Nickey Kehoe’s New York Home Store Is Full of Warmth, Vintage and Bohemian Treasures

Los Angeles-based home designers Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe have come full circle, opening a new store in a historic, 4,000-square-foot Greenwich Village brownstone. It’s a homecoming for the pair who met at a dinner party in New York City in the early 2000s when he was a retail designer for Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren, and she was working in hotel design for Starwood Group.

The designers formed a partnership and launched their brand in L.A. in 2004, where they’ve remained somewhat under-the-radar compared to the city’s celebrity design gurus, eschewing TV offers and mass market brand collaborations to focus on building their business more discreetly.

Blending vintage and bohemian influences with an approachable comfort and warmth, they’ve designed homes for Sarah Paulson, Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffalo, Suzanne Goin and others, as well as stores for Doen.

They’ve created signature pieces under their own label such as the Spindle Back Viewing Chair, Tuxedo Sofa, Scallop Sconce and String Pendant Lamp, and curated retail boutiques in L.A. and now New York that are must-shops for the fashion and design crowds, whether they are browsing one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, or gifts like hand-painted floral taper candles, Astier de Villatte incense holders and Grainne Morton earrings.

The New York space, located at 49 East 10th Street, is decorated like a home, naturally, with a parlor, sun room, salon, outdoor garden and a marketplace of household gifts. About 70 percent of the business is trade, and the rest is shoppers and enthusiasts.

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Nickey Kehoe New York

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“Because of our meeting point and shared experience…when shopping used to be amazing, pre e-commerce and Instagram, we’re using that era and the time of discovery, joy and point of view as our reference,” Kehoe said of curating the retail spaces.

In New York, a pair of Swedish Biedermeier stools, French Deco bucket chairs and a French leather two-drawer chest are among the chic vintage offerings.

They buy vintage twice a year in Europe, and have a trip planned to Japan in September. “We try to buy a big mix and New York opens up even more opportunity for a different style,” Nickey said.

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Nickey Kehoe New York

Kate S Jordan

Where did they get their eye? “Polo was such a big part of it, it just felt like a boot camp for finding an aesthetic and then so many aesthetics within an aesthetic,” said Nickey of working at Ralph Lauren. “I loved doing the windows, and I started there when it wasn’t a public company so money was no object. We were given the clothes then were able to create the backdrop and figure out where these people lived and vacationed.”

“I worked for Laura Kirar who was really an artist, very boutique, and I got to be part of a process where she considered everything custom. She made all of her furniture for the most part, and made the lighting, so that was an interesting foundation for not buying things off the shelf,” Kehoe said.

When they got to L.A., the design scene was smaller — Kelly Wearstler’s Hollywood Regency style reigned, and Joel Chen, Blackman Cruz and Peter Dunham were the big dealers.

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Nickey Kehoe New York

Kate S Jordan

“We got to open in a very gentle time, pre-Instagram, and L.A. is very welcoming of a sort of entrepreneurial passion.…I’m saying this sort of abstractly, but you don’t need references if you’ve got a little bit of talent and a lot of chutzpah, like that’s what Hollywood’s founded on. So people get excited about that kind of energy,” Kehoe said. “We did everything together for probably eight years, and now we divide and conquer.”

They took their time honing their style and introducing their own products. Some of the early hits were a tufted headboard and round coffee table, which morphed into a dining table.

“We released 12 new pieces in the last six months. It’s really interesting to see how it takes a minute sometimes for people to see it number one, even if it’s here, and then use it,” Kehoe said of their slow and steady approach.

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Nickey Kehoe New York Household goods.

They also have a full range of household items, some their own, like iron hardware, enamelware dishes and “Painted Lady” waste bins, and others sourced globally, like Frida Kahlo ceramic wine stoppers by Andrea Kashanipour, and the bestselling hand-painted candles by Esme Saleh. “All stuff that brings little bits of beauty,” Kehoe said.

Next up, they’re refreshing the lobby of Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, working on more residential projects, and continuing to build out their crafting workshops in both stores, which have had customers trying their hand at botanical watercolor painting, lampshade making, plaster casting and more.

And they’ll continue to fly under the radar — by choice. “We’re both very naturally shy and we would rather go with that very slow burn and see what happens, as opposed to try and be something that we’re not,” Nickey said.

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