Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New York, New York; HOMES AND PROPERTY; Stylist Margaret Caselton Went to the City That Never Sleeps for a Spring Weekend and Suggests Interior Design Shops for You to Visit

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New York, New York; HOMES AND PROPERTY; Stylist Margaret Caselton Went to the City That Never Sleeps for a Spring Weekend and Suggests Interior Design Shops for You to Visit

Article excerpt

Byline: MARGARET CASELTON

Stylist Margaret Caselton went to the city that never sleeps for a spring weekend and suggests interior design shops for you to visit

AMERICANS often refer to England as "quaint" but the backstreets of SoHo in downtown New York have a quaint history themselves. SoHo stands for south of Houston Street and covers a 26-square area of former industrial sites and lofts that have been converted into a blend of art and commercial premises.

Funky design shops offer everything from Thirties furniture and designer classics to food, ceramics, paper and eccentricities. There are the originals such as Dean and DeLuca and Craft Caravan, but SoHo is constantly changing: new stores crop up and others go. The curious blend of stores are all highly individual and bear the hallmark of their owners.

The most direct way to get to SoHo from mid or uptown New York is to take the N or R Line downtown and alight at Spring (Street). New Yorkers always omit street. As nothing stirs until 10. 30am or 11am, I recommend a hearty breakfast at Balthazar, 80 Spring and corner of Crosby (001 212 965 1785), where you can relax in French caf?-style surroundings as interpreted by Americans and nibble freshly baked breads from Balthazar's bakery next door.

You will discover many unusual stores on Spring, but it's easy to get visually diverted into Crosby, Broome, Mercer, Greene, Layfayette or at any crossroad.

Troy, 138 Greene Street (001 212 941 4777), is something of a cult. This spacious store sells modern vintage (reproduction) furniture and unusual objets, including ceramics. Owner Troy Halterman specialises in 20th century design and travels throughout Asia and South America on buying trips.

Moss, 146 Greene Street (001 212 226 2190; www.mosson line.com), is a combination of design museum/gallery and store: you feel a hallowed atmosphere as you walk around the "exhibits". Chairs and sofas by Cappellini and Zanotta are displayed with other classic pieces, many designed in the Sixties but still in production. There are sculptures by Gaetano Pesce, lights by Jasper Morrison, cutlery by Alessi and even basins and taps. All products are either elevated on the central platform or spotlit. What I thought was a wonderful window display of various wooden drawers tied together with upholsterer's webbing was actually a witty sculpture entitled You can't lay down your memories, costing [pound]11,131.

Across the street, Coconut Company, 131 Greene Street (001 212 539 1940), sells an unusual collection of 19th and 20th century Asian and European antiques: furniture, lighting, some ceramics and glassware.

Craft Caravan, 63 Greene Street (001 212 431 6669), was one of the first shops to open in SoHo 30 years ago. Its owners, Caroline and Ignacio Villarreal, travel throughout Africa, India and northern Pakistan to forage for traditional handicrafts. Stock includes jewellery, textiles, home furnishings, religious artefacts and Kubu cloths. Of particular interest were two colourful hand-beaded Yoruban armchairs from Nigeria priced at [pound]1,558.

Nancy Koltes at Home, 31 Spring Street (001 212 219 2271), is a tiny shop stuffed with fine table and bed linen and table accessories. Every corner yields more delights. Bed sheets and towels are 100 per cent Egyptian cotton and made in Italy by Nancy's manufacturer. Bedding includes sateens in brilliant colours, linen and jacquards. Look out for the detail on the table linens and accessories, which include French glassware and ideas for table settings such as a mottled oxblood-red glass plate set with an organza napkin decorated with gold motifs on a feather place mat.

Dean and DeLuca, 560 Broadway/corner Prince Street (001 212 226 6800; www. …

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