a search for the uncommonly beautiful

24 hours in Soho with Jodie Fried

Recently, Armadillo & Co co-founder Jodie Fried was in the Big Apple, working from our newly-opened New York City showroom situated in the heart of the Flatiron District. While she was there, she hit up SoHo and its surrounds; a hip, bustling enclave in Lower Manhattan known for its historic architecture, art galleries and designer boutiques. Read below to discover Jodie’s top spots and favourite haunts.

Exploring BDDW

BDDW is a must for any interior design lover. As soon as you step into the labyrinth-like showroom, you can totally see why the company has a cult following. The solid wood furniture, all made by hand, is at once minimalist and rustic – the kind of pieces you will own forever – and accompanied by exquisite objets d’art, from handmade ceramics to vintage fashion to one-of-a-kind paintings. This is an interiors store like no other – just take a deep breath and enjoy!

Perusing Roman and Williams Guild

Roman and Williams Guild takes retail to a whole new level with a two-storey space that houses The Founding Collection design showroom, French all-day eatery La Mercerie and a florist. At the café, everything from the tableware to the tables is for sale. Diners not only receive a menu but also a dim sum-style card with illustrations of plates, napkins and candlesticks that can be purchased and delivered the same day. How’s that for service?

Popping in to The Primary Essentials

My next destination is one of Armadillo & Co’s local NYC stockists. Founder Lauren Snyder is a former fashion stylist and her discerning eye is reflected in a curation of artisanal goods that feels hand-worked without being crafty. Lauren is an advocate for independent design and an expert in advising customers on how to organise, spruce up or completely overhaul their homes. This space, like its Brooklyn counterpart, boasts a considered array of tabletop, ceramics, textiles and stationery.

Lighting jungle at Ochre

A few blocks over is the forever stunning store Ochre, a British brand renowned for its custom light installations crafted from unusual materials like blown glass, chain mail, saddle leather and horsehair. The Broome Street store oozes sophistication, with glamorous chandeliers adorning the ceilings and beautifully refined furnishings lining both walls.

At home with The Apartment by The Line

The entry to The Apartment is not obvious to the general passer-by, as you have to head up a very small elevator to reach it. Once the doors open, you’re greeted by a high-end atelier laid out like a real home (albeit one belonging to someone with enviable taste in fashion and décor). Intimate, storied objects are dotted throughout the space, which unfolds from a monochromatic bedroom complete with freestanding bathtub, to an elegant dining room that doubles as a home office, and finally, a walk-in wardrobe brimming with luxe basics.

Lunch dining at Sant Ambroeus

Lunch is at old favourite Sant Ambroeus, a modern Milanese restaurant on Lafayette. With its classic New York style interiors, the atmosphere is lively and chic (which is probably why it’s a celebrity favourite). The menu puts a contemporary spin on northern Italian cuisine, with signature dishes like vitello tonnato and cotoletta alla milanese.

Scents at Le Labo

Fragrance label Le Labo’s SoHo outlet is soulful and irreverent, with raw materials strewn about in sensory vignettes. Their approach is incredibly personalised, with each bottle freshly blended and hand-labelled in front of the customer – but it is their values that I admire most. The brand is 100% vegan, opting for synthetic fragrances that have been lab-tested on humans instead of animal products.

Pretty in pink at Pietro Nolita

A mid-afternoon slump calls for a visit to the Pinterest-worthy Pietro Nolita, a tiny and very pink Italian restaurant whose candy-coloured stone entryway leads into a blush-tinged boudoir. Inside, everything looks like it is being viewed through rose-coloured glasses, from the walls to the ceiling, tableware, chairs and bank seating. The bathroom received the pink treatment too!

Interior indulgence at Ulla Johnson

Venturing off-track, I divert north to the beautiful Ulla Johnson boutique on tree-lined Bleecker Street. Like the designer’s soft apparel, the interior feels like a tactile celebration of femininity and optimism. I love this store as much for its interiors as for its fashion, with finishing touches provided by artisans near and far, including a bronze door handle by Rogan Gregory, pendant light from Lindsay Adelman, macramé wall hanging by Taynya Aguiñiga and rotating floral arrangements from Saipua.

Blooms at Adore Floral Inc.

Neighbourhood floral studio Adore brings a touch of colour and romance to SoHo’s concrete jungle with an organic flower market feel and a gorgeous selection of rare blossoms, fresh cut greenery and leafy house plants.

Drawing inspiration from Olsen Gruin Gallery 

I stumble across the Olsen Gruin Gallery, slightly off-track in Chinatown. The contemporary art gallery was founded by a trio of fellow Aussies – art dealer Tim Olsen (son of artist John Olsen and brother to Dinosaur Designs owner Louise Olsen) and gallerists Emerald and Adrian Gruin. Despite its pristine presentation, it has a familiar and friendly Australian vibe.

Drinks and dinner at 11 Howard

The day comes to an end with drinks and dinner at Le Coucou. The Parisian restaurant is located within 11 Howard, a boutique hotel known for its “conscious hospitality” – the hotel works with the Global Poverty Project, so every direct booking goes towards fighting inequality around the world. The Scandinavian-inspired bar is perfect for lounging – enjoy the sleek interiors and fabulous cocktails before you head into the restaurant.

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