May 16 2010
Most design fans in Manhattan are familiar with Las Venus, the mod furniture specialist store which has an outpost at ABC Home, the upscale interiors store. However, I find that the vintage pickings there are thin, and the prices high; it’s a selection tailored to the casual browser, rather than the serious buyer. So whenever I need a new piece of furniture I skip ABC Home and stroll over to Las Venus’s original locations, two ratty storefronts on the Lower East Side.
Neither is inviting – at one, the basement’s ceilings are so low and the smell so musty, it’s intimidating to even venture down. But the impressive haul of top-notch vintage furniture is too enticing. There are $100 end tables next to 1960s Danish teak credenzas (mostly around $2,500) and even Paul Evans antiques with five-figure price tags.
My first purchase there was a spindly, minimal Danish wood-framed sofa from the late 1960s – and I loved everything about it except for the mint-green cushions. The Las Venus staff quickly steered me to an upholsterer who could recover it in wacky white vinyl for a very reasonable price. Five years on, it still looks as if it’s just been borrowed from the set of Alfie – if only I could master Michael Caine’s swagger as easily.