If you visited our house, we might sit on the sofa and have a glass of wine—it’s normal,” says Robin Standefer, cofounder of Roman and Williams with husband Stephen Alesch. “But it’s not normal as a shopping experience.” Or, shall we say, it wasn’t pre–Roman and Williams Guild NY. The pair’s new 7,000-square-foot Manhattan emporium encompasses their furniture, lighting, and kitchen-and-bath line for Waterworks; artisanal objects from around the world; books; prints; an Emily Thompson flower shop; and Le Mercerie, a brasserie helmed by chef Marie-Aude Rose (wife of Daniel Rose, the chef and coproprietor of the Roman and Williams–designed Le Coucou).
The Guild is located in an 1860s building that originally housed the oldest department store in America, though most recently it served as a bank. So Standefer and Alesch—whose clients range from Gwyneth Paltrow to the Metropolitan Museum of Art—stripped away drop ceilings and teller windows to reveal the treasured bones. Much of the marble façade is currently being cleaned, unveiling what Alesch describes as a “Venice-like” exterior. The entrance on Howard Street is painted a custom shade that Standefer describes as between “French blue and indigo.” That arresting color is carried over in the open kitch