A Home With Personality

Photography by John O’Donnell
By Susan Hodara

Stacy Higgins, owner of SOHO East Home Collection in Dobbs Ferry, shares a few of her favorite things.

Stacy Higgins is a testament to irony. Though she was trained in jewelry design, you’ll rarely find her sporting a bracelet, ring, or necklace. (“I’m not an adornment person,” she says with a shrug.) And although she claims she’s not one for acquiring a lot of possessions, she owns the well-appointed and well-esteemed SOHO East Home Collection, a shop chock full of inspiring and whimsical wares. “I’m drawn to objects that have stories to tell,“ Higgins explains.

In her boutique, shoppers discover an eclectic assortment of contemporary accessories—tableware, glassware, and bowls made of everything from recycled telephone wire to woven banana leaves, alongside jewelry, scarves, and hand-painted boxes—that Higgins finds on her far-flung travels. Some of this merchandise also can be found at Higgins’ newest venture, SOHO East Gifts-to-Go!, which offers a selection of gifts (some festively wrapped) at the Black Cat Café in Irvington, where finding the just-right present can be celebrated over lunch or a cup of coffee.

The jewelry designer-cum-home-accessories maven lives with her husband, Joel Higgins (an actor/writer who most recently created the off-Broadway production Johnny Guitar The Musical), and their 17-year-old son in a house perched atop a hillside overlooking the Hudson River. Her eye for the distinctive isn’t lost on her 1920s Dobbs Ferry home, which was doubled in size five years ago when it was renovated in the Craftsman style. It’s decorated with furnishings, artwork, and objects selected and staged with the same finely tuned eye that stocks her store. “I can’t pinpoint just how, but I have an innate sense of exactly what works and what doesn’t,” Higgins admits.

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Here, she shares some of the items that work in her home and the stories they have to tell.

Bowl Model

This polished wooden bowl, hand-carved from the root of a Chinese fir tree, is a find from Higgins’ store. “It’s a sustainable wood,” she says, noting that much of her collection at SOHO East is made from sustainable or recycled materials. “I don’t take home much from the shop, but I had to have this,” she says of the piece, which she uses as a fruit bowl or to serve chips when entertaining. “It has such an organic feel.”

Over the Spoon

Whether serving peas or pasta, Higgins opts for this 10-inch-long stainless-steel serving spoon, a replica of a Queen Anne Victorian piece made by Gorham in the early 1900s. “I love the detail and its solid weight,” Higgins says. “I mix it with my contemporary serving pieces when I entertain.”

Italian Flashback

“I bought this years ago, one summer in Florence,” says Higgins of this Italian ceramic plate festooned with a rainbow of concentric circles decorated with white markings. “Two local artists were selling their work on a tiny cobblestone side street, just minutes from the center of town. Each time I use this plate, it takes me back to that day—the bright sunshine and the abundance of colorful flowers.”

Chair of the Board

This set of four Colombian chairs was handcrafted in Bogotá using wood reclaimed from buildings more than a century old. The floral design on the seatbacks is made of aged copper, the seats covered in leather. “Eventually I want to get two more,” Higgins says. The chairs surround an antique table from Chile sporting a border hand-painted with cherries.

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A Good Light

“I love the mesh of classical and modern in this Luna Bella lamp,” Higgins says. With a hand-forged iron base, Czech glass stones, and silk shade fringed with beads, the lamp stands just over two feet tall. The work of designers Nicolas Trujillo and Teresa Costa, it sits on a tan cylindrical leather trunk designed by Palecek.

Best Jade Plans

“I don’t wear much jewelry, but I do wear this,” reports Higgins of this distinctive piece that finds its way out of storage during the summer months. Crafted in a South African village, this necklace is made with different colored jade beads—entirely unlike the jewelry Higgins used to design. “Jade was revered as a stone that emits a gentle, steady energy,” she explains. “All of its colors inspire wisdom, practicality, moderation, and peace.”

Artist Treasure

“I see Taos in this vase,” Higgins says. “The blue is the color of the desert sky, and the background is the natural tone of the earth.” The piece is the creation of one of her favorite artists, R.C. Gorman, the late Native American painter and ceramicist. “I discovered him in Taos, one of my favorite places.” Higgins also owns one of his paintings and several of his small sculptures.

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