My mom and I went on a mother-daughter trip to New York City at the end of May. She had a few business things to do there. Let’s just say I went along as her “assistant.” We didn’t have much of an agenda for the adventuring part of our trip since we are both more go-with-the-flow type girls who find joy in spontaneity and stumbling upon things—serendipity is a thing and it seems to happen to us a lot. We did, however, plan a day to explore Soho. Being art and design lovers, we knew it was a must see. One of my favorite places that we stumbled upon during our Soho exploration was Roman and Williams Guild.
When we first walked down Howard Street, I noticed a store front on the corner that looked so idyllic, almost as though it came out of one of those romantic illustrations from a children’s book where everything looks perfect in the utopian world that it portrays. It had a blue façade, with garlands drooping around each window; it especially stood out in a place like New York City. Once we got closer, I peaked through the window and instantly knew it was a place of warmth and beauty. Without thinking twice, I opened the door and announced “We’re going in!”
Inside I discovered Roman and Williams Guild. Artisan goods, lick-your-fingers-it’s-so-good food, books that are interesting AND good looking, and flowers, lot’s and lot’s of flowers—my definition of heaven. It’s a place where everything is so beautifully intriguing that you can’t help but touch everything just to make sure it’s real and not just an imagination. I think they know their store has this effect on people, because they do in fact encourage you to go ahead and touch what you see!
Roman and Williams Guild is the creation of Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, a husband-and-wife design duo. The Guild showcases their own furniture and lighting design as well as work of artists and craftsmen from around the world who capture the same type of simple yet complex design that resembles and celebrates much of the natural world. The Guild includes French Chef Marie-Aude Rose’s La Mercerie and floral designer Emily Thompson’s shop. The space brings the beauty of the countryside’s natural effortless beauty in combination with the skilled techniques and ideas created by artisans; it is a place where nature and culture meet, an escape from the city without even leaving its perimeters. Whether you are there to experience the tastes and flavors offered from the kitchen of La Mercerie, enjoy the season’s blooms and greens at Emily Thompson’s store, take a journey through one of the large and adventurous Phaidon books, or touch, feel, and maybe even buy the beautiful goods displayed in the store, the Guild is the perfect place to just be. I won’t give away too much, because part of the experience is to go on your own journey of discovery, just make sure to make your way past the delicious food at some point, through the store and downstairs!
The Guild is located on Fifty Three Howard Street, on the corner of Mercer Street in SoHo, New York City.