With the dog days of summer upon us, there is no better time for a road trip to explore your own backyard, and just a few hours north of New York City sits the charming town of Hudson, New York – a decorators absolute dream destination! It’s a town located right on the river and over its 200 plus years of history, it has acquired a remarkable mix of historic architecture – from early Federal houses to grand Victorian manses. The main street, Warren Street, is packed with over seventy antique shops with a scattering of lovely cafes and restaurants strewn about to provide a welcome break from all the shopping. Bring your checkbook and get ready to haggle for treasures!
There are so many great stores with really handsome and unique things, and I can’t list everything I bought (or should have bought!), so here is just a sampling of my trip: First stop was Gottlieb Gallery. This is what an antique shop should be. Carefully curated with a selection of disparate pieces that look amazing together. Who would think that a stuffed monkey, a Regency table and a pair of sconces covered in seashells could all live so happily together! But what I was lusting after was this collection of banded agates that the owner has displayed so perfectly. Each could easily stand on its own with their rich and vibrant colors, or can be shown as a collection like this on a side table or in a study. As a reminder of my week long feature on the 18th Century Grand Tour, I was tempted by this pair of Chelsea hardstone candlesticks. A souvenir picked up by some lucky Brit in the 19th Century, its beauty comes not only from the incredible natural stones, but also from how they have been stacked into columns reminiscent of works from antiquity. And while these were finds in an “antiques store”, they easily fit into a modern home.
The beauty of Hudson is that antique shops neighbor spaces selling mid-century design and shops selling modern decorative objects. At Hudson Home, three floors are filled with contemporary decorative objects for the home. I was instantly hooked by these colorful, ceramic, marbleized koi fish. They’re so whimsical and add just a touch of light-heartedness to a living room. They could be used on a glass cocktail table – I picture one swimming through the bottom among books and the second peering down from the glass top.
Liliandloo is a warren of mazelike rooms in a huge corner building. Their sidewalk was bursting with blooms from mounds of fresh flowers that first caught my eye, but once inside I found not one, but two great finds. First up were a great pair of deco inspired leather club chairs, the Aalbers bullet chair. They are so petite, yet masculine, and their elongated “bullet” like shape keeps them fresh and unusual. And oh so comfortable! If I hadn’t had 20 more shops to hit, I would have spent all afternoon in one!! Then tucked away in one of the rooms upstairs was a set of three nesting tables in white granite and antique brass. This did not set out to be the weekend of natural stones, but I kept coming back to that theme, and the pairing of soft creamy granite with the brass was really chic. And these nesting tables are great in a room because they store carefully out of sight by day and are easy to scatter around a room for cocktails by night!!
Andrew Arrick over at Finch, a recent addition to Hudson, has a gallery hung with contemporary art along with a mix of furniture and decorative accessories. I lost my heart in Hudson, and it was to this superb little Esther lamp: a ceramic base coupled with warm wood, it is locally made which is always a plus. I love that Andrew is helping the community by encouraging and supporting local craftsmen. The lamp has that mid century feel that I love, and would be such a sweet touch on a bedside table or console.
Hudson, New York is a perfect day trip from New York City. You can take the train up the Hudson River, or drive up for the day like I did. Weekends always have something going on (there is also a great auction house, Stair Galleries, which regularly holds weekend sales), but in case you need one more reason to get up there, this last image of the historic plaque on Warren Street says it all: who doesn’t want to say they have seen the first motel converted from a movie theater located in a small community? Haha … I love the self-importance of old towns like Hudson !
image credits: all Richard Rabel for themodernsybarite