We recently visited Stripe Vintage Modern—a gallery specializing in European and American vintage furniture and decorative objects. There, we spoke to owners Eric Cody and Arel Ramos about their love affair with vintage design, their favorite architects and which artists they can’t get enough of.
How did Stripe develop? Arel and I have both been life-long collectors of “old stuff.” A career change in 2004 inspired me to open a small space to sell off the excess from our combined collections, which by this time filled three storage spaces to over-flowing! After only three customers visited–two local Miami gallerists and Vanity Fair photographer Firooz Zahedi–our showroom was nearly emptied out! That was our first indication that we just might have something good. After a long merchandising career at Giorgio Armani and Neiman Marcus, Arel joined me full-time two years ago, when we opened our second store, Muse Inspired Living.
What’s the relationship between Stripe and Muse? Muse Inspired Living is Stripe’s sister boutique. A combination of vintage and contemporary design and accessories, we created Muse for our female clientele at Stripe. At Muse, we wanted to create an unapologetically feminine space that captured the spirit of some of our most inspiring clients, women with a strong sense of style. Adding small niche brands to the existing DNA of Stripe, we’ve tried to create a timeless mix of glamour and ease, simplicity and elegance.
What are some of the brands you carry there? Muse Inspired Living carries pillows by John Robshaw and Dransfield & Ross, candles by Diptyque and stunning mineral lamps and accessories by Kathryn McCoy. We also offer our own custom-order line of Italian mid-century inspired seating. Feeling it’s our duty to champion female artists, we are exclusive representatives of Priscilla Hollingsworth pottery, textile artist Deborah Lambert’s hand-woven pillows and Christine Ralphs’ tropical photo collages, which are available in both stores.
What most inspires you about your job? We both love hunting and gathering (maybe too much!), and the creative challenge of breathing new life into old objects and displaying them in a modern context. Our greatest reward is when clients walk into either store and exclaim “I could live here!”
Which shows and fairs do you travel to? I joke that we travel from Iowa to Italy and everywhere in between to find new pieces and inspiration. We’re actually glorified “pickers,” so we don’t attend a lot of shows. That said, we try to get to Mercanteinfiera in Parma Italy at least once a year, Modernism Week in Palm Springs, a few Brimfield Antique shows, and Maison et Objet.
Who are some of the artists and designers on your radar right now? Architect David Adjaye, artists Peter Combe, Niloufar Banisadr, Kim Keever and Nancy Lorenz.
What was the last museum show you visited? The last show was right here in South Florida, “Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968” at the NSU Art Museum in Ft. Lauderdale.
What was the last book you read—or what’s next on your list? Jean-Michel Frank – The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period
Which fashion designer is your favorite? Fashion and interiors are both about scale, proportions, and layering. Our favorites are Giorgio Armani, Akris, and Brunello Cuccinelli because of their timeless designs, quality, and understated elegance. Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte bring great craft and innovation to their fabrics and designs.