SoHo by Design
One can find just about everything needed to furnish a home without leaving SoHo. Just about every block includes furniture, lighting, and decor shops and showrooms from global retailers and cutting-edge designers alike. It is all but impossible to touch on them all in one blog post, so we have narrowed down our top 10. And if none of these offer anything you love, there are plenty more design shops in the neighborhood to explore!
Five Crosby Street (between Howard and Grand Streets)
This SoHo showroom is BDDW’s flagship, although its furniture, lighting, mirrors, and ceramics are handcrafted in Philadelphia. Founder and designer Tyler Hays’s aesthetic is earthy but elegant. Minimalist walnut chairs with distressed leather seats gather around a live-edge maple dining table with bronze wishbone-shape legs; a wingback chair with exaggerated curves accompanies a classic button-tufted roll-arm sofa. Hardwoods, leather, and bronze are the most common materials, and the simple, fairly unadorned shapes allow the beauty of the materials to shine, both figuratively and literally.
32 Greene Street (between Canal and Grand Streets)
Cite began as an interior design firm, later branching out to create its own furniture and to open a showroom in SoHo that sells not only its own designs but also those from other brands and designers such as Droog, Eero Aarnio, and Missoni. Modern and cutting-edge are the bywords here. The zebrawood top of the Low Table produced by Italian firm Cecchini appears to float several inches off the ground, so low and compact is its base, while the Flow Open Rocking Chair by Dirk Vander Kooij Studio, made of recycled plastics, bears virtually no resemblance to the wooden rockers typically seen on a cabin porch. In addition to furniture, lighting, and rugs, Cite sells smaller decorative items ranging from handblown tumblers with punts that resemble mountain chains to brass wall hooks reminiscent of stilettos to glass vases that will call to mind the game Jenga.
540 Broadway, #308 (between Spring and Prince Streets)
Distant Origin is credited with being the first seller of Fortuny lighting outside Italy. Lamps and fixtures from the Venetian house—and pillows inspired by classic Fortuny fabrics—are not the extent of Distant Origin’s product range, however. It offers a thoughtfully curated assortment of furniture, rugs, mirrors, and artwork from makers around the world. Many of the pieces are as statement-making as the Fortuny lighting, which incorporates drama-infused materials such as hand-painted silk and Murano glass. Hand-forged iron pedestal tables are gilded in gold, the better to flaunt their geometric shapes; cowhide-upholstered armchairs feature frames made of antlers; cabinets lacquered to resemble ivory provide a glossy pale background for horn handles framed in brass. Distant Origin also sells a small selection of carefully restored French Deco furniture.
88 Grand Street (between Greene and Wooster Streets)
“Something old, something new” could be Flair’s mantra. Along with a broad variety of vintage and antique furniture, rugs, lighting, and accents representing a variety of periods and provenances, it sells furniture and accessories of its own design. Many of these furnishings take inspiration from Mid-Century Modern silhouettes and Hollywood Regency materials. Its Edge console, for instance, is as minimalist as a Parsons table in shape but is finished in black, brown, or reddish lacquer with glimmering brass edging and raised nail heads; the aptly named Torino High-Back Chair, inspired by a 1950s Italian club chair, is available in hand-painted upholstery in electric blue and white. In the shop these might be shown in room settings along with plush 1960s Beni Ourain rugs, mid-century sconces of Murano glass and brass, and a chinoiserie game table made in 19th-century France.
68 Greene Street (between Broome and Spring Streets)
How many times have you thought along the lines of “I would love that chair, if only it came in a different color”? At Interior Define, you determine the color—and the finish, the detailing, and just about everything else. Customization is the key differentiator of Interior Define. Inside the showroom is a wealth of sofas, chairs, beds, and tables, as well as the fabric swatches, leg styles, and wood and metal finishes available for each. So while there are only three basic bed styles, you can choose to have them upholstered in one of more than 70 fabrics and leathers; for the beds with feet, options range from rounded and tapered brushed nickel to dainty white oak pegs with metal ferrules. Upholstered furniture—sofas, chairs, ottomans, sectionals, chaises—make up the vast majority of the offering, but a few dining table options are available as well.
