Johan, aka Shhh! Secret Shop, is an amazing retail nook that lives up to its name almost too well. Floating between the retail hubs of Southeast Division Street and Hawthorne Boulevard, owner Laura Housgard turned her living room on Southeast 12th Avenue into a one-of-a-kind womenswear shop.
Kids play on the lawn and neighbors garden outside, but Housgard's shop looks as professional and minimalist as Frances May or Union Way on the inside. Inspired by Housgard's Nordic roots, the storeâs decor is minimal and androgynous. Where a couch would be, a stack of cinder blocks and glass panels serve as a checkout counter. Where the TV would go, there's a rack of women's jackets. And the walls are decorated with high-end leather bags by Northwest designer Amber Arambul, paper goods from Brooklyn's Frances Lab and jewelry by Portland's Sea + Pattern blogger Britt Campagna.
Right now, the operation is very under the radar, only open limited hours and weekends. When asked about the legality of her unusual shop, Housgard said, "...it might not be."