out and about :: soho design walk

Katie | March 28, 2012

One of the real highlights of Blog Tour was Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo (otherwise known as ABCDDesign)’s curated design walk around SoHo. With the motto “life is short – eat off the good china,” Amy is a New York based artist, designer and stylist who I was lucky enough to meet during Blog Tour 2011, when a group of mostly US bloggers came to the London Design Festival. The tour was part of a new Modenus initiative called MyCity.

Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo

This is the very lovely Amy

…and this is our map for the walk.

Modenus MyCity with abcddesigns map

We joined the tour at the second stop; Paula Rubenstein (2). Credited with starting the trend for industrial antiques, Paula was once surrounded by antiques shops and is now the only one left in this gentrified corner of New York. Her shop, which has been here for 20 years, is a sky-high emporium of curiosities; each bought simply because she liked it. I found some printing letters (a ‘T’ and a ‘Y’ for thank you cards) that Paula was delighted I would actually use, having  bought them merely for their beauty as objects.

Paula Rubenstein SoHo New York

One of the things I really enjoyed about this tour was being constantly reminded of where we were – as we walked from one stop to the next, yellow taxis, Helvetica Subway signs and the time-worn patina on this public bench all wove themselves into our experience of design in New York.

New York bench

The next stop, just two blocks down Lafayette, was the Canvas Home Store (3), which had a calm understated feel to it, without scrimping on personality. Their strap line; “simple sustainable style” fits them perfectly.

Canvas Home Store

Stop (4) on our itinerary, Calypso St Barth, was across the street and had a wonderfully eclectic collection of products – including the gold piglets below. (And you can just see BlogTourNYC participants Hannah Coleman and Pippa Jameson in the mirror!)

Calypso St Barths

Just along the street and a slight chance in tack; we took in the Clic Bookstore & Gallery (5). A light airy space with a well edited selection of photography (currently The Wild and The Innocent, curated by Jordan Sullivan), books – and stationery to die for!

Clic Bookshop & Gallery

Another snatched snapshot of life in New York…

New York Street Scene

A couple of blocks away, on Crosby and Howard, is Michele Varian (6)…

Michele Varian

…a beautifully curated and styled collection of products. A triplet, Michele grew up in a ‘doer-upper’ and was encouraged to get involved with the renovations, giving her a real sense that if she wanted something, she could make it. This led to career in fashion design and eventually in making and selling home furnishings. She started in textiles, developing her signature style of pillow cases with feature closings, and has recently launched her first wallpaper collection.

Michele Varian Montage

After we’d spotted that three of us (Hannah Coleman, Pippa Jameson and I) were wearing converse shoes and taken a moment to create this colourful shot(!)…

Converse shoes

…we moved on to British store, Ochre (7). All their products are made by individual craftsmen and they describe their style as ‘calm individuality’ and ‘contemporary, understated glamour.’

Ochre door

With this lovely old door, it really was a case of ‘you had me at hello,’ and by this point in the tour the incredibly comfortable sofas were very tempting too!

Ochre sofa

So it was just as well that the next stop was Hastens (8), who very kindly let us loll about in their all-natural beds for a little while!


And it’s always nice to spot an Eames RAR.

Hastens bed and Eames rocking chair

The last stop on our tour was Flair (9), who were showcasing the artwork of Jenna Snyder-Phillips, which I loved, and which complemented their signature black and white backdrop perfectly.


It was a fantastic tour and my thanks go to Amy for putting it together, showing us around and being very patient with us all – a group of 15 design bloggers is about as easy to herd as a group of kittens!

And I know I’ve said it on every post, but I would also like to say thank you to Tim and Veronika from Modenus for inviting me to come along, and to the sponsors: Jenn AirEthan AllenAxorMieleBlancoRotsen FurniturePoggenpohlModern-AireScholtesDu VerreSpirit of SportsBig Ass FansSamuel HeathVitraVictoria and Albert Baths and Wallunica, for making the trip possible.

Sights and sounds of NYC streets

Further reading for the especially geeky:

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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