Shop of the Week: Erie Basin

There are a few places that have always made me want to swipe clean the interior-decorating slate of my apartment and start all over: Ted Muehling on Howard Street, Arp in Los Angeles and, now, Red Hook's Erie Basin. It's got everything I never knew I wanted and more. Proprietor Russell Whitmore doesn't display jewelry and antiques so much as curates them, creating compositions with a twist. Everything is perfectly, preciously in place. (But what's with that little porcelain dog on the radiator?) An assortment of wrenches, a framed black-and-white nude photo and a set of silver-plated corn holders all manage to live in harmony under a collection of Vulcanite chains (Victorian mourning jewelry). It's all in his mix: antique hair jewelry; a leather necklace with lazer cuts that resemble Chinese cutouts by Colette favorite Shaoo; a bat ring with glittering marquisite eyes by Vivienne Westwood accessories designer Laurent Rivaud; an old industrial eyewash glass; and local designer Paul de Blassie's impossibly lightweight titanium line of jewelry. Whitmore, a self-proclaimed "sucker for ebonized finishes," sets his baubles, bric-a-brac and neoclassical furniture against a simple backdrop space with white walls and a glossy black floor. The only decorative touch that stands out is Whitmore's desk -- a black clapboard construction supported by what looks like a tree branch covered in nails (his touch). "I have good luck foraging in dusty antique shops," says the 26-year-old Chicago-area native. Suddenly while visiting, I must have several sets of tiny English brass candlesticks. Yes, he even manages to make brass look cool. 388 Van Brunt St., Red Hook, Brooklyn, (718) 554-6147. Sarah Verdone

Photo by Pierce Jackson

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