39 Greene Street (between Grand and Broome Streets)
Italian manufacturer Kartell is best known for its furniture made of polycarbonate and other plastics, which give a space-age gloss to the most traditional silhouettes. The Louis Ghost, designed by Philippe Starck, is perhaps the best-known example: Though with the same rounded back and elegant proportions of a Louis XV armchair, it’s made of transparent or translucent polycarbonate. Nearly as well known is the Bourgie table lamp, with a baroque base and a pleated shade, both made of polycarbonate. Other pieces, such as the Glossy dining table, feature lacquered MDF and stainless steel. If what you want are durable, modern furnishings with a touch of whimsy, Kartell should be a port of call.
27 Howard Street (between Lafayette Street and Broadway)
Michele Varian’s only brick-and-mortar store is an homage to the designer’s luxe and joyful style. It sells furnishings of her own design: a handcrafted sawhorse-style table with copper legs, metallic pendant lighting that calls to mind a wood-bead necklace, silk pillows in a rainbow of colors and a bouquet of floral prints, metallic wallpaper silk-screened by hand. But the shop is also a trove of furnishings—and jewelry and gifts—from other designers. Highly textured rugs with freeform geometric patterns handwoven in Guatemala might appear in the same shop-floor vignette as a cast-iron bottle opener shaped like a dinosaur and a swinging chair made of recycled cotton.
462 Broome Street (between Mercer and Greene Streets)
The trio of designers who helm Ochre specialize in streamlined modern glamour. For instance, the Lunar Table recalls the famed Tulip pedestal table by Eero Saarinen, but rendered with a silver patinated base and a lustrous wood or polished plaster top. The curvaceous Eternal Dreamer Sofa pairs lush velvet upholstery with legs of gleaming stainless steel or moody blackened steel. The lamps and light fixtures are especially eye-catching: Moonlight Murmuration, LED-illuminated glass saucers accentuated with brass that are suspended the ceiling, can be installed with as many as 64 glass lights in a swooping configuration; the Arctic Pear Wall Light consists of dozens of glass teardrops attached to a platter of nickel or patinated bronze. Those seeking unobtrusive furnishings might want to give this shop a miss.
143 Spring Street (at Wooster Street)
The second brick-and-mortar shop of the 10-year-old ecommerce company, One Kings Lane’s SoHo store offers two floors of both new and vintage furnishings, from sofas and tables to art and bedding. In addition to products from well-known designers and brands such as Ralph Lauren Home, Barclay Butera, and Visual Comfort, the shop carries products designed in-house and available nowhere else. Visitors can even design their own furniture with the company’s Palette tool, which allows them not only to select the fabric and finishing touches of a variety of seating, headboards, and ottomans but to also choose the colors and even the scale of the patterned fabrics. One Kings Lane Interior Design is located on the top floor; you can buy design services or schedule an appointment for a free half-hour consultation.
53 Howard Street (at Mercer Street)
Roman and Williams began as an interior design studio; its projects include the Ace Hotel at Broadway and West 29th Street. It subsequently expanded to launch Roman and Williams Guild, a store selling the firm’s own furniture, lighting, and accents as well as furnishings from artisans worldwide. The original designs exhibit an industrial-chic sensibility offset by more than a little luxury. The frame of the Espalda Daybed, for example, was inspired by a sawhorse, but it is topped with a tufted horsehair cushion upholstered in custom-tanned hides or sumptuous fabrics by Fortuny or de Le Cuona; to heighten the opulence, add a rabbit-pelt pillow and throw. Similarly, the rounded Woodrum Sconce is made of richly figured walnut and punctuated with gold rivets. Among the pieces from outside artisans are minimalist stoneware by KH Würsz, pristine white porcelain tableware by John Julian, and richly textured glassware by Yoshihiro Nishiyama. If all this shopping leaves you in need of sustenance, stop by the shop’s eatery, La Mercerie, where you can order anything from a glass of wine to blinis with caviar.