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Shopping with the pros: A designer says these 8 Crate & Barrel staples will go with any space

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This is part of a series in which we ask designers and other tastemakers to share their favorite products from one store and how they would use them.

Charles Almonte, an architect and interior designer in Silver Spring, Md., is known for his contemporary yet classic Asian-inspired style. When we asked him to choose a retailer for this column, he went with Crate & Barrel, citing its clean lines and classic finishes blended with a modern approach. That sweet spot — not wacky, not fussy — is key, Almonte said.

“Crate & Barrel is one of my first go-tos, especially if it’s a budget-friendly project,” Almonte said. “It’s not the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive. It’s a good middle ground, and a lot of people feel comfortable with the price point and style.”

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He also advises people to take stock of their existing pieces and look at editing out things that don’t work in their space. (Looking at you, papasan chair from college.)

“Sometimes you don’t need to overhaul things. Sometimes you just need to move things around and clean up a bit,” he said.

With that in mind, his picks are classic pieces that will work in most spaces or with most design styles. Pair one or two items with what you already have. You’ll be surprised by what a difference a new accent chair or statement lamp can make.

Almonte said he loves “the simple elegance” of the Clairemont oval coffee table ($699). The table, made of metal and glass, is sturdy and easy to clean, and he’s used the piece in designs for both formal living rooms and casual family rooms, he said in an email.

The Folio Viola top-grain leather dining chair ($399) is one of Almonte’s go-to picks, he says, because it is so versatile. “It can almost work with any dining room style — modern, transitional and even traditional.” The leather upholstery makes the chairs easy to keep clean, he added.

Almonte stumbled across the Verro outdoor dining chair ($129) while sourcing products recently for a small screened porch and said he probably will be returning to it for future projects. “The sunshine yellow color would brighten up anyone’s day anytime,” he said in an email. The chair also comes in green.

The Cleo brass tripod table lamp ($329) has a sculptural look that Almonte loves. The lamp, 26½ inches tall, has a solid brass base in a matte finish with an ivory drum shade.

The contemporary lattice-back design of the Ankara gray-wash frame chair with fabric cushion ($799) caught Almonte’s eye because it “feels sunny and tropical, which reminds me of home” in the Philippines, he wrote. The cushions come in several colors.

Another frequent choice for Almonte when he’s designing for clients is the casually classic Barrett track-arm sofa ($1,299). With a length of 78 inches and an overall depth of only 36 inches, it’s the perfect fit for narrow rowhouses or small apartments, but the loose cushions on the back ensure that it’s still comfortable, despite the small footprint, Almonte said. There are many fabric options, and the Barrett line comes in a number of configurations, including a sectional.

Almonte said that he has been binge-watching “The Great British Bake Off,” and his choice of the Charlotte cake stand ($39.95) is a nod to the show, which awards each season’s winner a glass cake stand etched with their name. The handmade glass stand has an 11½ -inch diameter.

Anytime Almonte has a photo shoot for a project, he wrote, he ducks into Crate & Barrel to pick up a few accessories, such as this Pera large vase ($34.95). The flared-neck design on the 10-inch handmade glass piece is particularly well-suited to tulips and hydrangeas, he wrote.

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