Rebecca Atwood’s full line of fabrics, wallpapers, pillows and bedding now have a home in NoLIta, alongside the entrepreneur’s favorite makers, including Andrew Molleur ceramics, moon rock vases and swirled colored glass from Balefire Glass and The Shelter Collection glassware. But the space’s fresh, airy vibe is relatively recent: numbering 600 square feet, it was previously was home to Fleur du Mal, a luxury lingerie and clothing brand—the walls were covered with magenta oil paint and lacquer before Atwood and her team got their hands on them.
A labor of love between Atwood and her interior designer friend Kate Hamilton Gray—who is currently a designer at Studio DB—Atwood found the space through her friend Christina Bryant, founder of St. Frank, who was doing a pop-up next door. “We were having dinner in my backyard one evening catching up, and she encouraged me to check it out,” she tells EAL. “We originally thought it would be so great to have stores right next door to one another—but they end up moving to Bleecker Street. I went to see the space assuming I wouldn’t like it, as it’s really hard to find a good small storefront in NYC. Most are long and narrow or have very weird things about the layout, but I went in and immediately saw so much potential.”
Still, the space had its challenges. “It was a lot of work to get the space together—but, had I not worked with [Gray], I’m sure it wouldn’t have come together as easily or as beautifully. When we got the space, it was painted a bright magenta and with oil paint. The walls had to be completely replastered, so that was a challenge. It seemed that pink paint had gotten everywhere! The lighting left a lot to be desired, so we put in recessed lighting in the back and much nicer, clean, white track lighting on the ceiling as well as the beautiful decorative lights from Rosie Li and Allied Maker.”
The shop, which does not have a stock room, also presented storage challenges. “We thought a lot about building in extra storage and ways to make it still look seamless and beautiful. Kate had so many ideas for this. I had a lot of ideas when we first met, but wasn’t sure how to fit everything in. She had an intuitive knack for how things would flow and what made the most sense for the space. She studied furniture design at RISD, where we first met, and you can see her eye for it in all of the millwork pieces she designed and my friend Erik Gonzalez made.”
Were there features from the storefront’s former life that stood out to the designer? “When I first walked into the space, I knew it had so much potential,” Atwood tells EAL. “I also loved the hardwood floors, which are original to the building, and the exposed brick ... and the facade with the big arched doors and brick.”
The location is also key for the formerly Brooklyn-based designer: “We’re a little bit removed from the full-on pace of SoHo but still close by with a good amount of foot traffic. I love the energy in this area right now. We’re on a great block with the boutique Warm right up the street. A little further north, you have Oroboro as well. We’re not far from our friend, The Primary Essentials.... The space itself and the location just felt like the right fit. I’m a big believer that you know when something is the right decision. We still did our due diligence and research of course, but everything with opening this space just felt a little bit like it was meant to be. It also so happens to coincide with our five-year anniversary, which was really nice.”