September 10th, 2008 JOHN MINERVINI | Special Section Stories
 

Cheapish Modern

Shopping for champagne tastes on a Franzia budget.

     
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Hippo Hardware
1040 E Burnside St., 231-1444, hippohardware.com.
[NEW TO YOU] When Hippo founders Steven Miller and Stephen Oppenheim started selling junk out of a pickup in 1976, terms like “architectural salvage” and “sustainable building” weren’t part of the average homeowner’s vocabulary. Back then, the preferred word was “weird.” But 22 years later, the concept has caught on. The two Steves now occupy 20,000 feet of retail space on East Burnside Street—you’ve probably seen the outdoor columns painted with hippos in togas—selling hardware, plumbing, lighting and architectural elements. The light fixtures are particularly stellar—choose from thousands of glass shades, or pick out an antique Spanish chandelier.

Shadowhouse Collectibles
4220 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-5005, shadowhouse.net.
[CHEAP ’N’ CREEPY] Forsaking the hipper-than-thou sophistication of its Hawthorne address, Shadowhouse instead attains a mystical—some might even say spooky—vibe. Standard housewares compete for shelf space with animal skulls, vampire novels, sepia photographs, antique medical instruments, test tubes, voodoo dolls and ghostly religious paintings. Why not? After all, what occasional table is complete without an ornamental taxidermied alligator head?

City Liquidators
823 SE 3rd Ave., 230-7716, cityliquidators.com.
[BRING ADVIL] Thought IKEA was the only furniture store big enough to give you a headache? Think again. City Liquidators has a three-story showroom full of nothing but furniture—OK, and martini glasses and fuzzy stickers and throw pillows—with selection and prices that are downright Swedish. Best part is, it’s family-owned and local. Owner Walt Pelett passes savings on to the consumer by owning his own warehouses and buying in huge quantities.

Deco to Disco
1960 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 736-3326, myspace.com/sputnikhousewares.
[VINYL REHAB] At Deco to Disco, learn to sit in style: Choose from a collection of vintage sofas reclad in psychedelic vinyl or simply bring in your own furniture for custom reupholstery. Want a bitchin’ kitchen? D2D also houses Sputnik Housewares, a shop that specializes in candy-colored vintage Pyrex and Fire-King dishes.

Cargo
380 NW 13th Ave., 209-8349, cargoinc.com.
[KNICKKNACK SHACK] Usually having to dig through piles of eclectic merchandise is a turnoff, but for Cargo, well, we’ll make an exception. Whether you’re looking for Chinese screens, lacquered corner tables, Dia de los Muertos dolls, letterpress stationery, funky jewelry or Tibetan prayer flags, you’ll find it here—just keep digging. This place is a cornerstone of the Pearl District, minus the Pearl prices. Don’t miss the furniture showroom upstairs, and watch out: All sales are final.

SCRAP
3901 N Williams Ave., 294-0769, scrapaction.org.
[CRAFT ADDICTION] Are you the kind of person who occasionally needs to sit down with a glue stick and just glue? Or maybe your poison is papier-mâché? Whatever your craft, SCRAP has what you need. Their inventory regularly includes carpet squares, magazines, industrial widgets, yarn, fake flowers and hundreds of other odds and ends. Make your own furniture or simply liven it up with mini-tiles; hardly anything costs over $5. SCRAP also offers a summer camp for kids and workshops for grown-up artists.

Hawthorne Vintage
4722 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-2620.
[TEAK CHIC] Those in search of mid-century modernalia need look no further than Hawthorne Vintage, where dozens of vendors sell everything from antique leather briefcases to Barcelona chairs to Vera Neumann scarves.

Life + Limb
1716 E Burnside St., 233-4738, lifeandlimb.net.
[PLANT THERAPY] So, you think you want kids. Ha! Before you go out and start buying onesies, why not practice taking care of something a little less daunting? L+L owner Molly Quan is in the business of plant adoption; for a modest sum, she’ll set you up with an adorable cactus and a designer pot to keep it in. It’s great practice for childrearing, and no aloe plant will ever ask you to pay for therapy sessions. A perk: Buy a succulent and a planter and Quan will pot it for you when you check out.

Lounge Lizard
1310 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-7575, loungelizardpdx.com.

[DIY BACHELOR PAD] Remember the ’60s? Yeah, neither do we, but we get nostalgic for artifacts of the era all the same. Paisley shirts, velvet bell bottoms, Melmac plates, the Cuban Missile Crisis, egg chairs, swag lamps, gravel art, the Space Race—find it all in the form of furniture, clothes and accessories at this shop on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. It’s worth stopping by just for the collection of eclectic wall hangings, but be warned: You’ve got to dig—there are seven chipped blenders for every one Danish mid-century gem.

Noun
3300 SE Belmont St., 235-0078, shopnoun.com.
[THE PURSUIT OF CUTE] For those who lack the patience to troll their own estate sales, why not let Noun owner Stephanie Sheldon do the hard work for you? Her grammatically named shop (“a person’s place for things”) specializes in items whose use changes depending on context—for instance, an antique birdcage used as a candelabra, a vintage breadbox moonlighting as a planter—but it also carries local arts and crafts. Hungry? Grab a cupcake. Saint Cupcake owner Jami Curl went to high school with Sheldon, and the two now share a storefront on Southeast Belmont Street.

The ReBuilding Center
3625 N Mississippi Ave., 331-1877, rebuildingcenter.org.
[KARMIC INTERIORS] Every day, the ReBuilding Center has the potential to divert 10 tons of reusable building materials from local landfills. For most, that’s reason enough to shop, but the prices—50 to 90 percent below retail—don’t hurt either. With more than 40,000 square feet of floor space, this project of Our United Villages is the largest of its kind in North America. Find everything from antique doorknobs to porch lights to porcelain urinals, as well as a selection of pricey but well-crafted furniture and accessories made in-house from recycled materials.

Natural Furniture
800 NE Broadway, 284-0655, naturalunfinishedfurniture.com.
[UNFINISHED BUSINESS] Why buy unfinished? Simple. In many cases, vendors of stained or painted furniture use polish and pigment to cover up inferior quality—knots, discolorations, corkboard or chipboard. At Natural Furniture, it’s all wood, all unfinished and mostly local, so you know exactly what you’re getting—plus you save money by staining it yourself.

Rerun707 NE Fremont St., 517-3786, portlandrerun.com.
[SNOB THRIFT] Recently voted “Best Place to Shop” in WW’s 2008 Best of Portland Readers Poll, Rerun offers Hawthorne-quality vintage at Goodwill prices. But be warned: At this monarch of thrift stores, inventory is priced to move, and large pieces like trunks and bedsteads get snapped up as soon as they hit the floor. Connoisseurs stop by at least twice a week.

Hermitage
1024 NW 19th Ave., 241-2399, hermitagepdx.wordpress.com.
[GLUE-ON GLORY] Tired of boring white paint? Jennifer June has got you covered—or your walls, anyway. June, a graduate of Oregon College of Art and Craft, has channeled her printing fixation into a boutique that carries an extensive selection of hand-printed, -screened and -painted wallpapers. At around $200 per 7 feet of wall space, those of us on tight budgets will have to paste sparsely. But that’s OK—with striking prints like these, one wall is enough. BEN WATERHOUSE.

 
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