Why We Built the Guild

Why We Built the Guild


Wild grass grows, and dead trees crumble. In the near distance, the ocean crashes audibly onto Montauk point. The air is heavy, wet, and smells like salt.

In spring we plant, and in summer we harvest, enjoying the produce of the garden at our seaside weekend cottage late into the fall. More recently we’ve focused our attentions on hardy winter vegetables that thrive in frosts and the cold; radicchio di treviso, cut back and then regrown in cool darkness in the process called imbianchiamento is a particular favorite. Baking bread and fermenting apple cider with wild, local yeasts is another.

Throughout these times, family and friends visit, sometimes with their children. Big feasts celebrate our moments together with them, with each other. We live in a balance between an environment directly in nature and the equally natural world of Mankind and craft. A home and its contents tell stories that guide us in our lives, reminding us who we are and what we dream of being.

Connecting Montauk to our New York City Home is the Long Island Expressway -- a fairly boring stretch of road that has nonetheless been our enabling pathway for thousands of hours of discoveries, phone calls, staring into nothing, plots & plans, squabbles & squeals. The road is a stage for our encapsulated lives in the little bubble of our car. We tell a lot of stories on this drive.

We like to invent our own stories; it’s both our enterprise and our passion. We are the authors of our home, its objects, and the people whom we invite inside. We like the city, but think that it could be better. Movements and trends in architecture and design over the past century have often been unkind and cold, and have reinforced values that are themselves often cold and uncaring. We think that our culture and its structures could be more in tune with nature. Healthier. Gentler. We feel this way about our country in general: we are not politicians, but there is absolutely a politics in our work. We built the Guild because we had a dream we wanted to share and a place where we wanted to be.

The Guild is, yes, a furniture store. But it’s also a democratic sanctuary, which celebrates quality and the creative daring of craftspeople and artists. One doesn’t have to buy a $42,000 bed to enjoy looking at  it (although if you have the means, our sales people will be happy to arrange its delivery). You don’t have to buy a cup of coffee or a charred tourteau fromagé from Chef Marie-Aude Rose’s La Mercerie Café. You will absolutely want to come back again and again, to watch Emily Thompson’s Flowers change with the seasons.

The Guild has a Library, stocked by the publisher Phaidon. It has couches you can chill on. There are knowledgeable people here, who care deeply about design, food, nature, and the world. The Guild is a nice place. We've made a lot of our work available here, on the web, but as the saying goes: come on down.

Robin Standefer & Stephen Alesch




Shop The Story