On the Hunt for the Perfect Piece in NYC and L.A.

A Roundup of the Best Shops for Interior Décor in the Big Apple and City of Angels

We like to view it as design destiny. That fortuitous moment when you discover that the sublime object of your most vivid design vision. Finding the perfect piece can lend a feeling that all is right with the world and everything will just fall into place (within the realm of your next project, at least).

The ideal piece serves as a cornerstone from which a complete motif or design narrative can be created. Falling in design-love is a phenomenal thing. In you step and down you go. It’s as if that Lucite credenza or midcentury wall clock or reclaimed wood coffee table was situated in that very spot of that very shop that, in a strange and mysterious way, beamed a high-frequency siren call from its beautifully curated windows with their promise of endlessly delicious design.

Some destinations more than others are the ideal hunting ground for zeroing in on such covetable design pieces. New York and Los Angeles, to name a few US cities at the top of our list, have long called to those in the know and those who seek to know.

As knowers and seekers ourselves, we rarely turn down the opportunity to recreate that feeling of falling in love with great design. So, with the wanderlust of starry-eyed suitors, we looked to both coasts in search of the perfect piece in two of the most primo design designations. Here’s where we landed and all that we found.

L.A. Longings

With the gorgeous high-desert light and the snowcapped San Gabriels offering a glistening backdrop, Los Angeles can be a dreamy design wonderland to be captivated by. Like a thousand newly discovered starlets roaming a movie lot, the promise of something breathtakingly beautiful could be situated as close as the table next to you. With a wealth of gorgeous design and décor here, it wasn’t difficult to handpick three gems whose showrooms we were fortunate enough to get to visit on our last trip.

MUSH

1617 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

In the decidedly arty neighborhood of Silver Lake lives MUSH, a modern and vintage furniture store brimming with rare conversation pieces curated with love by proprietor Michelle van der Heijden.

Van der Heijden travels the world, handpicking unique pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. One such design is a 1950s lithograph by French artist Paul Guiramand. As van der Heijden explained, “It was hanging in the Los Angeles Knoll showroom when my father started working there, in 1966. In his more than four years working at Knoll, he acquired quite a collection of art, accessories and furniture.”

It’s colorful backstories like these that make entering MUSH less of a shopping trip and more of a cultural experience. Besides great art and furniture, you’ll also stumble upon jewelry, gifts, and an impressive collection of midcentury vintage pottery, predominantly from West Germany and Italy. Exquisite stuff.

Object

6910 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038

Before he opened his own shop on L.A.’s always trending Melrose Avenue, Brian Roark worked at notable New York home-décor establishments Liz O’Brien and J.H. Antiques. The 20th-century design and decorative-arts expert knows his stuff. Roark has an expert eye for small-scale vintage treasures as well as Danish-modern designs, Japanese copper vases, and Scandinavian and German ceramics. On his curating philosophy, Roark theorized, “I find that if I find a piece irresistible, others will too.”

If you’re in L.A. and happen to find yourself in Object, you’ll witness one of the best collections on the West Coast of pieces by Austrian designer and master metalsmith Carl Auböck. If vintage linens get your collector juices flowing, you’ve hit the mother lode of the most comprehensive collection anywhere of table linens by Finnish textile designer Ritva Puotila.

Minimalists will love shopping in the clean, neatly organized setting that allows the pieces to speak for themselves. And, with all the smaller-scale, hand-curated collectibles, Object is an ideal destination for gift shopping.

Huset

1316 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291

Meaning “the house” in Swedish (and Danish and Norwegian), Huset is a treasure trove of the best modern Scandinavian design in Los Angeles. Known for their great design heritage, Scandinavian-style homes use natural materials to create minimalist contemporary looks. Walking into Huset’s pristine Abbot Kinney Boulevard showroom, you learn just what Scandinavian design means—it’s a design philosophy that blurs the line between art and a way of life.

Owners Holly and Per Hallberg (Oscar-winning sound editor for Braveheart, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Skyfall) search for emerging design trends and exciting new designers during frequent visits to Per’s native Sweden. Huset’s collection of over 60 designers includes furniture, objects for the home, textiles, and fine art. From Marimekko runners to Hans Wegner rockers, and even more obscure pieces, like Louise Campbell magnetic vases, even the most discriminating shopper will find a treasure here.

Huset believes that great art and design can be life enhancing. We wholeheartedly agree.

New York Yearnings

In a shimmering sea of design and architecture, there lives a mecca for design lovers ready to bring home their next incredible find. You don’t have to look far for design inspiration in the Big Apple, but you do have to look long and hard because all that design gold is peppered across one pretty hulking land mass. To help you home in on the task of prospecting, we’ve narrowed down a long list to three shops that are must-see spots for unleashing your creative powers.

The Future Perfect

55 Great Jones St. A, New York, NY 10012

Photos by Lauren Coleman, courtesy of The Future Perfect.
Photos by Lauren Coleman, courtesy of the Future Perfect.

The Future Perfect earns its future-perfect status as a showcase for gorgeous design that effortlessly moves gracefully between time and space. The flagship Manhattan store, on Great Jones Street, opened in 2009. It expanded with a San Francisco sister store four years later.

Proprietor David Alhadeff skillfully blends emerging, locally sourced design with unique and special-edition objects and furnishings crafted by established figures in the design world. The showroom itself presents a rich and compelling trove of design inspiration. There truly is something for everyone.

Egg Collective

304 Hudson St. #307, New York, NY 10013

Photos by Hannah Whittaker, courtesy of Egg Collective.
Photos by Hannah Whittaker, courtesy of Egg Collective.

If you’re already comfortably situated in the Village, stop by the gorgeous showroom of Egg Collective, on trendy, spendy (design is one of life’s greatest indulgences, after all) Hudson Street. Relatively new to the retail sphere, designers Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie have already gained an impressive media following. With features in Elle Decor, Interior Design, Metropolis, and Wallpaper*, this talented trio is firmly entrenched at the center of the design world’s radar.

All of Egg Collective’s work is made in its own wood shop and in collaboration with a community of small-scale fabricators. There is an underlying attention to detail, surface, and form that you’ll be impressed by in clean sculptural pieces like side chairs with unexpected hide upholstery and exquisite dining tables that seamlessly combine metal and marble. Egg Collective chooses materials with “live” finishes that reflect the life lived around them. For instance, oxygen, water, oils, and fingerprints result in changes in surface coloration, making each piece unique over time. For design lovers who love one-of-a-kind pieces, your golden egg is waiting.

Matter

405 Broome St. New York, NY 10013

In Manhattan’s charming, upscale design enclave just south of NoLIta lives Matter, a veritable mecca for modern-furniture lovers. Interior designers around the world look to Matter for inspiration and to be a bellwether of the current state of design. The brand is revered as a source for detecting what lies beyond the horizon in design, and it represents a refined selection of national and international contemporary design. A gallery, showroom, and manufacturer, Matter offers home décor by global designers as well as pieces with a definite Big Apple flair. Founder and creative director Jamie Gray collaborates with and represents some of the most innovative, established, and emerging international design talents.

Want More Design Finds?

At Design in Color NYC, we’re always on the hunt for the best local finds in the city. Subscribe to our weekly email and never miss a thing. Looking for marvels from coast to coast? Check out our sister site, DesignInColorLA.com.