Claudia Strasser

Photo: Brad Paris

What is your boutique about?
It’s about being able to sit at a vanity and spend three hours on your hair and then put a birdcage in it. I had a woman in here a week ago who bought a $2,000 chandelier for her 11-year-old daughter. You either have it in your blood or you don’t.

What’s a good hostess gift?
I have these twenties hand-painted fashion illustrations. Or vintage soap dishes and powder boxes.

What object are you most obsessed with?
I couldn’t live without a chaise longue. It makes you want to wear your negligee and seduce somebody.

You make house calls and redecorate residences. Give me some advice.
Have a three-color palette for each room, and always have a little metallic. You can do that with hardware: Change your doorknobs or add little keyholes.

How often do you take clients on shopping trips to Paris?
January and September. I take them to the Maison et Objets, which is like the home-furnishing gala of Europe.

How can you tell that something is antique?
If it’s a chair, look for horsehair or burlap underneath. If the finish has a chemical smell, it may be polyurethane, which means it’s not old. If the drawer joints are seamed together without any nails like puzzle pieces, it’s old. I make my own furniture line like that. It’s labor-intensive, but I want to create heirlooms.

Claudia Strasser