Friday, October 9, 2015


I've never had the love affair with the Hamptons the way so many of the city's trendsetters and wannabes have. Over the decades we've spent in the city I haven't been able to cultivate a hankering for spending my weekends in the Hamptons. I hate the drive that stretches into hours on a one-lane highway; I've always been reluctant to pull the helicopter out of the hanger to avoid the traffic the way our goddess and jailbird, Martha does. I'm unimpressed with standing in line for my Sunday morning bagel and then being pushed out of the queue by some guy in sweats monogramed WSJ smoking a huge cigar and talking to his broker on his iPhone. We've completed a couple of projects out there but the cost to our sanity has left us without a taste for the hassles that accompany those projects.
So when a piece of the Hamptons decided to do the reverse commute and come to Chelsea I wasn't rushing to see their take on bringing the beach to the smelly trash strewn streets of New York City. It has taken me a year to finally walk in and see what all the hoopla called Homenature was about. I'm still on the fence. If you're out there window-shopping Homenature is worth the trip to Eighteenth Street. It is beautiful.
There's definitely a sea breeze appeal to the store whose envelope wraps the essence of Montauk's sand and dunes around you with its white-washed walls and sea-glass shelves.
You are bathed in the comfort of white linen, driftwood and cowhide as you walk across wooden floors layered in natural jute rugs.
Everything has the look of chic trying its best to not look pretentious. It's pretty easy to get swept into the hip feel and lush design of everything so au naturel.
Their product has a mythological draw like Circe seducing Odysseus and let me tell you it takes the power of an Odysseus to pull away from the accessories and furniture on the floor until you get close enough to see the price tags, a small marble soap tray - $640, a burled credenza - $18,500 or this beautiful bowl for a mere $4,650. Weeping with desire wasn't going to change the prices. Tears were insufficient to wash away the access of zeros attached to those beautiful hand-printed tags, but it was nice to dream.

The California based Restoration Hardware opened its doors on lower Fifth Avenue almost a decade ago. The building they moved into had been left derelict for well before I ever came to New York and that's been quite a while ago. When it first opened it occupied the main floor of the building and a partial piece of the lower level. It was hard to resist its earthy urban appeal. It had you covered in plush bath towels, quirky Holiday gifts and furniture that would literally swallow you up. The appeal hasn't changed
It's hard to resist all that industrial and urban chic they're known for. The appeal of all those weathered woods, rusted metal, reproduction antiquities and oversized lighting is as seductive as a brat and beer to a Cheesehead.
The store has recently gone through a major renovation and expansion. The staircase leading to the lower level has been closed off but two upper floors have been opened up greatly expanding the square footage of the store. The merchandising has also expanded in broader directions which in turn extends its appeal.
The industrial urbanism still exists but references to more classic styles are now set under amber glowing lighting enhancing the romanticism of their products. There's a dark brooding quality to the space that is both enticing and a bit scary at the same time.
There are vignettes that could have been inspired by Edgar Allen Poe with fireplaces set ablaze and distressed leather sofas, a bust of a Greek god staring back at you from atop the mantle.
There's a bit of the curiosity shop mixed in with old black megaphones hiding speakers for you to connect to your iPhone and light fixtures held in check under glass cloches.
One of my favorite things to do is to walk up and down the three story staircase that is a hall of mirrors where you can sometimes catch yourself fading into infinity.
The only downside to their beautiful product line is the scale. So many of the pieces seemed designed for the spacious living of the California coast rather than the tiny quarters most New Yorkers are holed up in. As much as I'd like a twelve foot sectional to lounge around on I can barely fit a full size bed into our seven foot wide bedroom.
The end of the month is to see a whole new line coming to the first floor of their Fifth Avenue flagship store. The line is simply called Modern and I can't wait to see it

In the wake of the shootings in Oregon MSN posted a report online along with this picture of one of the survivors of the shooting.
Another story during the week was the possible discovery of the grave of the woman who is supposed to have posed for DaVinci's Mona Lisa. There was such a strong similarity to me I wanted to post it. Perhaps the spirit of the Mona Lisa was released into this young man's being with her discovery. Like an opening of the Ark of the Covenant the spirit within her grave released to save a young man's soul. She certainly gave him her smile, and maybe that's the mystery behind it.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the cheesehead reference! Seems like so much of both places are about providing you with the trappings of experiences you've never had.