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Racked Review: Tribbles Home & Garden

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Racked's reviews are penned by Aaron Bernstein, a.k.a. The Shophound. Today, he browses Tribbles Home & Garden in Tribeca.

Photos, Krieger 08/05/07

“Yes, this is where El Teddy’s used to be,” the man behind the counter nearly groaned, but he laughed when we said we never ate there anyway. “You know it had been closed for four years before it was demolished,” he added, “If it was so great, then why wasn’t anyone eating there?” referring to the mini-scandal that erupted when it was discovered that the Tribeca restaurant with the iconic Statue of Liberty crown on its roof was going to be torn down. In its place on the ground floor of a new, modestly-sized residential building is Tribbles Home & Garden, a neighborhood alternative to the vastness of superstores that have become everyone’s first stop for home items.

Two things immediately struck us about the eight-month-old store. The first was the beautifully designed interior in shades of gray and white accented with wood and beautifully textured stacked rock stonework accents. Like a trendy restaurant, the storefront can be opened completely to the street, easily facilitating a late summer sidewalk clearance sale.

The second was the expertly edited selection of merchandise. Sisters Cara Stone Pfeiffer and Elizabeth Rad squeeze a lot of categories in the store by keeping the assortments tight and focused and, remarkably, keyed to the store’s décor. The color range is mostly restricted to black and white with shiny steel and the occasional flash of brown or spring green. In a less well-kept store, it might look limited, but here it gives the impression of a well appointed home whose furnishings you might want to purchase for yourself. To that end, the store also offers custom floral and interior design services.

The point of view here is decidedly clean and modern, pitched to the tastes of the surrounding loft-dwellers in Tribeca. Tribbles should also be remembered as a destination for an excellent selection of gifts under $100, many under $50. Featured brands include Alessi, Bodum, home fragrances from Côte Bastide, Tabletop items from Guy Degrenne and small appliances from Breville and Rowenta.

So El Teddy’s is gone, but in its place we found a business people should actually want to patronize, a far more useful addition to the neighborhood.

What we loved: The high taste level and well edited range of merchandise. It's a one-stop destination without the mind-numbing selection of a huge store. categories include kitchenware, personal care, tabletop, garden, accent furniture, household products and home fragrances. We even saw a few bags of private label coffee.

What it lacked: The garden section, while adding ambiance, seemed to be geared more towards houseplants and window boxes. That seems right for the neighborhood, but more serious gardeners may want to look elsewhere.

Décor: Beautifully realized. The store was designed from raw space in a new building and the owners' interior design background is shown off well.

Service: Friendly and unpretentious