The Best of New York Home & Help 2017

UNICODE Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

For the Best of New York, the focus, as always, is on things and places that are, if not brand-spanking-new, then newish, having debuted within the past year. Here, we have the best services including long-lasting dahlias, bespoke lampshades, a cheesecake engraver, and more.

The Farmer’s Dog

It’s like Blue Apron, but for spoiled pups: You fill out an online form with your canine’s age, size, actual weight, ideal weight, and activity level, and you’re sent, from a kitchen in Westchester, a box every three weeks full of pouches of custom-made, puréed, “human-grade” food. It basically looks like hash—heat it up and crack an egg on it and you might be tempted to serve it to your people friends for brunch. The box comes with chicken, beef, and turkey pouches, so the dog gets to switch it up and won’t get bored with the same-old-same-old. It’s not cheap — prices start at $20 a week. But one staffer with a finicky older dog who was getting both fat and listless swears by the service: Now the pooch is excited again to eat — and far more energetic.

200 Lafayette St., at Broome St.; 212-951-0696

Pirch feels like an art gallery when you walk in, a spotless space lined with futuristic ovens and stoves. But what sets it apart from every other home store is that everything here is interactive, meaning you can cook a meal in a carbon-fiber oven; book an appointment to take an aromatherapy shower in the Sanctuary, a spa in the basement featuring 38 showerheads, including the Perrin & Rowe Georgian Era Pressure Balance model (from $2,000); or make Neopolitan-style pizzas in a five-foot stone hearth oven by Wood Stone ($16,000), guided by a professional chef. Before you leave, head to the Pirch lavatory, where you can test-drive a Kohler toilet with seat heating and a built-in bidet ($4,500).

Daphne Art & Framing
154 Montague St., nr. Clinton St., Brooklyn Heights; 718-643-0229

Owner Muhsin Kenis is the go-to framer for BAM (those vintage movie ads are his handiwork) and the Brooklyn Historical Society, but he treats regular-people projects with just as much care. That means he’ll patiently spend a half-hour with you pondering a rainbow of frame colors for a cat painting by your 6-year-old niece (and remember your name and hers when you pick it up). Kenis has a wide array of frames — he estimates he has around 1,200 moldings with prices starting at $9 per foot and going up to $90, and he’ll happily work within your chosen budget (a simple black wood frame and matte for an 8 ½-by-11-inch print runs about $85). Turnaround time is typically two weeks, but if you need something sooner, Kenis can usually oblige at no extra charge.

Iron Glory. Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Kathe’s Jewelry
226 First Ave., nr. 14th St.; 212-475-2986

For more than 30 years, behind an unassuming East Village storefront, Ecuadoran-born Jonas Rueda has been repairing, crafting, and selling a wonderfully motley array of jewelry. What doesn’t seem to have changed much in the past three decades are the prices: Traditional repair services like ring-sizing, stone-setting, chain-soldering, and necklace-restringing all start at $10 (prices will vary depending on material and amount of workmanship needed) and can usually be completed within 24 hours, often sooner. Both custom work and remakes are also on offer, so you can bring in a picture of Grandma’s old silver ring that you weren’t bequeathed and he will whip up a new version for you ($50).

Embroidery Place
222 W. 30th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-244-4672

Located in an unmarked building on a warrenlike floor of garment businesses, Embroidery Place is a small room crammed with industrial sewing equipment. Steven Cottman (a.k.a. “Stix”), the proprietor, greets customers at his wedged-in desk and is happy to tour you through his myriad threads and fonts as he helps design your monogrammed velour sweatsuit, his-and-hers robe set, or Chuck Taylors. The affordable work (about $15 for a basic stitched monogram) is expertly and efficiently finished — usually in less than a week — compared to online services that offer shoddy laser-printing and bulk-only orders. And if you’ve got a crest, logo, or portrait in mind, he’ll even create customized patches (he does a particularly strong Barack Obama).

Iron & Glory
44 Stewart Ave., nr. Harrison Pl., Bushwick; 855-691-7446

Richard Brandt was working in marketing when his company bought a small engraving machine for promo purposes. He started playing with it, got more and more ambitious, and went off to start his own business. He sells ready-made dice ($30) and combs ($25), but it’s the custom work that sets Brandt apart. He’s made dominoes for Anthropologie and trinkets for Pottery Barn, but he’ll also engrave custom designs, at $60 per hour, for anyone who calls. In the past, he’s drawn a painstakingly precise Gray’s Anatomy anatomical heart onto a round flask ($100) and creates specially made Ouija boards ($40), and he’ll even do food — once, he engraved a cheesecake (from $50).

