The Curators: Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC

There’s something very new and exciting happening over here at We’re launching a new section called “The Curators” where we’ve hand selected the most interesting and creative tastemakers from cities all over the world to give us a little insight into what makes them, their work and their cities special.

In this first edition of The Curators, I caught up with Marcus Hay; Director of Studio Marcus Hay & Co Inc. (who are known for style direction and set design for the likes of Vogue Living, Elle Decoration, Food & Wine and my personal favourite, the stunning Bill Granger cook books) to talk about the world of interior styling according to him, NYC as a creative influencer and most importantly his own NYC hit list of the most inspirational interiors stores out there.

The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Marcus Hay in his home – Photo: Hallie Burton

How did you become a stylist?
I spent many years as an Art Director on Fashion Magazines including Vogue Australia and Elle Australia before I took the plunge as Style Director for B Magazine. As an Art Director, I had also been stepping in and been styling a lot of sets and props for the Fashion Magazines I worked for so it seemed a natural progression and got me away from the confines of sitting at a computer all day doing layouts.

Describe your aesthetic style.
My aesthetic style has been called many things, when you are in the Style Industry it constantly evolves so it can be hard to always define exactly what it is. It’s actually my job to embrace new trends and movements so it would be a worry if it always stayed the same. However there is always a thread and generally it is seen by many as Contemporary Eclectic, I do like to mix Modern with Vintage. Lately I have been shying away from too much Patina and more into cleaner lines, I do love color but not in a bright obvious way.

Where do you look for inspiration?
I spend a lot of time online blogging but also researching product and unusual items for our jobs so I am always looking at eBay, Etsy and Ist Dibs, Right now I am actually kind of addicted to Pinterest, It’s such a great resource for imagery and also I love the process of collating and discovering new work by new and old Designers and Artists. From it you can really get a vibe of someone’s aesthetic in an instant, it fascinates me the way others see the world through images.

Check out Marcus’ Pinterest here:

Who inspires you?
Many other Artists, Architects, Editors and Designers of course, Too many to name them all but here I go: Alexander Girard, Gio Ponti, Donald Judd, Paul Rand, The Eames, Eero Saarinen, Max Huber, Piero Fornasetti, Edith Heath, Jens Quistgaard, Antonio Gaudi, Alvar Aalto, Bjorn Wiinblad, Ettore Sottsass, Eva Zeisel, Diana Vreeland, Frank Lloyd Wright and Jean-Paul Goude.

How would you describe the way you’ve styled your home and your studio?
I have styled them both in a way that seems very personal to me; I am a big believer that when you walk into someone’s home or space it says a lot about them.

The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Marcus Hay Studio – Photo: Jonny Valiant

The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Marcus’ home featured in Swedish Elle Interior Magazine – Photo: Jonny Valiant

What’s your most treasured furniture possession?
Probably my Womb Chair by Aero Saarinen, It’s the piece of furniture that symbolizes a lot to me because when I get to sit down (which is not very often) and when I actually am home (Which is not often as I travel so much for work) I know I am home.

Eero Saarinen in his 1948 Womb Chair | Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Eero Saarinen in his 1948 Womb Chair – Photo: Harvey Croze, Cranbrook

If money were no object, what piece of furniture would you buy? 
Any large vintage piece of cabinetry by Piero Fornasetti, I can only dream about owning an original piece of this.

Piero Fornasetti & Gio Ponti, Cabinet, 1951. Milan, Italy | Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Piero Fornasetti & Gio Ponti, Cabinet, 1951. Milan, Italy – Photo: Unknown

What are some of the upcoming interiors trends you’ve spotted recently?
Everybody’s in love with Rose Gold and Copper right now, I see a return to an appreciation of Deco but more in a European cleaner lined way. Rich metals are being used by many designers such as Tom Dixon right now and add instant modern opulence without being gaudy. I think cleaner less fussy lines are being embraced rather than fussy and frilly, however there is a definite return to the idea of handmade and sustainable.

What’s one piece of styling advice you’d give to someone for their home?
Never be afraid to infuse into a scheme something you really love, if you are drawn to something there is a reason why. Sometimes one object can inspire the rest of the room and be the catalyst for inspiration. Never copy trends too much, If you are seeing a lot of something it does not mean you need it, because a year down the track it will look faddish and old. Always try to embrace what says something about you and infuse that into your space. 

