Guest Blog: USA Edition – Where the Designers Shop!

to 10px; WIDTH: 226px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 227px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Guest Blogger La Reine, author of the tres populaire blog She’s Shopping Now, is back again on the beat in NYC, bringing you insider information on:


Tata from me, The Antiques Diva™, and Bonjour from La Reine of She’s Shopping Now!


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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Décor aficionados always want to know where the pros shop: those secret, insider places for those in the know, where designers always score the best finds. And those places that don’t have that nasty little sign “To The Trade Only”.

I was lucky enough to be sent on assignment by The Antiques Diva™ to meet with Fran Reilly, of Iconic Antiques and Modern, at her showroom in Center44. Center44? Never heard of it! But now I, too, am in the know…and soon you will be as well!

Center44 is an NYC antiques and vintage home decor showroom somewhat hidden in midtown – East 44th Street in the historic Creative Arts Building – on the 2nd floor of a building whose main signage proclaims “Rachel Ray Show”: it’s where the show is taped. But take the elevator up to 2, and welcome to a massive showroom filled with a diverse collection of antiques and vintage pieces from over 75 international dealers.

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Any time I enter an antiques store, my first look is to see what works for me; then my eyes can refocus to find pieces for whomever I’m shopping with. Immediately my eye lust was satisfied: Fran first walked me to her booth, where the walls sparkle with glitzy gilded mirrors, one of my personal weaknesses. After we dropped our coats (on a pair of gorgeous zebra-print armchairs), Fran toured me through the showroom filled with attention-grabbing vignettes: stylized room settings; glowing eclectic, modern and traditional lighting; accessories ranging from filigree crosses to Bohemian crystal to French tower clocks to evening bags; and furniture in every imaginable style and pedigree from 19th century antiques to post-war modern to Chinese antiquities…and a whole lot more.

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I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Paul Plumadore and Jim Tindell, the founders and owners of Center44, who after a lifetime in the creative and antiques world opened Center44 just a few years ago. There couldn’t be two nicer guys – I could listen to Jim’s hospitable southern drawl all day. And hospitality is all part of the Center44 experience. I’m not a decorator, I’m a shopper. And while there are plenty of decorators cruising the aisles, clipboard in hand, the public is graciously welcomed to shop there too.

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Which decorators shop there, you might ask? Do the names Bunny Williams, Nate Burkus, Kelly Wearstler, Albert Hadley, Amy Lau mean anything to you? You’d never heard of Center44 either? Then we haven’t been paying attention: since its opening, Center44 has received great media press, including Architectural Digest, New York Magazine, O at Home, the New York Times, and TimeOut New York: there’s a whole wall full of framed accolades. In fact, Nate Berkus is such a fan he not only named it one of his favorite places to shop, he also dragged a camera crew in there and featured it on the tv show E! News!

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But don’t be intimidated by the names and caché: Center44 is welcoming and easy to explore, especially with my shopping companion Fran and my hosts Jim and Paul. Take your time, look around: there’s a new story at every turn, and a new temptation in every step.

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Center44 services include:

  • an extensive website with detailed descriptions (including photos and prices) of their inventory, dealer listings, press, and portfolio projects
  • a weekly newsletter The Shout Out that profiles new pieces, dealer events, and industry news …plus some fun tidbits from Jim and Paul
  • on-site furniture and art restoration

The details:

222 East 44th Street
New York, NY 10017
Monday-Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Phone (212) 450-7988 Fax (212) 450-7975

What else caught la Reine’s eye at Center44? Take a peek at her blog ShesShoppingNow for more drool-worthy finds!

Guest Blogger & The Diva of The Day!

La Reine
Author of She’s Shopping Now

(seen right Shopping in Berlin)