Bear Creek Farm. Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Bear Creek Farm
The Union Square Greenmarket and Rockefeller Center Greenmarket; check for days at

Most Greenmarket vendors sell only one kind of cut dahlia (“Café au Lait”), but Debra Kaye grows more than 80 varieties at her upstate farm in rich shades like oxblood, bronzy peach, and ombre pink. They’re some of the largest, strongest flowers you’ll see — her biggest measures 10 to 12 inches in diameter, which she sells for $10 per stem (you can buy smaller varieties for $3 or $4). That’s a splurge, but Kaye has come up with a way to make her dahlias last longer than others, watering them from overhead, cutting them with long stems, and storing them at a tropical temperature, so they last a full week, and often up to two.

King Street Sommeliers

Wine collecting is more than just a hobby for the fraction of the one percent who care about such things. And as with art, those people want the best advisers. That is where King Street Sommeliers plays its hand. The business was founded in 2015 by Grant Reynolds and Robert Bohr — the somms and principals behind Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones — and Arvid Rosengren (who took top honors at the equivalent of the sommelier Olympics). Not only do these wine pros help stock your cellar with Dujac Clos St. Denis — a range of services are included in the hefty fee (get in touch for pricing). If, say, you’re a hedge-fund manager throwing a 40th-birthday party at home, not only will they help you plan a menu that pairs the best Chablis with your caviar course, they’ll come help uncork, decant, and pour the wine and talk about it with your guests.

Couture Shades
315 E. 62nd St., nr. Second Ave., No. 2; 212-753-5455

While inferior lampshade-makers will use glue and a hot iron to keep pleats in place, the seamstresses at Couture Shades wouldn’t dare. Every shade is completely hand sewn, from the inner silk lining to the fringe. David Reitner (he apprenticed under his great-uncle Marvin Alexander, who worked with Jackie Kennedy on restoring the White House’s collection of museum-quality lighting) started his custom business last year and has worked alongside designers like Jamie Drake to craft shades in styles from drum to Empire. Prices start at around $350, and he’ll use any fabric you bring in or will help you choose between the silk shantungs, Egyptian-cotton strings, and woven papers he carries in-store.

Couture Shades. Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

Innovative Flooring Solutions Inc.

Joe Crosby treats his floors with surgical precision — from shaving off a 16th of an inch of hardwood to gutting from the ground up. Jobs start around $5,000; before moving a speck of dust, Crosby and his team spend days cutting and staining deep-red mahogany or soundproofed Oshkosh oak, mimicking the eventual floor’s grade, width, and color. He’s even more exacting when it comes to the support system underneath, which starts with a layer of durable concrete reinforced with wood beams. And Crosby’s clients are just as supportive: Decorator Matthew Smyth, for example, recently considered flying him across the pond to use him on a flooring project in Paris.

Upholstery Services
43-01 21st St., No. 207B, Long Island City; 917-977-0027

Mario Villamar launched his boutique business last year and already has his hands in the much-anticipated renovation of the Woolworth Building. Whether it’s hand-stitching a custom pillow ($175) or reproducing a mid-century Robsjohn-Gibbings chaise longue from scratch ($4,000), Villamar keeps overhead low and prices competitive, using the sales experience he acquired in his 11-year tenure at Anthony Lawrence-Belfair. While reupholstering a three-seater might run you $3,000 in Manhattan, a sofa-surgery bill from Villamar could start at $1,900.

D Derek

For D Derek — an illustrator, painter, and printmaker — hanging pictures went from a TaskRabbit side gig to curating art in the homes of CNN anchors and working with fancy professional organizers. Charging $50 an hour, Derek will hang just one picture above the couch or work closely with clients to create a gallery wall in the entryway. Derek studied interior design at Parsons, and he’s also a certified feng shui practitioner, so he’s attuned to the flow and balance in each room and ready to dispense tips, like how it’s a bad idea to hang family pictures in the bedroom (it’ll kill your sex life).

*This article appears in the March 6, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.