Design and Inspiration

D’Ann’s NYC Design Go To’s

Published on

March 7, 2024

D’Ann’s NYC Design Go To’s

New York City is an international destination for design.  What are some of your “Can’t Miss” galleries and showrooms?

  • I was recently introduced to The Future Perfect, and it immediately became my new favorite place to browse for one-of-a-kind, aspirational design pieces while sipping a cool Topo Chico. One of the foremost contemporary design galleries in the country, The Future Perfect is distinguished by its strong curatorial focus, which showcases studio-created works alongside one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces, all arranged invitingly in its West Village townhouse location.
  • A few blocks north is P.E. Guerin, the nation’s oldest decorative hardware manufacturer.  In the same location on Jane Street since 1892, you’d never guess that behind its modest façade is a magical scene including a ground floor sample room, filled floor to ceiling with neatly lined up wood boxes full of nearly 100,000 knobs, faucets, hinges, latches, and more.  On its top floor is the oldest working foundry operating in the city.  And all are overseen by the factory cat Marie Antoinette and her brothers.

Where do you go in the city to be inspired?

  • I’m blessed to live across from Pratt Institute, an international destination for students interested in architecture, art, design, and liberal arts and sciences.  Its art students impart a fun and electric energy to the neighborhood, while its lecture programs and exhibitions, which are open to the public, keep us all inspired. Pratt’s 25-acre Brooklyn Campus, an urban gem, also doubles as a sculpture garden, providing the perfect spot for a Sunday picnic or weeknight “wine & cheese” chat with friends.

Where do you go to find the perfect hostess gift?

  • When in need of a gift for the most discerning friends, I head to Roman & Williams Guild.  Featuring items made from a curated group of makers, artists and artisans, there’s not a bad choice in the place. The RW Guild Reed Candlesticks work equally well as a matched pair or a collection of the different metallic finishes and sizes.  And I can’t get enough of the Kaneko Kohyo Pottery Co.’s pretty floral inspired ceramic tableware.  Proving that luxury and beauty can also be durable, the collection is used in the Guild’s Le Mercerie restaurant.
  • The MOMA Design Store is definitely a “go to.”  They have 2 locations – one in midtown adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art and a smaller branch in Soho.  There you pick up anything from an anodized set of multicolored spoons for eating ice cream, custom-designed for optimal scooping, to a huge range of amazing books on art and design to a replica of Robert Indiana LOVE Sign on a triptych of skateboards.  They truly have something for everyone!
  • I was devasted when Michele Varian closed their Soho shop, only to find out they had relocated to Boerum Hill Brooklyn. The shop carries everything from Michele’s own line of lighting, furniture, and décor to dinnerware, home accessories, jewelry and personal accessories, and unique holiday ornaments at a range of price points.  These tiny salt cellars made in NYC make a great housewarming gift, especially when accompanied by a lovely Himalayan sea salt!

What is your favorite NYC movie or TV show?

  • One of my favorite movies regardless of setting is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” It perfectly captures a common element of New York City living: spying on your neighbors! In addition to witnessing a possible homicide, James Stewart, bound to his apartment with a broken leg, observes a wide variety of New York lives, including a frustrated composer, a vivacious dancer, energetic newlyweds, and a lonely single woman — all of which could be plots for their own little movies.  And Grace Kelly’s character Lisa is sheer perfection.
  • HBO’s series “The Gilded Age” tells a multi-threaded story of New York City during the late 1800’s, a period of huge economic change, conflict between the old ways and new systems, and fortunes being made and lost.  It’s costumes and sets rival those of Downton Abbey, also written by the show’s creator Julian Fellowes, but all with typical New York City flair.  The first season also features real life architect Stanford White, who, despite a disgraceful history, created some of the most iconic buildings in the city along with his partners at McKim, Mead and White.
  • While Will Smith’s “I am Legend” might not appear on any Top 10 lists, it’s a movie I’ve watched so many times.  As the sole survivor in NYC after a plague, Will Smith wanders the empty streets of the city, shopping an empty Duane Reade and even “borrowing” Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which he hangs above the fireplace of his Washington Square townhouse.  It always makes me wonder what I’d do if I found myself in a deserted city and which great work of art I’d claim for myself!

What’s your “go to” florist”?

A friend forwarded me a post on Instagram of an exceptionally beautiful floral arrangement on Instagram and turned out that the florist, Saffron Brooklyn, is conveniently located by me in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. However, I’d use them even if they were across town! It’s no wonder they turn out such beautiful work – their small team of florists has backgrounds in fine arts, art history and architecture.  And this devotion to art and design comes through is their unique and daring use of flowers. I call them when I need to send flowers to a client or to decorate my birthday party.

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