Thursday, October 14, 2010

☞ BESPOKE: Custom Wood Storefronts

When walking along some of the great brownstone neighborhoods of the city such as the West Village, one can typically find a wood storefront such as the one in the top photo.  Usually there's some sort of built-out with wood corbels as a support, transom-divided windows and a cornice at top.  Many are actual modern day replications of the original style so that the space is contextual to the building but what is typically found uptown?

Walking around Harlem, it would appear that most of the custom made wood facades for the stores have disappeared but there are some modern revivals happening.  The 2nd photo down shows the original Claudio's Barber Shop in the old former Italian section of East Harlem (116th & 1st Avenue) which has all the elements in place but the lower section has been tiled over.  Lee Lee's Bakery in South Harlem (middle photo) is typically what can be found when stores uptown go for classic and this usually entails an aluminum framed storefront which are pretty straight forward looking.  

In the last two photos of the restored building at 565 West 125th Street,  one can see an example of the more contextual aluminum store facades making their way back uptown.  On the guess that shopkeepers like metal for the function of security and durability, it's nice to see that a little design can be added into the mix.  Instead of solid panel window, one can note several small transoms dividing the top half.  Another nice touch is that the original concrete wainscot panel has been restored and adds a nice modern balance to the mix.  Place in a great awning, some industrial overhang lamps or globe sconces and the look is complete.  Check out the Lexington Social for another example: LINK


  1. thank you very much for this useful interior design related topic. my appreciation is for your nice presentation.

  2. Great story, I really like these wooden store fronts, one of my favorites is on the upper east side and has curved glass leading to the store entrance door, another much loved NY store front is vesuvio bakery Often Manhattan bars are built with a wooden paneled façades with much trim work to great effect. These establishments with joinery frontages make for a beautiful streetscape. Chez Lucienne has a great storefront with it’s French doors, heres hoping to see more of this in Harlem.

  3. Remember that awful trend in the '80s and even early '90s of adding an L shaped glassed-in structure to corner restaurants and bars? Perhaps if they had not all been constructed so cheaply they wouldn't have been so bad. Glad that trend is over but we are stuck with many of them still.

  4. Love wooden store fronts. They add to much to the streetscape and just draw you in. No modern reconstruct does the job half as well.