A mainstay of our design aesthetic at Donna DuFresne is to create space that feels layered and timeless. When a majority of the materials and goods used for a room are new, or new to the space, we can easily stop with a space that feels brand new and shiny. Yet, we search for the sensation that this space has always existed- the feeling of being home, of being around what has history. We can have both; new tiles, new rugs, new paint, a new sofa, and still feel like we are experiencing a lived and loved space. This is achieved through pulling together pieces of different ages and meanings, and incorporating them into a single vision. A new piece of locally made pottery can sit nicely on an 19th century marble table, strategically placed on a zebra hide rug from the 1960s, just as a new, well-built sofa is just better with an antique woolen throw and 200 year old side table.
If you glance through our previous projects, you find that what's missing from our work are rooms that feel dated- an achievement we are tremendously proud of, and a feat we have been able to accomplish by layering with the old and the new. We feel when we weave together the story of a space from such diverse, and sometimes global, origins, we create a timeless room that can't be specified AS something, but rather only felt as an experience. This is the root of creating meaningful and distinctly designed spaces that withstand through time and make us warm.
With such ambition, we procure a majority of the pieces we use in soft layering from local shops, close to home. This month, we are highlighting some of our favorite hidden gems in the Rose City; some of which sell new merchandise, some of which sell antique and vintage. The commonality of these shops is specifically obscure, unusual or crafted pieces- a certain edge and flavor shows up in these stores that aligns with our own design view, and we feel inspired!
As a way to continue the movement of buying locally and with purpose, and to give you a glimpse into some of our most cherished places to attain, we present you with a few of our favorite shops in Portland:
ANTIQUES & ORNAMENT
Bernadette Breu has surpassed most of her business contemporaries of the last 25 years. Through many locations, Bernadette has continued to lead as the epitome of obscure and beautiful in the Rose City. Her current incarnation in the inner-SE industrial area, like it's previous locations, is chock-full of antique furniture, vintage finds, and lavish garden accessories. We have pulled countless furniture and decor pieces from this shop over the years, and it continues to be our primary source.
When stopping in here, it can take time to wade through all the merchandise- so plan accordingly.
ANTIQUES & ORNAMENT
1010 SE Water Ave
Portland, OR 97214
BEAM & ANCHOR
Slightly off the normal shopping path sits Beam & Anchor, a well-curated shop and studio space led by Jocelyn & Robert Rahm. Sitting right on North Interstate Avenue, their dark exterior conceals something different. Beam & Anchor celebrates community, innovation, friendship, and quality goods- all based around a core concept of design and function. They have created space for artisans and craftspeople to craft, and then sell their special pieces, all in one location. Their goods range from beautiful woven rugs to furniture and onto tableware- some old and industrious, some new and modern. We especially desire some of their leather goods, and are fond of several perfume lines sold here.
Additionally, part of our draw to this space is that Beam & Anchor's goods and retail location are layered and timeless- they could be now, they could be later, they could be 1957. This store makes us feel good about the future of design-led businesses, and reminiscent about years gone by.
BEAM & ANCHOR
2710 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97227
Cargo has climbed above the rows of Portland businesses, to become a regional landmark within this city. They are part of what we think about, when we think about what makes Portland definitively cultural and off-beat. Launched in 1995, Cargo is currently nestled in the inner-SE industrial neighborhood- an area now bustling- in a large, red building. Cargo recently opened a second location in Astoria, as well.
Bridgid and Patti, who own Cargo and directly import their goods themselves, are often on hand if they are in the country. Unlike a lot of businesses that sell import goods, Cargo has direct relationships with the global artisans who produce the items they sell. It's not uncommon to hear the story of the artisan who made the piece you buy, if you happen to catch Bridgid or Patti in the shop. Import goods stores could learn a tremendous amount from this woman-led business.
We especially love their fragrances, African jewelry, textile selections, dressers and collections of unique hands and faces throughout the store. Cargo is definitely a "Happy Place" for us!
Don't miss their authentic Dias De Los Muertos display, through the month of October.
81 SE Yamhill St
Portland, OR 97214
SABI & FRIENDS
Of the dozens of vintage shops and markets in the region, Sabi is close to the top. Kert Wright, a 20 year veteran of Disney, has been in business for 10 years in dreamy, downtown St. Johns.
Sabi has a wide spectrum of old; from Victorian era furniture up through 1960's MCM accessories, with abundance in between. When we stopped in to shoot the pictures for this blog- Kert had a gorgeous vintage geometric mirror that caught our eye, along with just-arrived antique maps and tapestries. This is one of the best places to find decor and small items, as we seldom leave the shop empty-handed. Some of our previous hauls included a 1940's circus poster, a 100 year old office chair and industrial wire baskets.
A further highlight here is to meet Kert's small-statured and omnipresent canine companions, Stewey & Bunny.
SABI & FRIENDS
8402 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
OLD PORTLAND HARDWARE & ARCHITECTURAL
Director Baz Luhrmann once spoke "Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth".
The wiseness of old things can teach us much, and Old Portland Hardware is one of the spots to find the things with advice to give, and meaning to bestow. Owned and operated by Bret Hodgert, they specialize in industrious, well-made pieces that have lasted eons, newly wiped clean. Light fixtures, industrial desks, antique hardware, door knobs of any and all variety, and lots of unique smalls. In a disposable culture, this space stands out against the wasteland of present day manufacturing.
As part of keeping an eye out for the well-made and unique, Old Portland Hardware hosts local art work in house, and rotate new artist's works monthly. For October the jewelry of Marcy Swanson is on display and for sale, which fits perfectly with the shop aesthetic.
OLD PORTLAND HARDWARE & ARCHITECTURE
700 NE 22nd Ave
Portland, OR 97232
Paxton Gate originates in San Francisco from the early 1990s, with it's Portland incarnation owned by Andy and Susan Brown starting in 2010. Their focus is ethically sourced natural wonders; taxidermy, insects, specimens and many things flora, along with books, treasures and jewels. A taxidermy Saharan African lion? Yes. Succulent garden boutique? Of course. Art cards, photography, and books about natural animal variations?. All day.
This is our first stop in the city when looking for a taxidermy piece, as they have become the prominent dealer in Portland, and we trust their ethical policies in acquiring animal pieces. We have framed their prints, and purchased many an accessory in this shop. There is no other space in town quite like them.
4204 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217