I always say inspiration can be found everywhere! And inspiration was just what I found when I walked into ShiShi, a darling boutique full of undiscovered treasures located just down the block from my Robin Baron Design offices on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though the cool window display initially pulled me into the store, I quickly found myself enchanted by the decor! Each element in the space, from the plush red sofas, to the standing fitting rooms and unique pieces of repurposed furniture, lends itself to a French salon style. For me, the highlight is a vintage dresser, repurposed for a new life as a check-out counter!
The owner, Yael, gave me the eco friendly backstory: The floor boards and much of the wood shelving was salvaged from a photo shoot the store’s designer, David Arrieta, had been a part of. The wall overhang was covered with Lady Gibson wallpaper to call attention to the shop’s unique architecture. The fitting rooms are hand-carved from rounded hutches and covered with vintage fabric from the 1800s.
For the register area, Yael and her husband knew they did not want to build a table; they were on the hunt for something pre-existing. A Craigslist search turned up a curvaceous dresser from the 1800’s that fit the bill, literally and figuratively. The owner was giving it away! (The owner, and many of her friends, are now frequent customers.)
Yael and Arrieta got to work transforming the dresser, once full of scratches, rough patches, and stains, into a trompe-l’oeil delight. From the front, a stylish French-inspired dresser delightfully fits with the rest of the store’s French salon decor.
From the top, a glass display case was cut to display ShiShi’s collection of jewelry.
Around back, a set of drawers was installed to store everything necessary for a functioning cash register. The original dresser drawers were sealed in the front, the back of the dresser was cut open and new drawers were put in place, allowing entry from behind.
The final touch: Lady Gibson wallpaper now adorns the top of the dresser, making for one pretty purchasing perch.
The shop reminded me of a well-loved home filled with memories, stories, and tales to tell. Repurposing an existing piece of furniture adds character to a space and can act as a source of inspiration for owners and visitors alike! With a vision and a bit of of elbow grease, anything is possible!
ShiShi, 2488 Broadway, (between 92nd St & 93rd St), New York, NY 10025