New York, NY
"Everything has something to do with a candle," says Susan Colley. She's talking about the items in her Lexington Avenue boutique, Covington Candle, yet you can't help but feel she's making an existential statement. "There's nothing a candle doesn't make more beautiful. I was always thinking about candlelight before I opened this store," she says. "I was constantly buying hurricanes and things." Colley now has a home for them all.
Covington's many glass shelves are filled with candles from places such as Italy, France, and South Africa. The colors are neutral—loden, vanilla, and putty—but, if these hues don't excite, Colley can put you in touch with any candle, any size, any color, in fewer than five days. Factories in Ohio and California custom-make candles for her, and they specialize in hard-to-find sizes (thimble-width whites for your antique candelabrum, three-foot-long chartreuse sentinels for your contemporary foyer, Italian-made giants weighing up to 500 pounds, which clients have been known to use as end tables). Particularly intriguing are her candles from Swaziland, which are entirely handmade using bamboo molds; the wax retains the shape of the bamboo so that each candle boasts individual eccentricities. And for fire-code-challenged Manhattanites, "logs" are available: multi-wicked rectangular candles that you can burn slowly in your hearth instead of wood. $.50-$1,200. 976 Lexington Avenue, New York City; 212-472-1131; fax 212-717-8186.