Patch NYC’s Don Carney’s Favorite Things

See the inspiration behind his unique, playful creations.

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Photographs by Webb Chappell; Julien Oppenheim (Dries Van Noten); courtesy of Patch NYC

From the beginning, Massachusetts native Don Carney was determined to make a career of his artistic passions. After moving to New York City to pursue illustration, he worked as a sketch artist for a shoe designer before he and his partner, John Ross, launched their West Village design boutique, Patch NYC, in 1997. Six years ago, the pair opened a South End shop to showcase their original art, unique home décor collections, and accessories. They’ve also teamed up with big names to bring their designs worldwide: They’re on their third collaboration with West Elm, and are releasing a holiday collection for the large French retailer Monoprix. These days, Ross runs Patch NYC and Carney is the creative director for jewelry designer Miriam Haskell, in New York. Here, the artist shares a few of his favorite things.

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Byrd Swift Vintage Art

I love vintage art, and I’m lucky to own a good-size collection by my friend Byrd Swift, who created amazing large abstract pieces in Boston between the ’60s and ’90s.

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Guerlain “Vetiver” Cologne

Classic, spicy, and uncommon. It’s just my scent. I knew when I bought it more than 20 years ago that it was a perfect match. It’s the only scent I’ve worn since.

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Parisian Shops

We have traveled to Paris three times this year, which is great because we’re always inspired by flea markets, art shows, and small retailers—or larger ones like Dries Van Noten, whose stores are full of amazing art and antiques to complement his clothing.

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Patch NYC Pillow Textiles

My partner, John, collages artwork to create the patterns for these pillows. You can mix three different pieces from different collections because they’re all abstract.

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Miriam Haskell Jewelry

It’s rare these days for costume jewelry to be made by hand. Most companies produce in China and are unable to get the same level of quality. As I’m designing, I can make changes while the piece is coming to life.


What I’m Reading

Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli, by Dilys Blum. Schiaparelli is a designer who has inspired my work over and over, most recently with my surrealism-style collection for Miriam Haskell.

What I’m Drinking

Tequila and soda. I’d say that’s my cocktail no matter where I am. I think it’s one of those things that, over time, you just decide what works for you.

What I’m Eating

Meal after meal—especially the shrimp scampi—at Pomodoro in Brookline, our favorite Boston-area restaurant. We’ve become friendly with the staff, and it’s a great neighborhood place.

What I’m Listening To

I like to listen to classic disco when designing—Sylvester, Chic, and Earth, Wind & Fire—and something more low-key when I’m drawing or painting: Ella Fitzgerald, Django Reinhardt, and Altered Images’ last album.