Remodel Journal 15 — My Hobby is Furniture Shopping Period

I guess I can officially put ‘furniture shopping’ on my resume… apparently it has now officially overpassed my interests to museums and clothing shopping.

I was in San Francisco last Sunday and New York this Sunday, and I thought I was set out to visit the SOMA in these two cities. The truth is, I spent these two consecutive Sundays on different furniture shops in SF and NY.

And one thing I realized that was, I wasn’t really shopping for my home: I was just simply shopping for fun.

I am not doing this cause I have a duty to fulfill, but instead, I have an interest to express.

Like everything else, I should write them down, in case you or anybody else have this crazy hobby as I do, and they could use a list to go down (or tour the city).

Something I learned in my new hobby: the areas where most of the interesting (not the mass production kind) furniture stores locate are usually the places which expresses the characteristics of a city the most, cause ultimately it’s the people, the people who live there ‘consume’ the color, the shape and the tastes embodied in those furniture pieces.


I started with going down this list. The interactive map and the description of each store really helped. I soon recognized most of the stores I would like to visit are in the following three areas: Brooklyn, Williamsburg and SoHo. Other areas, either too far (queens) or out of my budget (upper east).

Stop 1: a no-name gallery+cafe+clothing store

First stop was purely unintentional. All of the sudden, the whole city started to rain, and I was trying to find a place to step in for a while. And this place popped up on the side of the road. The bar stool immediately caught my attention. Later I found out where they were made, the price was way beyond I could imagine.

The place also have a nice cute reading area:

Stop 2: West Elm Market

Usually we heard of West Elm way too often, but the West Elm Market store is a place for them to sell mostly small home accessories and kitchen stuff, not so much about furniture. The only West Elm Market place in CA is in San Diego, which made me want to visit this one in Brooklyn even more.

The store was actually okay, the only thing that caught my attention was these reclaimed wood panels which we were planning to use for our kitchen island as well. Also the red lights they had throughout the store was quite nice.

Stop 3: A Poetry Shop!

Too artistic. I totally went in thought it was just a regular book store, until someone sitting in the back of the room started to read poems…

Stop 4: Mark Jupiter

This is where I found the home for those nice bar stools.

The guy who is the owner of the store and the carpenter himself is just cutting the wood material in a spot facing the street. Similar philosophy for any craft man who would like attract more business.

There are also a few nice tables throughout his store. Just cause I knew way too many wooden table’s prices now (thanks to Statuswood), so this man’s price did surprise me. His price for an oak table shown as below was $12,000, almost 8 times more expensive than the quote we got from the bay area. The barstool in the front was sold for $650 each.

This insane, I whispered to myself …

It is art, so in theory you can charge however you want, as long as the creator thinks the pieces deserve the price.

But still, 8 times more expensive?

A lot of the pieces were also marked as sold in his store; not to mention there is a 16–18 weeks waiting time for his work. I guess people in New York are both rich and truly appreciate his work.

I thought the pendant lighting above was nice, until I knew their prices were $2000 … unbelievable.

Stop 5: A&G Mersh

This one is a bit disappointing. This store is the main reason I came to Williamsburg. However the items in the store were mediocre, also quite pricy:

One thing that caught my attention was this reclaimed wood console table. Still very pricy ($999), but at least I would know where I can use it. Right next to the dining table, we can put it against the wall dividing dining and living, to make it a small display area.

Stop 6: Some Williamsburg’s Condo Showroom

A surprise I didn’t expect, but I really really liked their simple design style. It’s all white+grey+black, and very occasionally dark brown. It’s very challenging to suppress the urge to put colors in. But if you successfully manage to do that, you can actually accomplish a lot more than putting the colors in.

Stop 7: Beam

A small store full of witty sarcasms and surprises:

I was thinking … dining room can have a wall looks like this … except for we may need to down tune the content of those plates, haha

I ended up buying a poster and a few cup cushions from this store.

Stop 8: Just a random lobby

Beautiful decor from a random building lobby i entered:

And some random doors. Feels like it just smiled at me, and i had to take a photo of it:

Stop 9: Cosmo Lighting

The style was too classic, and they didn’t have AC, so i was all sweating. Came out in 5 mins …

Stop 10: Goods for the Study

The official name should be Picture Room for McNally Jackson. There are two parts of this store: one sells posters and the other for stationaries.

I probably spent 30 mins here trying out different stationaries that I will probably never use (cause i have my keyboard and laptop) … but it’s just simply, it’s feels so enjoyable. Their pens and paper just click so well, and I have never had such a smooth experience writing on a paper.

And, of course, their cheapest pen was above $20, and an average one was like $45…

I did notice a lot of their stuff was from Japan.

Stop 11: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Looks like a brand with chain stores, their selections were… in terms of price and quality, probably I would rank as medium: somewhat impressive, but quite pricy, so hard to make any actual purchases here:

Kind of like this wall color. Haven’t thought of this light greyish-green before, but could look nice:

This set feels interesting. Liked the Chinese characteristics of it. Another dining area idea :)

Stop 12: Canvas Home

Some of their plates look like the old ones from China during the cultural revolution period when factories don’t have the resources and money to make porcelain and have to use enamel instead.

This store, on the other hand, seemed to be quite proud of their enamel design :)

I wonder if people would ask me, how did i find these in IKEA, if they saw these at my home. I have to then tell them the story of how I actually found these in SoHo new york… way too much work, forget it.

Stop 13 Dwell Studio

Feels like a high-end West Elm.

Table with walnut veneer. Gosh, i even know what ‘veneer’ means now …

Was considering these sheets, but the ones I liked were not on sale …

Stop 14!!! Last Stop for the Day: Dinner Biang Noodles

Uber to this restaurant in east village.

The noodles were impressive only after I asked them to double the amount of pepper and oil in it…

Too late in EST. Still need to get up for work (in EST) tomorrow morning.

Will save the SF furniture shopping stories for next article on Medium.

And speaking of the remodel project progress: successfully passed the first inspection! (Yay), except for had to wait for two days just for the inspector to get back to us. So Chien had two easy days last week, and just started putting the dry wall up in the kitchen.

The next step is to install the cabinets. Can’t wait for the new cabinets to shine our kitchen!