You moved to NYC from Sydney, do you think that living in NYC influenced your creative work at all?
Of course it has influenced me greatly, New York is an amazing city, that’s obvious! Sydney is also amazing and a very beautiful city with a lot of creativity but New York is beautiful in a very different way, It’s hard edged and a little intimidating and that’s where lies it’s appeal. America in general is a goldmine for Design, So many great products over the decades were imported here in particular it’s golden era. For me it was evident right from the beginning of my move to the US – I was going to learn a lot more about the history of design by being able to touch and feel and experience all these items first hand, So many items that are scarce or extremely expensive in Australia are a dime a dozen here. In New York in particular everything is here, so much so it can seem overwhelming at times, drowning in wonderfulness is not a bad thing though! ; )   



The Curators: Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Click on the map to access the city guide

*Tips for using the map: Clicking on the printer icon in Google Maps will bring up a list with images and details that you can print and take with you on your trip. You can also send the link to yourself and use your phone browser to view the map on the go – remember caching the map is the best thing to do to avoid spending a lot of money on data roaming!



Popping up like toadstools all around the country, Steve Alan stores are in a lot of major cities around the States now, While some stores may have a home component, There is only one Home Store devoted to just that in Tribeca. Steve has only recently embraced the home as part of his brand, it feels like an Issue of Kinfolk exploded on its tables, I love the clean lines mixed with a touch of folk and craft. I have to say I can’t go in without buying a piece of something!

Best Bit: A Fresh Approach to the Home, Light & Airy. Crafty and handspun pieces without the granola factor.

Steven Alan Home Store | The Curators: Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Photo: Nicole LaMotte


This store has a museum quality to its layout, Kiosk features everyday items curated from around the world by proprietor Alisa Grifo. There is a strong sense of a solid design concept and functionality to every piece that’s stocked, the items are interesting and surprising and don’t necessarily relate totally to each other which is the appeal. The store displays merchandise from a country for four to five months then switches to another. It’s upstairs on Spring Street and can easily be missed, look out for the neon arrow pointing up the stairs.

Best Bit: Everything is very reasonably priced and is the perfect place for that gift you can’t find anywhere else.

Kiosk | The Curators: Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Photo: Ian Adelman


British designers Joanna Bibby and Harriet Maxwell Macdonald, who shared an aesthetic for the beauty of the understated, founded OCHRE in the UK; the store in Soho, New York has been open only in recent years. It has a sense of easy glamour, it’s not pretentious but it does feel very considered. Beautiful ceramics, glassware and linens are my go-to, but they also have a wonderful range of furniture that sways often on the industrial side, I love the dusty palette and overall dark but sensual mood.

Best Bit: Just the right mix of hard and soft lines, you want to touch everything.

Ochre Apartment | The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Apartment of Ochre Owners, Harriet Maxwell McDonald & Andrew Corrie – Photo: Ditte Isager



Cute little store in Williamsburg that really just sells bags but seems so much more than that, their bags seem like a whole lifestyle. These are bags that you want to display around the home, use at home, use to carry your groceries home, I love the colors and the minimalist but practical nature of these bags. Founded by Emily Sugihara in 2007, Opened just this summer, The shop marks the first time Baggu’s entire product line can be purchased in person from one location. New colors and styles become available at the shop before they appear on the web. I love to prop with Baggu in all my photo shoots for that much needed pop of color and their silhouettes feel so fresh.

Best Bit: There’s a bag for every use, it’s very hard not to be drawn to the uplifting colors and simple functionality of the product.

Baggu | The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Photo: Jen Hazen


Established in the winter of 2005, Fresh Kills’ mission was and will
 ever be procuring and providing
 Special Things for Special People. John Agujar and Fredrick Spendlove are the owners of Fresh Kills. They have a very keen eye and provide an edited and evolved charm in a collection of classic furniture pieces, artwork and objects. They describe their style as 1890’s to 1990’s. It’s a very eclectic but clever and right up my alley. I like the unexpected nature of mixing things up. There is vintage but also new pieces; the store really shows how you can easily fuse both for a fresh look.

Best Bit: The excitement of seeing the unexpected mixed with the classic

Fresh Kills | The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Photo: Fresh Kills


This is probably on every body that has ever done a shopping guide to New York because it is simply amazing! I once saw Jean Paul Gaultier a few years back walk in and his mouth drop like a child in a candy store, it was so delightful to see. Sometimes you can go in and it seems like its where the fairies of New York live, it has certain magic. Of course bring lot’s of bucks cause it isn’t cheap! There are many exciting floors to ABC and the quality of merchandise is to be applauded. If anything it gives you a great sense of what’s on trend and what could be. They are very creative with the Store Displays and there’s something interesting around every corner

Best Bit: The Visual Merchandising of the Store and its magical quality of whimsy and wonder will enrapture you.

ABC Carpet & Home | The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Photo: ABC Carpet & Home



Another obvious one but a must for Classic Design, It’s another store, I can’t leave without getting something, All stores have a great book section devoted to Design and also stock Furniture, Electricals and all the classic home wares, current and re launched in the store.

Best Bit: You will want one of everything

MoMa Design Store | The Curators- Marcus Hay talks styling and the top 7 interiors stores in NYC |

Photo: Marni Elyse Katz

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