Abitare is a breath of fresh air. I discovered the store in Brooklyn Heights one weekend when I went out to buy groceries but came back with a $350 carpet instead! Call me impulsive, but whenever I walk past the shopfront, with its white-washed interior and pops of colourful things for the home, I have to go inside.
The carpet that led me astray was a hand-woven runner with an Indian motif in hot pink (the one under the table, above, is the Martini runner) by Madeline Weinrib. It typifies Abitare’s light-hearted look: functional, classic pieces with clean lines and touches of global influence.
Lizzie Hand and Joanne Esposito, who opened Abitare in August 2006, source their items from all over the world. They were the first store in New York City to carry a range of hand-loomed table, kitchen and bath linens from Tuscany (Bergdorf Goodman are said to be following suit) and a collection of inlaid wooden boxes, also from Italy.
The charcoal ‘Alphabet’ pillow in the picture above, surrounded by cushions from Hable Construction, is made in India by Abraham & Thakore, whose embroidered and felted designs have been on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum. These whimsical felt egg cosies come from Germany.
And while your egg is warming, you may want to sip your OJ from one of these gorgeous tumblers from Mexico – talk about an inter-continental breakfast!
Tea towels and aprons from our very own Skinny laMinx will soon be available too.
Almost everything that Joanne and Lizzie have in the store can be ordered in various colours, finishes and sizes. They have tons of fabric samples for upholstery, drapes and bedding, and offer the full range of Sandy Chilewich placemats and floor coverings as well as the chenille and metallic ranges of Madeline Weinrib rugs.
They now offer a wedding registry too, and if I had impending nuptials, I’d love to choose from their well-edited collection of desirable things. My carpet needs some company.