Designer Tips

10 Top Designers Share Their Favorite Cities for Shopping

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Where in the world do interior designers shop? The answers may surprise you. We asked a handful of our favorite design talents to share the cities where they love to hunt for furniture and decor. From a surprising Midwest town to a leading destination for antiques, this list covers some stylish ground. Spoiler alert: Paris was a major favorite.

Grant K. Gibson’s Pick: Paris

Stop by Ladurée for a macaron while you’re shopping on one of Grant K. Gibson’s favorite streets, Rue Bonaparte.

Stop by Ladurée for a macaron while you’re shopping on one of Grant K. Gibson’s favorite streets, Rue Bonaparte.

When it comes to decor shopping, Paris has stolen the heart of San Francisco­-based designer Grant K. Gibson. “I love the flea markets,” he says, “especially the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen et Clignancourt. It’s a massive collection of individual markets, so I particularly recommend the Marché Paul Bert.”

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“On my last trip, I hand-carried a starburst mirror in my suitcase for a client. Last spring I did a huge buying trip and filled a client’s home in San Francisco with vintage ’70s French and Italian furnishings.”

What was your favorite find?

“After months and months of searching for the perfect coffee table for my own living room, my partner and I located a pair Guy Lefevre for Maison Jansen tables out of the corner of our eyes. They were exactly what we were looking for. In all truth, we had purchased another coffee table the day before and thought we were done. Clearly we were not!”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

“I love exploring Le Marais—literally, ‘the swamp’—strolling up and down the smaller streets. I’ve discovered so many unique vendors, art galleries, and artisans there. Also Galerie Patrick Seguin for the best selection of Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret, and the second floor of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche is great for furnishings and accessories.

“Stroll over to Rue Bonaparte from Boulevard Saint-Germain toward the Seine for furniture stores, bookshops, galleries, and fabric showrooms, such as Nobilis, to see the latest trends in fabrics.”

Timothy Whealon’s Pick: London

One of Timothy Whealon’s favorite stops is Alfies Antique Market on Church Street in Lisson Grove, London.

One of Timothy Whealon’s favorite stops is Alfies Antique Market on Church Street in Lisson Grove, London.

New York-based interior designer Timothy Whealon tells us his favorite city in the world to shop for furniture and decor is London.They have a wide variety, from 20th-century pieces to contemporary furniture to great English antiques,” he says. “You can find everything.”

What was your favorite find?

“I love looking for old textiles in London. I always find the most amazing pieces. My latest find was a beautiful early 20th-century multicolored crewel-embroidery piece.” 

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

“I love exploring all the shops in Alfies Antique Market, as well as all the other shops along Church Street. Another one of my favorite areas is Pimlico Road, which has a wide collection of items from new and bespoke to contemporary to timeworn English antiques. I’m always sure to visit Soane when I’m in London, as well as Hemisphere, Rose Uniacke, Jamb, Howe, and Christopher Hodsoll.”

Some of Jeff Andrews’s favorite shops are just a hop and a skip away from the iconic pink Paul Smith building.

Some of Jeff Andrews’s favorite shops are just a hop and a skip away from the iconic pink Paul Smith building.

Jeff Andrews’s Pick: Los Angeles

Celebrity interior designer Jeff Andrews says his home city of Los Angeles is his number-one for shopping. “I have my finger on the pulse of all the exciting things going on,” he says. “Having friends in my favorite shops to keep me up-to-date on all the latest finds is incredible, plus Los Angeles has an amazing history of manufacturing the best furniture.”

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“Los Angeles is the perfect city to shop for accessories and decorative accents of all kinds—from objets to throws to art. As I mentioned, Los Angeles is also a hub of American furniture manufacturing. My own collection for A. Rudin, which is all bench-made and upholstered, is made just outside downtown L.A. Proximity is especially important when you are designing custom pieces for a design project, so that you can check on the progress and work directly with the makers to ensure that the final product is exactly what you need.”

What was your favorite find?

“Handmade pottery is something that I collect personally. My favorite artist is Adam Silverman, based in L.A., who makes beautiful ceramic art pieces.”

 

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

Garde is one of my absolute favorites for decorative objects, art pieces, and beautiful textiles. They have a very well curated shop with the best international and local finds. TableArt is a go-to stop for everything under the sun for tabletop at every price point. In particular, I love their selections of glass and crystal and organic tableware and flatware. Blackman Cruz has exceptional and artistic vintage finds, as well as new collections of statement lighting and furniture. Twentieth has a well-rounded offering of furniture and lighting by local and international designers. They offer cool modern pieces that work well with my aesthetic.”

