BEST PLACE TO BUY A GIANT PLASTER CHERUB Phoenix 2005 - The Garden Party
We admit it: We live in a house overflowing with rococo kitsch, the sort of stuff you'd find in a brothel that had been decorated by Charles Nelson Reilly. Velveteen draperies; gilded urn lamps; claw-foot everything. And until recently, we thought we had the edge on cool home furnishings, because we shop weekly at The Garden Party, a mini-museum of great furniture, wall art, and gewgaws from several recent eras. That is, until we spotted the visual-merchandising manager from a giant chain of department stores at The Garden Party the other day, pawing through this hip shop's 11 big dealer booths in search of stuff for his stores. If this guy knows about our fave shop, we must be onto something. We just hope we get there before he does, because missing out might mean not owning, for example, the giant plaster cherub we brought home from a recent Garden Party visit. Our flawless 1930s sofa, covered in rich burgundy suede, set us back a whopping $200, and the 1950s salon hairdryer we bought for our sister (who put it in place of her ratty old Barcalounger) cost half as much. Garden Party's several dealers offer a cross section of stuff from all eras of cool, from inexpensive Bakelite jewelry to Melmac dishware; higher-end furnishings to shabby chic fixer-uppers. We go often, especially now that we know that those in the know (read: display queens) are in on our best secret. You can be, too.