Furniture | The Reconnoisseur

The store where you can’t help bumping into the furniture

It’s a hidden goldmine of vintage furniture

The store where you can’t help bumping into the furniture

May 16 2010
Mark Ellwood

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.

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