Michael Aiduss has a knack for creating bold yet comfortable environments that feel effortlessly collected. The Montclair, New Jersey and New York City-based interior designer, who trained at the Fashion Institute of Technology and then spent 14 years working for Thomas O’Brien before starting his eponymous firm in 2010, weaves together architectural elements, beautiful antiques, and timeless yet statement-making hues (think sophisticated greys, a lustrous navy, the occasional splash of yellow) to yield stunning—and—livable spaces.
While Aiduss’s designs are always greater than the sum of their parts, his eye for unique pieces and ability to envision how they can enhance an area is undeniably well honed. So when he offered to let us tag along with him on a recent buying trip to Hudson, New York, we immediately took him up on it. Just over two hours from Manhattan, and with charm to spare, Hudson is a beloved destination for both city dwellers in need of a dose of the country life and design-minded individuals searching for a stylish piece (and a good deal).
Aiduss makes regular trips to the area, gathering items for clients with a range of tastes and needs, as well as pieces that he falls in love with that he knows will eventually end up in the right home. “For me, Hudson offers a wide variety of both modern and classic furniture. There’s the high-end, the inexpensive, and the cool finds you just have to have. It’s all about the exploration,” says the designer, who never passes up a great mirror, vintage silver, or creamware while visiting his favorite Hudson haunts. Here, Aiduss guides us through seven must-visit shops and galleries—plus where to eat and sleep—when visiting the area.
The Gilded Owl (105 Warren Street, 917.270.2480).
The background: The Gilded Owl is an innovative retail space inspired by the online journal of the same name founded by Andy Goldsborough and Elizabeth Moore. With a focus on investigating craftsmanship in a variety of categories, including modern and contemporary design, fine art, fashion, and music, The Gilded Owl, in the founders’ words, “Allows visitors to be inspired by design and the way creative forces influence the way we live.”
Aiduss’s take: “Andy and Elizabeth have such a unique and smart looking gallery. It is always inspirational to visit and see new art and exhibits and furnishings on display. Their minimalist approach is done in a way that is so warm and inviting it makes you want to just stay there all day.”
Theron Ware Gallery (548 Warren Street, 518.828.9744).
The background: Theron Ware opened in the city in 1974, and in Hudson in 1990. “We look at everything from early Antiquity to Midcentury Modern, and all in between,” say owners Chris Boslet and Michael Eagan, noting they are driven by the love of objects and great design with function.
Aiduss’s take: “Whenever I am working on a project that requires unique American antiques I always think of Theron Ware. Their collections range from stylish neoclassical pieces to midcentury items that are always tasteful and smart. The best kept secret is that Chris always has a great selection of mirrors that can be used in many different settings.”
Source Adage NYC (314 Warren Street, 518.697.5397).
The background: Founders/owners Christopher Draghi and Robert Dobay opened their store when they launched their fragrance brand in September of 2015. Though they’d originally planned on starting with a wholesale model, a visit to Hudson inspired them to instead launch with a retail space, which they saw as an opportunity to allow customers to experience their products in a curated context that compliments the personality of the fragrances. “Our background is in branding design, so we look at the product and retail experience holistically to ensure all touch points reinforce the brand ethos,” they explain.
Aiduss’s take: “A newcomer to the scene, Adage is a beautifully curated shop focused around custom fragrances that have been created by Chris and Rob. It is situated in a beautiful building, which allows the atmosphere to play into their sensibility with scents.”
Red Chair (606 Warren Street, 518.828.1158).
The background: “I have always loved antiques, collecting beautiful objects, the treasure hunt and putting objects together,” says Red Chair owner Jocelyn Sinauer, who opened her store in 1998. When choosing new pieces, Sinauer says she is inspired by form, intrinsic beauty, and the history of an object. “For example, the significance it played in a previous life, which may not apply to modern times,” she explains.
Aiduss’s take: “You must go to experience the Belgian and French wonders that can be found at Red Chair. There is always a plethora of cream ware, antique hotel silver, antique homespun linen, and rustic furniture that are just so spot on. And who does not love copper pots?”
FINCH Hudson (555 Warren Street, 518.828.3430).
The background: Owners Andrew Arrick and Michael Hofemann opened FINCH Hudson in May of 2013. The decision to open the shop, Hofemann says, was “Partly a desire to build a business in the Hudson Valley after living in New York City for 25 years—[it was] just time for a new life focus, and the area is truly spectacular in so many ways.” The fact that Arrick’s father was an antique dealer in Newport, Rhode Island for many years was also a factor. The owners’ love of clean lines, modern design, leather, and vintage fabrics inform their decisions about inventory, which includes pieces from the late 19th century to 1970 with an emphasis on American and Scandinavian modern design.
Aiduss’s take: “The wonderful thing about FINCH is the unique variety of vintage and new decorative furnishings for the home. I love shopping there, especially when I’m looking for housewarming gifts for friends.”
Vincent Mulford Antiques (417-419 Warren Street, 518.660.0053)
The background: Owner Vince Mulford opened his first shop in Hudson in the 1990s when, he says, “Dealers were finding Hudson due to affordable spaces and Amtrak, and folks with weekend homes in the surrounding hills would drive up Warren Street.” Mulford has been in the business since 1980, and his mantra, “Art through Antiques,” which was printed on his original hand card, still guides him and describes his passion for, as he describes, “Furniture and objects exhibiting simplicity in form, rich in patina, with soul.”
Aiduss’s take: “The exciting thing about Vince’s shop is that he always has large-size architectural elements and furnishings that are unique enough to stand on their own whether they are traditional or modern. There has not been a time when I have visited Vince’s shop that I did not see something I have fallen in love with.”
Sutter Antiques (556 Warren Street, 518.822.0729).
The background: A chance visit to an antiques flea market in London triggered Alfons Sutter’s lifelong passion for antiques, and he’s been in the business since 1973. “Everything is purchased on its individual merit. Whether it’s an antiquity, 19th– or 20th-century furniture, art, or a decorative object, it has to appeal to my sensibility,” he says about selecting inventory for the store he owns with Frank Rosa. “Clean lines and simplicity of form are the major elements I look at when deciding to make a purchase, along with craftsmanship and patina.”
Aiduss’s take: “Alfons and Frankie have worked for years filling their shop with continental antiques, vintage modern collections, and Asian artifacts. I can always count on finding something for my clients—as well as myself—while shopping there.”
Wm. Farmer and Sons (No. 20 S. Front Street, 518.828.1635).
Aiduss’s take: “Fairly new to the scene, Wm. Farmer and Sons has exceptional and highly sought-after farm-to-table-cuisine. Make sure you check early for reservations, and if you are planning an overnight stay, they offer 15 rooms that are each uniquely decorated.”
Photos of Wm. Farmer and Sons by Jason Lindberg, all other images by Grace Brown Photography.