Disc Interiors’ Pick: Copenhagen

Hay is a must-visit spot in Copenhagen for the Disc Interiors duo.

Hay is a must-visit spot in Copenhagen for the Disc Interiors duo.

Design power duo Krista Schrock and David John Dick of L.A.-based Disc Interiors have found great success when shopping in Copenhagen, they tell us. And it’s no surprise, as the Danish city is heralded as a mecca for design-lovers.

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“We love to shop for vintage pieces from Scandinavian designers we admire like Børge Mogensen, Axel Einar Hjorth, and Kaare Klint.”

 What was your favorite find?

“A very rare cane-and-white-oak cabinet by Hans Wegner.”

 What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?
The Apartment. It is a high-concept shopping experience that showcases 20th-century furniture (new and vintage), contemporary art, and design, housed in a restored 18th-century apartment in the charming neighborhood of Christianshavn. Klassik is the best of the best when it comes to vintage Scandinavian design.

Illums Bolighus is another high-concept shop where everything is arranged as if one lived there, able to interact with each piece as if it’s art—a mix of contemporary design and reissued pieces from some of our favorite designers.

“For contemporary and stylish Scandinavian design, visit Hay. It’s a great place for gifts, accessories, and rugs. The space is on the top floor of a gorgeous 18th-century building with a wonderful view of the pedestrian square, Storkespringvandet. And to cap all this shopping off, stop for a well-made drink at the überstylish Ruby cocktail bar. We had the Paloma, and it was life-changing!”

Suzanne Kasler tells us the Paris flea markets are where she finds the most fabulous antiques, objects, and accessories.

Suzanne Kasler tells us the Paris flea markets are where she finds the most fabulous antiques, objects, and accessories.

Suzanne Kasler’s Pick: Paris

Atlanta-based designer Suzanne Kasler tells us Paris is also her favorite city to shop and find inspiration. “The shops are always very original, filled with unique pieces… It is really amazing what you can find there if you take the time to look and really be inspired.”

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“The Paris flea market is where I always find the most-fabulous antiques and interesting objects and accessories. I have found so many of my favorite and most special pieces there, from 17th– and 18th-century one-of-a-kind chairs to beautiful benches and amazing artwork. It is a wonderful place for me as a designer to explore and shop.”

What was your favorite find?

“A beautiful parchment piece signed by Ramsey that we just used in the dining room we designed for the Southeastern Showhouse in Atlanta.”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

“The Paris flea market. Designers love it because people from all over the world shop there. Every time I go, there is something that I am inspired by that is so different than the time before. There are always one-of-a-kind pieces you can find, which end up becoming the pieces that make our projects more unique.

“Also, the shops on the Left Bank. I love the mixture of antique, vintage, and modern small boutique shops, with the most special, unique, and fabulous things! I always love going into the Dries Van Noten store there; I get ideas from all of the boutique stores that are around it!”

Lauren Geremia’s Pick: New York

From the Upper East Side (pictured) to SoHo, New York City offers some of the world’s greatest shops.

From the Upper East Side (pictured) to SoHo, New York City offers some of the world’s greatest shops.

Bay Area interior designer Lauren Geremia prefers the East Coast, New York City specifically, when it comes to shopping. “It’s one of the more international cities for design and art in the U.S.,” she says.

 What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“I love to shop for salvage and vintage pieces in New York. Contemporary art and furniture from up-and-coming designers. I make a yearly trip out for the International Furniture Fair, which coincides with Frieze art fair.”

What was your favorite find?

“We purchased a beautiful work of art by Jeff Zimmerman for one of our clients last year from R & Company. The piece hangs in their formal living room and inspired the design for the entire space.”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

Egg Collective. It’s known for contemporary furniture made with high-quality materials that patina well and will last a lifetime. Patrick Parrish for artistic accent pieces, both vintage and contemporary. Matter is one of the best resources for established contemporary furniture designers. The Future Perfect represents some of our favorite lighting designers and a great resource for all sorts of interesting furniture and accessories, and Olde Good Things is a great shop for finding salvage lighting, furniture, and architectural elements.”

Geysir is one of Brian Patrick Flynn’s favorite shops in Reykjavík.

Geysir is one of Brian Patrick Flynn’s favorite shops in Reykjavík.

Brian Patrick Flynn’s Pick: Reykjavík

Georgia-based interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn recently bought a home in Iceland, so it’s no surprise he named Reykjavík his favorite shopping town. “It’s so fun to shop there because it’s all pedestrian, remarkably safe, and packed with views of the Atlantic Ocean and arctic snowcapped mountains,” he says.

