’m so easily amused.

I want one of these so badly! My favorite elements: one part industrial, one part brass, add one part feminine floral. And done.

Very tribal. Super cool.

I thought these bare bulbs would be blindingly bright, but they are actually quite warm. I like that you can put them pretty much anywhere.

I’m feelin’ the shades-of-grey chevron against the warm tones of the wood. DIY inspiration? That would require one mean painter’s tape job.

My deliciously sultry, scented candle in Bergamot and Black Tea. Reminds me of a trip I took to Switzerland years ago, perched in the mountains drinking Irish breakfast tea. Thank you again, Haus Interior!