On a recent trip to NYC, I stopped by Décor NYC, a consignment gallery in Chelsea, located at 159 West 25th Street (at Seventh Avenue). You all know, I love a great find. I’m often asked for a referral where to find one-of-a-kind pieces. Décor NYC is a gem. When Bruce Tilley, the owner, agreed to answer a few questions to share with you, I was thrilled.
Q: Bruce thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions about your storefront. Could you give my readers a little background on yourself and how you got started in the consignment business?
B: Wow, time flies! I have been in the home or design business for over 30 years. I started when I was still in High School in rural Pennsylvania. I made a business of buying and selling art deco in the early 70’s. From there, I opened a small men’s boutique with antiques too… I called it High Society!
Then I moved to San Francisco and worked at Wilkes Bashford for 10 years. Eventually I came back East to join Alexander Julian where I worked for 19 years… leaving as President of his Home Division.
In 2008 we had the great financial crash and many lives changed… that is when and what lead me to the luxury home consignment idea.
Q: How would you describe the Décor NYC gallery shopping experience?
B: Décor NYC is a shopper’s utopia, it’s an exhilarating experience especially when you find that very special item and it’s really a true bargain. The continuous introduction of new items inspires our clients. At Décor NYC, you can find custom made pieces originally from the D&D building, or some of the best furniture showrooms throughout Manhattan for a fraction of the price.
Q: I’m hearing that we’re seeing a boom in the consignment business. Is that true and why do you think that is?
B: People are decorating, moving, buying apartments and homes, moving in and out of the city and our clientele doesn’t want to deal with selling one piece at a time online. Our business has been great and continues to grow. Our clients like to see what they’re buying — they want to inspect it themselves. They prefer to know what they are getting rather than purchasing directly from photos online.
Many people rent a storage unit and place their excess furniture there and forget about it! Don’t to that! It’s more lucrative to consign the piece and earn the money rather than letting something depreciate for years on end!
Q: What periods of furniture do you carry?
B: We carry items that range from 18th century antiques to brand-new-and-never-used. We’re selling lots of mid-century and many clients are moving in a modern direction.
Q: Buyers are savvy and they want a great deal. Many do not know the value in purchasing quality furniture. How do you educate the newcomer looking to purchase furniture?
B: Yes, I spent a lot of time in the furniture business and you’re right! Many don’t know what it takes to make a sofa or a chair and why the prices vary from high to low. We spend lots of time trying to enlighten our clients. We explain the difference between a solid hard wood sofa frame that has been eight way hand-tied with down feather cushions versus that of a drop in spring seat and a frame made of fiber board, glue and cheap foam.
Q: As a designer, I encourage my clients to consign or donate furniture pieces they no longer use or want. Could you elaborate on the pros of consignment with you vs. the neighborhood consignment shop? What are a few key tips they need to know?
B: Our specialty is consignment and in New York City, we’re the only shop that is consignment ONLY for furniture. We’re not an antique store that consigns a few pieces here and there. Consignment is our sole focus!
Q: What is your design philosophy?
B: I’m an eclectic kind of guy! I love mixing old with new, clean design with pieces with lots of personality and style. I also am not afraid of color; color brings a room to life when it’s used correctly.
Q: Do you have a favorite period of furniture?
B: I guess I’d say mid-century European…mostly Italian.
Q: What is your favorite room in your home and why?
B: Today I love my living room and it is not about the style or design, it is all about the view! We have an incredible view, something I never had since moving to NYC in 1987.
Q: Do you have a piece of furniture you could not live without?
B: We have a pair of Charles Eames original chairs purchased by a friend in 1957. We cherish them for their design, but also in remembrance of one of our dearest friends.
Thank you, Bruce. It was a pleasure getting to know you. This is why I love my job: meeting people, building relationships and sharing information. Take a peek at Décor NYC. Say hello to Bruce and his friendly staff. The store is located 159 West 25th Street (at Seventh Avenue) (212) 488-4977 or decornyc.com