On a antiques-store-laden side street, Etos stands out—not only for its spaciously airy premises, with the furniture grouped in residental arrangements, but also for the eclectic nature of the furniture itself, an intriguing mix of new, old, and older. A pair of 18th-century style Swedish armchairs are separated by a contemporary stingray and brass coffee table, and flanked by two huge wood Ionic columns. Two classical-looking stone busts gaze at a German 1840s mahoghany couch with swan feet and a 1970s Italian faux turtleshell butler's table in front of it. Elsewhere, a collection of African figurines nestle within the compartmentalized front of an Art Deco bar. "We like to have pieces that have a history and tell a story," explains co-owner Mercedes Desio. "It enriches a space."
If all this seems to be the work of a trained eye, it is: Desio and her partner, Alberto Villalobos, happen to be interior designers (and designing spaces, as well as selling antiques, is among the services they offer). But mixing and matching periods—a prospect that gives many people pause—isn't that difficult. More things go together than one might think, Villalobos says; mainly, more than style or color, "it's important that you get proportions of the pieces right."
Desio has a slightly more romantic explanation: "When something is beautiful, there's no way it can't have a nice dilaogue with something else, no matter the style or period," she says. "Beauty speaks to beauty, through ages and countries."
» Etos, 67 E. 11th St., 212.673.3056