Wednesday, September 21, 2011

seeking out the best in art and design: design shopping in Soho with the Modern Sybarite


have i got a treat for you today, nicies!

it's with great pleasure that i welcome back the fabulous art expert, interior design guru & delightfully charming soul, richard rabel, as guest blogger. richard's unsurpassed expertise in the world of things beautiful will just thrill you, and you'll want to rush over to follow his inspiring art & interior design finds on his magnificent blog: the modern sybarite.

check out his first guest post: outdoor sculpture hopping in NYC. and welcome to today's: design shopping in Soho! thanks so much, richard!

I’m thrilled to return with my 2/3 guest blogger posts for the marvelous Rikrak whom we all LOVE!  What a more wonderful world this would be if everybody was as considerate, professional, nice and respectful as Momma RikRak.

Today’s post focuses on design home shopping in SOHO, New York … the best city in the world!  I know a little about this … as an interior designer based in the city, part of my life revolves around finding the best of art, design and decoration for my A+ clients and much of it is shared in my blog  But some of my secrets have never been shared … until now.  Thanks to the undying and relentless requests from Momma RikRak (and she does all this for her blogger reader sweeties), I finally broke down to share 3 of my favorite shopping spots in SOHO.

In no particular order:

This fabulous home collection outpost in New York has sister stores in Florence, Milan and Rome.  They comb the world hand picking some of the best vintage home decor and furniture for their store.  They then combine them with their own signature pieces to create a wonderful hip New York- meets- Europe- style that j’adore.  Their aesthetic tends to be more masculine, but there are enough gems to grab the attention of even the chicest of women. Prices are not cheap, but it is a great place to shop if someone wants to give YOU a gift!
Recently, I visited the store and came out wanting two items, both of which are part of their exclusive private line.  Table easels are great to display your art in a slightly more intimate setting and Flair has a fabulous table easel that comes in several sizes and finishes.  I liked the small plexi/nickel easel that oozes chic and is priced at US$850.00. I also loved their Forte Side Chair.  It is easy to sit on, comfy and the padded back makes the perfect rest for casual lounging.  These chairs scream “buy me … I’m ever so sexy”.  At US$2,250 each they are not cheap but well worth the aesthetic eye candy and stylish comfy seating.

Down the street from Flair is the delicious home store of Tamara Magel, an interior design colleague whose style she describes as “global-chic”.  Her aesthetic is modern and exotic and VERY sophisticated.  So for example, you will not find 500 pillows from India on offer, but rather, a curated selection of delicate pillows made to her specifications.  What I love about Tamara is that she has a strong belief in empowering women and is therefore on the board of NEST, an organization that helps female artisans emerge from poverty.

I fell in love with 2 pieces that I can easily recommend.  The first is a lovely, lovely, lovely credenza made of bleached wenge, black lacquer and ebony pulls.  It is most certainly inspired by mid century design, but has a 21st century sophistication with the use of luxe materials.  This particular credenza is 20”deep x 70” long x 28.1/2 “high and retails for US$5,400 (shshshsh .. don’t tell her …this is steal!).  Not knowing where to turn next, I stumbled upon a magnificent mirror where the frame looks like pieces of coral were stuck together.  In reality, she calls it a reproduction lettuce coral mirror which comes in black and white (I’m partial to the black but the white is also yummy) and measures 26” wide x 36” high.  Again, the price was not sooo expensive at US$1,620.


The Evolution Store is Ali-baba’s cave for those looking for home “jewelry” … the unique accessories that make a space sing.  At Evolution you can find everything nature related (some real, some made up to look real): from seashells and exotic corals to beautiful butterflies, stuffed alligators and fossils; from dry insects to anatomical models and minerals. It is certainly a great find for distinct pieces and one-of-a-kind home accessories.

The pieces in their collection range from the extremely creepy and utterly undesirable to the beautiful and rare, such as the life-sized stuffed buffalo head, colorful and enigmatic framed butterflies, multi-colored cowhide rugs, and beautiful South Pacific Indian beads and seashells.  These are perfect accessories that will add a cool punch to a bare wall, an empty space on a bookshelf, a boring floor or that empty decorative bowl sitting on your side table or ottoman.  There I found a collection of framed butterflies in dazzling jeweled tones that keep me company in my office. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my home shopping tips.  All of the stores have truly one-of-a-kind finds that will make any room yell “I’m stylish and cool”.  Be sure to check them out next time you’re in the Big Apple.

Be on the lookout for the third and last installment of my guest blogs on Rikrak which will highlight “Shopping the Fall auctions in New York”!



richard rabel
 the modern sybarite | twitter 

all images by richard rabel


Based in New York City, Richard Rabel is consistently asked by his clients for his advice on art, design and decoration.  With this in mind he began providing his clients with livable, warm and unique interiors that reflect a 21st century lifestyle and aesthetic. He shares his aesthetic on his website/blog

Speaking several languages, having lived in seven countries and spanning a ten year career as a senior officer and specialist in a London-based international auction house as well as twenty years of art and design study and over thirty years of international travel, Richard has had access to the most extraordinarily exquisite spaces around the globe from San Francisco to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires to Prague, Mexico City to Geneva, Istanbul to Hong Kong, Paris to New York all of which have cultivated his eye and contributed to defining his exacting taste and modern aesthetic.
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  1. I'd love to see these in person. Maybe a trip to NYC is in my cards!!!

  2. thanks for sharing!! enjoyed the reading =)

  3. always a pleasure, richard! thanks.

    me too, tessa! good idea about the trip.

    happy to have you, alexandra!


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