Robin Standefer Alesch, co-owner of the famed design studio, curates a list of her favorite things.

August 23, 2018
robin standefer alesch tastemaker
Credit: Nicole Franzen

To enter a Roman and Williams–designed space, with its saturated hues, burnished surfaces, and vintage accents, is to drop into a world both dazzling and cozy-and to feel instantly cooler by association. Known for outfitting the Ace hotels in New York City and New Orleans, and the Freehand hotels in N.Y., L.A., Chicago, and Miami, Robin Standefer Alesch and her husband and partner, Stephen Alesch, got their start creating sets for movies like "The Age of Innocence" and "Practical Magic." "Films can cast a spell on your imagination. I'm interested in that in our work," she says. Last winter, the couple unveiled their most personal project yet: the Roman and Williams Guild, in Manhattan, a home-goods store that includes a French café, La Mercerie; and a boutique from floral-design star Emily Thompson. Aromas from the kitchen mix with the sweet scent of fresh-cut blooms, and you can shop everything you see, right down to the plate serving your perfectly cooked omelet. As with all the firm's dreamy destinations, there's just one drawback: You can't linger forever.

Standefer Alesch's Essentials

"My personal style mantra is black Azzedine Alaïa or Céline for life."

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tastemaker products headphones plate flowers scent book dress
Credit: Peter Ardito

Alteya Organics Bulgarian rose oil, from $55 for 2.3 ml,

"I mix it with Frederic Malle's Carnal Flower perfume."

"Our home is full of smells and tastes. A shop seemed unnatural without food or flowers, so we added a ‘garden' [the flower shop] and the French café."

Roman and Williams Guild,

"We select things we love by makers around the world who are expressing their skills and creativity through incredible techniques."

Arts & Science Stand Collar Box Maxi shirt, $900,

"My weekend uniform in Montauk is an Arts & Science smock."

Master & Dynamic MW60 wireless over-ear headphones, $550,

"They're my go-to travel accessory. I listen to Sonic Youth, Nouvelle Vague, Leonard Cohen, and Stereolab when I'm on the road."

John Julian porcelain plate, from $34,

"I like serving meals on dishes made by artisans. My trusty dinner for guests is slow-roasted chicken and an arugula salad. Plus, I make a killer cheese plate."

Ippodo Gokujo Hojicha, $5 for 60 g,

"Depending on how tired I am, I'll drink a cup of this roasted green tea or black coffee."

"The Invention of Nature," by Andrea Wulf, Knopf, 2015; $35,

"It's my favorite book; I keep it on my nightstand."

tastemaker products candlestick flower lipstick glass oil
Credit: Peter Ardito; Courtesy of Hendricks Gin (Gin); Maki Eni/Getty (Cosmos); Courtesy of Villa D'Este in Lake Como (Villa D'Este); Creative Crop/Getty (Blueberries)

T. LeClerc lipstick, $25 each,

"My signature colors are Rose Devine [#42] for daytime, and the bolder Rouge Vibrant [#37] for night."


"I keep a bowl around for snacking."

Reed candlestick, from $355,

"I put lots of these throughout our home."

Hendricks gin and Keiko Lee cocktail glass, $35 for 750 ml,; $78,

"In the evening, I'll fix a martini with my grandfather's silver shaker and drink it out of this glass."

White cosmos, $3 for 90 seeds,

"To unwind, I garden. I grow a meadow of these flowers in Montauk. I love how they are still blooming in September."

Villa d'Este, in Lake Como, Italy, from $663 a night,

"Three things come to mind about how special this place is: having a spritz at sunset on the terrace, the old-world glamour of the rooms, and especially the gardens."

Rodin Olio Lusso Lavender Absolute face oil, $170 for 1 oz.,

"It's got an incredible texture and fragrance, and makes you glow."


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