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“Overall Reykjavík is excellent for small items like throw blankets, pillows, accessories, and modern art. Furniture there is stunning, but the exporting costs back to the States are so high that it becomes impractical.”

What was your favorite find?

“Tartan blankets made from the wool of Icelandic sheep. There’s tons of them, and they’re so unique and packed with organic texture and gorgeous bright colors.”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

Geysir is my favorite store because everything is such a blend of masculine and feminine that it feels tailored for the modern-day design enthusiast. I love their blankets, and I also love their leather goods. Farmers Market is excellent for taxidermy and vintage goods like old leather suitcases.

“Overall, I cannot go from one place to another without stopping into Lemon, which is a gorgeously designed local chain of green juice bars that also offers really healthy sandwiches and salads as well as coffee. Joe & the Juice is also a must, as they are famous for their incredible smoothies that are remarkably addictive.”

The Broadway Market is one of Abigail Ahern’s favorite spots for discovering new designers.

The Broadway Market is one of Abigail Ahern’s favorite spots for discovering new designers.

Abigail Ahern’s Pick: London

London-based interior designer Abigail Ahern, a shop owner herself, tells us her hometown has to be her favorite, “purely because of the choice, from vintage markets to high-end stores to independent retailers.” It’s a city “full of surprises. You can literally find anything and everything—not to mention the area around where I live, in East London, is the coolest design hub with lots of start-ups and markets.”

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“I look for pieces that instantly resonate with me and make my heart skip a beat, whether that’s fantastic lighting or a cool sofa. It matters not if it’s vintage or contemporary; it just has to tell a narrative and tantalize.”

What was your favorite find?

“Two lounge-y ’70s chairs I picked up at Kempton antiques market for £60 each and then reupholstered.”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?
Pimlico Road, just off Sloane Square, has long been established as an area of individual retailers, galleries, and antiques stores. It’s pricey but for inspiration and for finding that one-off piece it’s my go-to area to potter. Ochre, which happens to be located in the Pimlico design district, has amazing pieces with their unique spin. Think little tables wrapped up in buttery leather, beautiful chandeliers, and sofas to die for.

Bert & May is fabulous for flooring and encaustic tiles, kitchens, and bathrooms. Their barge hotel is also anchored outside—highly recommended. Labour and Wait is a mecca for quality everyday products like beautiful glasses or saucepans, beeswax candles, and string in the heart of East London. Petersham Nurseries is one of the coolest nurseries on the planet. As well as plants there’s a Michelin-star restaurant and a cool selection of antiques, home goods, books, and scented candles; I could potter all morning.”

Martha Angus’s Pick: Paris

Marché Paul Bert, the world’s largest antiques market, is a favorite of Martha Angus.

Marché Paul Bert, the world’s largest antiques market, is a favorite of Martha Angus.

If you’re not yet convinced to book a flight to Paris (with a spare empty suitcase), Bay Area designer Martha Angus also tells us that when it comes to shopping for furniture and decor, it’s her top pick.

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“Absolutely everything! Case pieces, seating, lighting, and quirky objects.”

What was your favorite find?

“A vintage 1950s metal flower-display stand painted a grassy green, found while trolling Les Puces. I use it as a piece of sculpture.”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend?

Marché Serpette inside at Rue des Rosiers and Rue Paul Bert. It’s a treasure trove for chic furniture and accessories. A bonus is that they also sell vintage Hermès bags. Outside is Marché Paul Bert. International design trends start here. The furniture hails from the ’50s through ’80s. Don’t miss the Philippe Stark­-designed restaurant Ma Cocotte. And by all means, hit the all-white bathroom on the lower level.”

Trip Haenisch’s Pick: Kansas City

Giving the Midwest some prime time, Los Angeles-based Trip Haenisch tells us his favorite city in the world to shop for home decor is his hometown of Kansas City. Who knew?

What sorts of pieces do you look for there?

“All kinds of furniture and artwork, both traditional and modern.”

What was your favorite find?

“My Memphis-style tawaraya [boxing ring] by Masanori Umeda.”

What stores or shopping locations do you recommend? 

Christopher Filley is modern meets Old World with a fantastic, eclectic, quirky mix. Nufangle Antiques has a great collection of unique European antiques and unexpected objects, and at Retro Inferno, Rod Park curates a fantastic collection of midcentury pieces.”

Read more from tastemakers we love →

 

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