November 15, 2004

Oh, Oh, Got To Go To Kid O

kido.jpgWith a nearly perfect combination of substance and style, Kid O is the most thoughtful children's store in the city. It opened just over a month ago, and it raises the bar by offering an uncompromising and often exclusive selection of modernist classic designed furniture and toys.

For example, Kid O is currently the only place to buy Nanna Ditzel's Toadstool chairs and tables in the US [They carry the natural wood, and stools are around $225, and the table is $425. I say "around" because prices were still being set when I was there.] In addition to the Villa Sibi dollhouse by Sirch, Kid O carries the firm's excellent bent ply cars, wagons, sleds and furniture as well. Meanwhile, there are exclusive designs and reissues in the works.

But it's on substance that Kid O sets itself apart. Toys and learning aids are chosen with proven pedagogy and developmental goals in mind. They have the complete Froebel gift set system, for example (by the guy who invented kindergarten), and Kid O is the only retail source anywhere for official Montessori materials. Almost everything is beautifully made, high-quality, with non-extraneous design.

The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable, and the owners--parent architects and designers--are clearly passionate about both parenting and design.

The only drawbacks I saw were self-generated. First is the price. Quality costs, a lot in some cases. Many of Kid O's offerings are investment-grade, sure, but Daddy Types cannot give investment advice. Talk with your financial adviser. Otherwise, conscientious as I think I am, I felt a few genial pangs of inadequacy in the face of New York Parental Perfection. It's nothing at all the Kid O people said or did, and it's not like we're feeding the kid Jolly Ranchers or anything, just a little fear that there's a gaping hole where our strategic educational development plan should be. Oh, and we already have way too many plastic toys.

Kid O is at 123 West 10th Street, where it gets all diagonal just west of Sixth Avenue.

About Nanna Ditzel's Trissen/Toadstool table & chairs [DT]
Villa Sibi, An Amazing Miesian Dollhouse [DT]
Sibi Max toys [mocoloco]
About Froebel Gifts []


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It should be

I continue to struggle with the urge to avoid any type of cutsey, plastic, mass produced toys that will clutter up my house and kill my feable attempts at a unifed decor, but I just can't believe that the Danish/minimalist/moco kids stuff is really all that interesting to the kids themselves. And yet I stare at the Traget laminated particle board stuff and can't bring myself to pull the trigger on that, either.

No, I don't think this will be too much fun for kids. Parents though should consider that unless your child is in a cage, all this nice, minimalist, modern stuff will get dented, vomited and peed on...

I went to KidO just after the opening and I was speaking to the owner about her amazing products and she was so very excited to show me chair she had in the back. Upon returning with the chair, another customer came into the store and was basically demanding to only speak to the owner. She was dropping design names out the wahzoo. "Ive got a david netto crib with the dwell dots bedding" and so on. The owner than ignored me, never showed me the chair that sat by the cash register and she and her two workers basically bent over for this customer and i was left standing there for a good 10 minutes before i left. I love good design stores, especially for kids and it was a breath of fresh air when i walked in. Unfortunately, it smelled alot worse when i walked out. I would rather go elsewhere.

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