Notes From The Field: Just the Right Stuff

March 11, 2013

By Cheryl Katz

About fifteen or twenty years ago at a charming, idiosyncratic shop—the first of many that would soon populate New York’s Lower East Side—Jeffrey and I bought a piece of furniture on impulse, having no idea what we would do with it. The worn, wobbly, wooden box was six feet tall and three feet wide and was lined with four-inch cubbyholes, thirteen rows of them, nine cubbies in each of the rows. The piece, which still resides in our front entry hall—it being too unwieldy to carry up the staircase of a narrow Beacon Hill townhouse when we finally got it home—unwittingly acts as a repository for caps, gloves, mittens and scarves, as well as the detritus of everyday life: the occasional pair of wet socks, unopened mail and a set of keys.

I love this piece not merely for its form or its function, but for the fact of having found something we didn’t know we needed. In fact, that became our modus operandi, our house filling up with pieces just like it—orphans in need of a home. While some people take in stray cats, we seemed to adopt the serendipitous design find.

But lately I’ve been considering changing our idiom. Now, on an almost weekly basis, I look around and ask myself, “What might it be like to live with ten perfect things?”

Jeffrey, who knows me better than anyone, gently refutes this fantasy. He reminds me that I don’t have the kind of restraint necessary for this particular design strategy, or for its lack of happenstance. And he’s probably right.

But if I were to give it a whirl and give up my captivating, if slightly peculiar, haunts for these three perfectly curated shops, chances are even then I could never stop at just ten things.

Photos courtesy of BDDW

Photo courtesy of De Vera

Photo Courtesy of Roman Thomas